There is an awful lot of discussion these days about what is meant by freedom of speech. I cannot address with any authority, the legalities of what freedom of speech implies. I cannot offer expertise on libel or slander.
The old adage about not being able to shout fire in a crowded theater certainly holds true. Maybe not if there really is a fire? I’m not going to discuss that here though.
Is telling a deliberate lie expressing free speech? Some would say so. Is protesting or screaming to prohibit someone else from speaking, expressing your right to free speech? Many would argue in favor of this.
My question about free speech is much simpler and basic. Are manners no longer relevant? Is being polite a thing of the past?
As children most of us are taught not to lie, not to interrupt, to use our inside voice, to say please and thank you, not to be rude. Apparently there must be a statute of limitations on the positive things we are taught as children or perhaps there is an expiration date for civility.
Free speech now seems to be determined by those who see themselves as the arbiter of what is hateful or acceptable. The preferences of a few outweigh those of the many. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, he or she has authorized themself to silence opposing views.
I have been told on many occasions that I cannot say certain things. Problem is, I’ve already said it, will likely say it again and do not recognize any authority of the person telling me what I can and cannot say.
It isn’t even that I’m lying, shouting or being rude. If this was the case then correcting me might be appropriate. No it isn’t that. It is political correctness which is what has replaced the manners we were taught as children. Now instead of civility being the norm, it is our words and thoughts that are being silenced by those who have claimed the right to do so.
Today is the Independence Day. We broke away from tyranny seeking freedom. Now, those who think they have the right to do so feel it’s okay to control the speech and thoughts of others. I for one am not having it.