Free speech Whatever the cost!!
Wednesday 30th January 2019 | Saskia
The value of free speech is second to none, but should we draw the line when it comes to offensive or scathing content? Is it ok to sacrifice your right of free speech for anything?
Free speech is valuable and I say we should not sacrifice free speech!
First of all, if we start to demand limitations of speech content, we will have to allow some authority like a state to have power over us, since we can not spend our days regulating each other. Putting aside the fact that we would accomplish nothing else during the day other than reviewing what other people say, how will we stop someone from uttering forbidden content?
Especially, when this someone thinks differently about their content. Would we have to go back to the stone age? I guess we would have to. That does not sound very desirable and thus I would highly opt for the authority-option.
However, having an authority not only means that it will limit what others say but what you say as well. Moreover, who is going to control to what extent this authority is allowed to cut back your freedoms? After all, it has power which you do not have anymore.
Consequently, everything comes down to the question of how much power you want to allow an authority to have over you. That is an old question on which society seems to already have decided on by restricting its freedom in order to live in an institutionalized society.
This little fact comes in very handy when it comes to my argument that we should not cut down on free speech. The Philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed that you should act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.
What this comes down to is that we have to respect human dignity. Something our state has already anchored in its fundamental laws. Human dignity is inviolable.
Nonetheless, that does not mean that the state has to restrict our right of free speech in order to protect human dignity. Speech which is directed against human dignity is not free speech, it is hate speech! Something the state already regulates. Admittedly, the border between free speech and hate speech is blurry, and we will thus have to protect ourselves from the state pushing the borders too far, but what we do not have to do is give up even the most minuscule parts of free speech in order to prevent us or others to become victims of offending content. Not only is human dignity sacred, free speech is too. Ergo, free speech at any cost!