The Importance of Free Speech

It’s finally time to talk about freedom of speech. It’s the fundamental basis of our democratic systems as it gives us the power to further strive as a whole. Our systems are builded on the fact, that we can discuss anything on a reasonable level or at least that’s how it should be. Hence why it’s crucial to not make any cuts on this freedom at all, otherwise it’s just gonna come back at us.

Let’s start with a video of Jordan Peterson speaking at Toronto about the BillC16. Jordan Peterson became quite a big figure on the topic of freedom of speech after he tried to explain several times why he won’t use pronouns to transgender people or sjw. He often emphasizes that he isn’t against transgender, but against the restriction, or rather in this case promotion, of language. Ironically the video already starts with the other side actively trying to sabotage his speech.

But this article isn’t about the left trying to shut down those who go up against this language police. No, it’s just about why I think freedom of speech is so import, will be and has to be protected.

As I said above, we need freedom of expression to improve ourselves. Dumb ideas aren’t shut down by silencing those who have them. In fact, I’d say that silencing those with dumb ideas does more harm than good. Look at antisemitism/xenophobia for example. You could silence it online, but it wouldn’t kill the idea. Those who perpetuate it would just go on and spread it around them. Rather silencing people would cause more dissatisfaction and doubt. These things need to need discussed in the long run. They also need to be solved in one way or another. It’s impossible to shut a group of people without great surveillance, which in and on itself is bad enough. It’s not like you can keep a though police in every little town.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough, some kind of language police would also create doubt. Big doubts in people if certain ideas are okay to express. Is it fine to discriminate against foreigners? No. Is it fine to keep them from entering your country? Well, that depends on the current situation. Or in case of the video above: Is is transphobic to not use certain pronouns? Some say yes, others say no. However these things need to be spoken out, discussed and come to terms with. Not by sabotaging the opposite side or by shutting them up and blocking them on social media.

If the goal of a country is to strive, progress, make it a better place, then ideas need to be talked about. They have to debated if they’re actually progressive, if they benefit society or if they actually make sense. That “should” be the nature of democracy. Rule of the majority while paying attention to minorities. For that however, it’s important to be able to talk about those ideas. Should you ban them, people will be more relucant at expressing them while giving others a deeper voice.

To give you an example, those who raise their voice against Black Lives Matter and similar groups are often called nazi or racist. They may or may not be those. Chances are, they just don’t see the discrimination against blacks and think they don’t need more rights. (Which is correct, they are pretty much equal. They don’t need rights but better law enforcement.) Nowadays it got to the point where it was suddenly completely fine to use violence against nazis. There is so much wrong with that. You can’t be sure they are ones; Violence against others (for their political believe) is never acceptable. It doesn’t even change their opinion. Hell, it makes them hate you even more. Clearly not the way you come to terms with each other, compromise and find a solution.

To actually have this active process of nationwide discussions running you need education though. Education in both simple knowledge as well as values like tolerance, ethic, communication skills, etc. That’s the other great pillar for democracy though.

Written on April 29, 2017