Free to Disagree
“Free speech” is one of those phrases that you hear a lot about. Hearing those two words so many times, in so many different situations, and as the defense for one argument after another, can make it really difficult to define. Free speech means you can say and think whatever you feel. Unlike some places in the world, and many times throughout history, you are not going to be in danger for expressing yourself. Freedom of speech allows JobsPeopleDo.com to share articles on many different topics, and allows you to strongly agree or disagree with what you read.
Throughout history, this freedom has allowed people to challenge and take down old ways of life and beliefs. We are where we stand today because humans of the past were able to say that the Earth revolves around the sun, that life as we know it came about through the process of evolution, and that people should not be divided based on the colour of their skin. Instead of trying to ban ideas that people might disapprove of, this freedom encourages discussion and challenges. In doing so, many good ideas have defeated bad ones through evidence and reasoning.
As you may have noticed, people often talk about threats to free speech. Famous figures lose their careers due to words they shared on Twitter. Job seekers are told to be careful with what they post on Facebook in case their profile is seen by potential employers. At what point is our speech no longer free? At what point, if any, should our words be controlled? These questions complicate what at first appears to be a simple and universal concept.
Different people will give you different answers on the matter. Ultimately, free speech allows you to have your own opinion on this and on any other issue, without having to worry that the government will place you in jail for what you say. Nevertheless, freedom of speech is not, and never has been, freedom of consequence. That same liberty gives employers the right to deny jobs to people with problematic social media posts. It gives people the right to have ideas that you may think are horrible. When that “free speech” crosses the line to “hate speech,” which is when people encourage violence against others, many feel the government must step in to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
It is the very nature of free speech that offers hope for the future. Good ideas have often won out over incorrect and harmful opinions in the past; it is reasonable to believe we will see that continue. We live in a world of divided opinions. We also live in a world with advanced technology that, more than ever, allows people to join in public discussions. It is important that you exercise your right to free speech. It is your human right to agree or disagree with the ideas you read online, including the ones in this very article. History has taught us that the free discussion of ideas is the best way to advance humanity. Feel free to disagree.
Hartford, Bruce. “Free Speech vs Hate Speech.” HuffPost. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/free-speech-vs-hate-speech_us_59985b2de4b03b5e472cefff
Timms, Josie. “Why is free speech important?” Index on Censorship. https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2016/04/free-speech-important/
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