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Freedom of Speech

In the United States we are proud of freedom of speech. It is one of our “rights”.

We are living in a time when people seem to be forgetting that this “right” comes with responsibility and consequences for our words. Yes, you “can” say anything you want and some things will land you in jail. You are liable for your free speech.

  • Have your words ever gotten you in trouble?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you speak freely?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Have ohters misunderstood your words?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

4 points
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Written by Ghostwriter

 

 

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15 Comments

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    • There is a fundamental difference between the American and European perspectives here. In Europe we believe in protecting the weak and vulnerable from oppression and hatred. In America the emphasis is on freedom at all costs, including the freedom to oppress and be thoroughly unpleasant to those less powerful than oneself.

      I am very glad to be a European!

  1. Yes, free speech is a right, but so is responsibility. However, there is also such a thing as hate speech, and that is NOT allowable in a truly free society. In the UK, and many other civilized countries, you are not free to say or write things that are racist or call for the harming of other people on – for example – religious grounds.

    What that means is that there is no defence in a British court of law for anti-semitic or Islamophobic speech or for people like the “God hates fags” brigade of Westboro Baptist Church. They would never get heard if they were in the UK, and a good thing too!

    • Laws should be about what you do, not what you think. The courts don’t know what you think. How can they possibly try or convict you on it.

      In the USA one of the first trials having to do with a so-called hate crime was the murder of a man named Matthew Shepherd. He was killed by two men who, in addition to the murder, were tried for a hate crime. Shepherd was gay. One small problem. The two guys who killed him didn’t know that and didn’t care. They killed Shepherd because he tried to cheat them on a drug deal. Regardless, they were found guilty of a hate crime.

      • We are talking here about hate speech as opposed to an act inspired by hate. In the US – as you rightly say in another comment – the Constitution protects the right to use hate speech. In the UK this is not the case, with laws existing that specifically target hate speech, whether or not it then leads to a hate-fueled criminal act. The question then arises as to which is preferable – personally I prefer the British arrangement rather than the American one.

    • As for the stifling of free speech in the UK, it is only to prevent exposure of criminals, such as the pedophile, child-groomers of the Middle East and if you can’t handle my saying so then, I reject any offers of friendship you might ever care to extend.

      • The UK does not stifle free speech. What we object to is people misusing that privilege to threaten and abuse others, especially to stir up racial or religious hatred. This means that it is a criminal offence, for example, for Islamic extremists to preach sermons that advocate the killing of non-Muslims, and the law has been used as part of the Government’s campaign to root out Islamic violence. Equally, the law protects law-abiding Muslims against right-wing extremists who would do them harm.

        These protections sound right and proper to mbe and are exactly what would expect from any civilized country that respects the right of its people to live at peace and without fear of oppression. A country that protects hate speech cannot surely be deemed to be civilized. One whose President utters hate speech himself – by demonizing members of a religion, for example – is not fit to be deemed civilized and is completely out of touch with the rest of the free world.

        • Your country is being invaded and conquered by monsters and your government is complicit.

          Fools worry about the feelings of monsters and neglect to protect your own children out of cowardice.

          And since neither of us are going to explain what the other cannot nderstand, let’s end it right here.

          Have as good of a day as your benevolent overlords let you.

          • It is amazing that some Americans can be so completely out of touch with reality when it comes to Britain and the rest of Europe. It began with Trump talking about “no-go areas” in British cities – which was and is utter nonsense.

            So who precisely are these “monsters”? If you are referring to people who have different racial and religious backgrounds to those of us whose ancestry in the UK goes back to the Anglo-Saxons, then I suggest you pay a visit to my local city of Leicester, which is a thoroughgoing mix of races and religions and where more than 100 languages in the homes of its inhabitants. There are absolutely no racial tensions, we all live in perfect harmony with each other and the crime rate is no greater than in any other city of comparable size.

            Please do not tell us about the terrible problems that we simply do not have!

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