“Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people.” Freedom of speech is an entitlement for every human being, no matter if you’re rich or poor, young or old. As individuals, we are all different. Every person holds a different opinion and it’s their right to express it. We are able to voice what we’re thinking and in the perfect world, others would take in our views, no matter what they think of them, and respect how we think. But there is a limit where our opinion can become just plain negative and insulting. This is why there is going to have to be some limitations on our “freedom of thinking”, no matter how contradictory that sounds.
The sad thing is that in our present society the only answer which is satisfactory to everybody is that we have changed the definition of freedom of speech. We have changed our way of expressing ourselves. Our freedom of saying anything no longer stands. Most people have mental barriers in order to keep things to themselves for the sake of others. Yet we have also become so intolerant, especially on social media. We act as if we are constantly in a furious debate and are so desperate to win. I see this for myself almost on a daily basis, someone takes a disliking to another person’s post and proceeds to leave criticism and disparage others with the belief that only their opinion is right. This sparks a never ending debate with only spreads hatred and hostility which leaves us wondering why we ever bothered to say anything at all. This goes against to the idea of freedom of speech and yet the issue was created by the freedom of speech itself.
‘Hatred takes energy’, and it’s also unpleasant, so why waste our energy by proving ourselves right to any extent by insulting others. The younger generations are less open minded and feel more insecure expressing their ideas than ever before because of the almost enviable backlash they will receive against their opinion. This is created by the unlimited freedom of speech.
As a society, we need to move forward and accept the fundamentals of Freedom of Speech, respect the opinions of others and live with acceptance. A wise anonymous once said “Freedom of speech is every being’s fundamental right but unfortunately, today, some people are using it to propagandize aggressiveness, intolerance, and enmity. Every person should be given the right to express but before expressing; it’s their responsibility to have set some limits.” These words outline my most prominent point that we need to set limits on freedom of speech but the big question is who sets them? The Government, Police, the individual? There is not one straight answer to this question and as I have been saying this my opinion, it all comes down to circumstance. If the unlimited negative expression is taking place on a social media site then it becomes the responsibility of the site to monitor and ensure the safety of its users. Whereas if the situation becomes face to face, as individuals we need to learn to have limits, a line which we are not to cross. This leads on to the government’s role, they could set some guidelines to clarify any transparency which is left.
I am not arguing that we should revoke the right of freedom of speech. I support the fact that one should have complete ability to voice their ideas and opinions as ideas spark innovation and progress. On the other hand, it is equally wrong to spread hatred, to treat other fellow human beings differently, in the name of freedom of speech. This is why I believe that there is an urgent need for some limitations on how we go about communicating otherwise by allowing free speech we create an opportunity for people with extremist views such as racism to incite violence against minorities leading to the rise of a fascist state, such as the rise of Hilter.
I would like to leave you on a note of J.K Rowling’s words, Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.