Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That’s for congress, how about the people?
We boast of our supposedly free speech but are we really free to speak our minds?
Recent issues regarding social media censoring well known people with sizable following, who have different values and points of view from the company’s founders made me ponder upon this. Sure, there is an argument between being a publisher and a platform but all of that is just about who gets held responsible and who gets sued which bottom lines to who loses the most money. It is never about Free Speech or Truth.
Do you censor yourself?
Let’s say in an office setting. Say you were having a conversation with a co-worker who shared your point of view but others who have an opposing opinion were in the room and over heard the conversation and got offended. By most of company standard policies implemented now a day, the fault would be on you which makes you liable for harassment! Yes, harassment for simply having a conversation! A private conversation that was apparently overheard! You were not even talking to these people but their small minds and thin skins can report you and cost you your job!
So what happened to free speech? One could argue that, that is a private company’s policy, if you don’t agree then find another job but what if it’s the whole culture? Where are you going to go? Federal and state laws require companies to make it mandatory for employees to go through some kind of lecture or online class as a response to the current political atmosphere and norms dictated by the current culture. The whole culture and society couldn’t be wrong, could it? After all the world used to be flat.
What is so wrong with watching what we say and considering the feelings of others anyway? Being polite and respectful is our way of conforming and keeping the peace. That’s a good thing right? Sure it is, but is it still free speech.
The constitution protects our right to speak up against government but how about against society or the culture we live in? When your neighbors vandalize your property or your work fires you because you spoke your mind in person or on social media. What protects you from that? Sure there are prominent people who do it all the time, but they usually have other sources of incomes, expensive lawyers that protect their bottoms and live in places where police response time is faster than average but how about the common men and women?
when one group of demonstrators are strictly corralled while another group is allowed to riot just because they hold the popular ideology of the time. Business men and women you are fined for protesting against government lock downs while big corporations are allowed to do business as usual.
Can speech be really free?
Stifling of speech is easy to spot in communist, socialist and martial law regimes but how about in a supposedly free country? If we are really free to speak, then there should not be a need to use just the first letter of words and say “word” after it like the B word, F word, N word, L Word and so on. Why not just say the word and say what we mean?
By the looks of it, Speech is always censored, either by government, social media, society or even by ourselves to spare ourselves from the negative consequences. We may be able to tolerate such atrocity but what happens to the truth? It looks more like speech is only as free as the people in control says so.