The Freedom of Speech

I serf the Internets for a long time now, and the more I become adult the more I see that all that I believed in is a bunch of horse dung. I was born, grown and living now in a Post-Soviet country, where the term "freedom" was (and is) a very illusive concept. When I was a cub, I've always dreamed to go to America, a country of Freedom, and reading about the War for Independence, Civil War, etc. just fueled up my wild, alive imagination. And, then came the Internet. My mind was finally able to grasp that little bit of the so called "American dream". *sigh*

And the results were disappointing. USA turned out to be not the country of Free Will, that I imagined it were. It was a cold, ruthless and half-barbaric nation, history of which contained mass amounts of genocides, murders and fanatism, and Modern America looks more like poor Orwell rip-off with every day, starting from 1901. Mexico and the South are even worser (don't even let me started about the Drug wars).

After that, I went more into the Internets, and found the true meaning of Freedom of Speech, where I can say and (if I really want to) do whatever I want. Yet with this pros comes its contras (for somebody, I mean. I personally think that it's a good thing): trolling, spam-bots and the anarchic nature of the Internets as itself. But now, I see more and more regulations even here: rules, hard moderation of almost every letter (being a moderator of a small community myself, I understand what an ungrateful job that is, yet still), and more and more interference from the real world will turn the Free web into another "poor Orwell rip-off", I'm afraid...*sigh*

So guys I have a question for you: what does the term "Freedom of Speech"/Freedom in general means? Is it a bad thing? Or not? What is your vision about it?

P.S. This thread was created out of shear boredom, and do not meant to offend people in any particular degree. If you feel offended about this thread, I suggest to read the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and what it guarantees me (or go to ED "Offended" if you're VERY offended), and calm down. If a similar thread was here, than sorry - theres like 20+ pages of threads here, and I can't be bothered to read them all. Thank You for your understanding

Freedom isn't something you can buy, sell, fight for, defend, earn, diminish, or take away. Freedom is something you give yourself by being yourself. That's all there is to it.

Also, I'm an American, and I haven't really seen anything like you describe anywhere I've lived. I mean, this country has its problems, but I don't think it's quite THAT bad.

Egh. I hate it when people who haven't lived America try to tell us Americans that we live in an intolerant, culturally dead, decaying society.

No we don't. The only difference between how I spend my daily life and how other countries spend their daily lives is how the dialect sounds.

freeˇdom Noun /ˈfrēdəm/

Synonyms:
noun: liberty, independence, license, licence

The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint

It's good because "Certain unalienable rights".

We still live in the greatest country on Earth, by the way.citation NOT needed

There's several things wrong with what your saying.

First of, the First Amendment covers freedom of speech. It covers more then the written and spoken word, but does not, nor was ever intended to, defend 'whatever I want to do.'

Second, yes, our history can be quite horrific. But that basically applies to every country ever.

As for how modern America is an 'Orwell rip-off,' I suppose there's some truth to that. But it's not even close to being entirely true.

As for your complaints on moderation, Free Speech doesn't protect you from violating the rules of any particular establishment. Private enterprise is allowed to make rules regarding what's allowed. This forum is basically someone's house, and they can set whatever rules they wish.

Out of curiosity, what rights do you think America would take away from you if you lived here (besides drug use, which seems to bother you).

Also, this bothers the shit out of me.

Antigonius:

If a similar thread was here, than sorry - theres like 20+ pages of threads here, and I can't be bothered to read them all. Thank You for your understanding

There's a search function for a reason. Granted, there are no recent threads on this issue, but this slap dash 'I can't be bothered to make sure I'm not cluttering the forums because I'm lazy' attitude is annoying as all hell.

As for what I think the freedom of speech is, well... it's the right to free speech. It's in the words. Here's the thing though - Absolute freedom is overrated. Time and again, it's been decided in American courts that your rights extend all the way up to where your intruding on another person. Technically, that's not freedom at all.

But I'm ok with that.

Antigonius:
So guys I have a question for you: what does the term "Freedom of Speech"/Freedom in general means? Is it a bad thing? Or not? What is your vision about it?

Generally, a very vague thing for clamouring angrily behind. You have to clarify exactly what you want before those phrases mean anything. Many freedoms impose on others.

Every freedom I have to do something is one less freedom from me doing that for everyone else, and vice versa.

Freedom of Speech is a particularly awkward one, IMHO. People often aren't allowed to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, which is fairly sensible. There are restrictions on me finding and spreading information about, say, explosives, which I can see the logic of.

But to take another example...suppose there was lots of like minded individuals around the world, and every time the OP (or someone else) tried to talk about a certain topic they found important, we'd dogpile on them, insult and harass them into keeping quiet.

On the one hand, we've got the right to do that (barring what moderators here and elsewhere prohibit). On the other, we are deliberately trying to silence someone, and it's often effective. Bit of a grey area, I think.

TheYellowCellPhone:
Egh. I hate it when people who haven't lived America try to tell us Americans that we live in an intolerant, culturally dead, decaying society.

Yet again, I'm sorry if I offended you somehow (especially if you live in USA). But you kinda missed the point (or I haven't made it clear enough. Habit of speaking and writing in short sentences is a very bad habit, especially when you have to actually think about what you're saying, so you're won't get banned). I meant, that when I was younger I used to have a romantic view on the USA. But I've grown up, and made my homework and saw that USA is the same country where I live, and the situation there is the same as here, and the rest of the world. Having your romantic view on the world broken is kinda bad for your mind, don't you think?

AccursedTheory:
There's several things wrong with what your saying.
As for how modern America is an 'Orwell rip-off,' I suppose there's some truth to that. But it's not even close to being entirely true.

As for your complaints on moderation, Free Speech doesn't protect you from violating the rules of any particular establishment. Private enterprise is allowed to make rules regarding what's allowed. This forum is basically someone's house, and they can set whatever rules they wish.

Out of curiosity, what rights do you think America would take away from you if you lived here (besides drug use, which seems to bother you).

Also, this bothers the shit out of me.

Antigonius:

If a similar thread was here, than sorry - theres like 20+ pages of threads here, and I can't be bothered to read them all. Thank You for your understanding

There's a search function for a reason. Granted, there are no recent threads on this issue, but this slap dash 'I can't be bothered to make sure I'm not cluttering the forums because I'm lazy' attitude is annoying as all hell.

As for what I think the freedom of speech is, well... it's the right to free speech. It's in the words. Here's the thing though - Absolute freedom is overrated. Time and again, it's been decided in American courts that your rights extend all the way up to where your intruding on another person. Technically, that's not freedom at all.

But I'm ok with that.

Well... for example having a *I don't care about* option. Although I haven't lived in USA, I know many americans (skype, neighbors, a couple of friends, bunch of gamers, I play with, etc.), and all of them don't have this opinion about anything. It's usually *Good* *Bad* or straight-up insults or ripping words out of context. The most concerning thing, is that they require the same from me. Of course, maybe I'm just unlucky with people, but your experience is the most valuable experience, because it's your own.

And about *search* function - a word of advise, never trust those. It's usual for me to see threads with names like "BANANA!" where people are talking about the influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on late romantics of XIX cen.

Antigonius:

Well... for example having a *I don't care about* option. Although I haven't lived in USA, I know many americans (skype, neighbors, a couple of friends, bunch of gamers, I play with, etc.), and all of them don't have this opinion about anything. It's usually *Good* *Bad* or straight-up insults or ripping words out of context. Of course, maybe I'm just unlucky with people, but your experience is the most valuable experience, because it's your own.

And about *search* function - a word of advise, never trust those. It's usual for me to see threads with names like "BANANA!" where people are talking about the influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on late romantics of XIX cen.

I don't really understand what your first paragraph is about. Because you know a bunch of American assholes, somethings wrong with... free speech? Freedom in general?

I don't understand.

As for forum searching, it's quite accurate. Generally speaking, most of the topics with jacked up titles are useless and can be ignored anyway.

It's not a very good excuse for lazy behavior.

Antigonius:

TheYellowCellPhone:
Egh. I hate it when people who haven't lived America try to tell us Americans that we live in an intolerant, culturally dead, decaying society.

Yet again, I'm sorry if I offended you somehow (especially if you live in USA). But you kinda missed the point (or I haven't made it clear enough. Habit of speaking and writing in short sentences is a very bad habit, especially when you have to actually think about what you're saying, so you're won't get banned). I meant, that when I was younger I used to have a romantic view on the USA. But I've grown up, and made my homework and saw that USA is the same country where I live, and the situation there is the same as here, and the rest of the world. Having your romantic view on the world broken is kinda bad for your mind, don't you think?

As someones who's traveled a bit, I can safely say the United States is not like the majority of the planet. We have some pretty big problems, but grouping us with everyone else isn't particularly fair.

Which isn't to say the USA is better then your particular country (As I have no idea where you live, besides the general area of the old Soviet empire, which is a doozy, size wise).

Antigonius:
Having your romantic view on the world broken is kinda bad for your mind, don't you think?

It is bad I suppose, but it's hardly the fault of the thing that you thought was romantic. It hasn't changed or betrayed you in any way, you were simply misinformed.

Also, while America's past does have a few genocides and attempted genocides even our own schools like to avoid telling children about, I think your comparing modern America's free speech to Orwell is both overly-dramatic and inaccurate. Compared to the early 1900s, Americans have a LOT freer speech. And now with things like Facebook, twitter, youtube and the like we probably have even more. During World War I and especially World War II, expressing anything but absolute support in America, the military, and capitalism got you in big trouble with the authorities. The reason comic books all became about heroes beating up on Hitler and even Disney was making anti-Nazi cartoons is because if they HADN'T done this, it would have been akin to treason. Then during the red scare people were being systematically and publicly put on trial if they even had a TINY connection to anyone who even MIGHT be a communist.

Then during the Vietnam war, something that had never happened during an American war happened. People disagreed with what the military was doing, and publicly expressed their disagreement. The media who had so long supported the government turned against them, reporting things accurately, to the point where it hurt. People protested the war and vilified the veterans who returned. While not all of these things are good[1], it at least made people free to say what they want about politics, foreign policy, and in particular the military.

There is the odd incident where somebody is brought in for questioning after Googling something benign, and then there's the NSA thing[2], but these are hardly the norm and do not affect the daily lives of the vast majority of Americans. To me, these incidents are far too small and few to suggest any sort of broader pattern we should be worried about. America is too physically large and the leadership is too greedy to go too far in the direction of 1984. A free population generates more money than a suppressed one, after all. While they want to keep things under control, they certainly don't want to bite the hands that feed them.

I live near a college campus, and believe me when I tell you we are NOT short on free speech around here. In fact, given the inane arguments that sometimes pop up, I think there are many around here who need to learn what free speech actually is (the right to say what you want, not the right to say what you want without anyone disagreeing with you or holding you accountable for what you say).

America is not anything out of the works of Orwell, and if you really feel that it is, you've been watching too much FOX news.

[1] The veterans couldn't help what they did, a lot of them were drafted and even then it's never been helpful or reasonable to hold the soldiers accountable for what their commanding officers told them to do.
[2] Which many people care about, but I don't really. Honestly before it happened I just sort of assumed they were doing that to begin with. The only thing that surprised me was how surprised everyone else was at the idea of the government keeping a database that stuff.

Freedom was initially the opposite of being imprisoned or enslaved. Now it has become somewhat nebulous with other individuals being the bars that some see around every corner.

For every freedom you enjoy someone else must be restrained. For every vote you cast for the electorate you wish is a vote cast against someone who does not wish that person. For every theft you are protected from is someone else who is not free to starve to death. For your freedom to earn a wage you must pay tax. For every freedom of your religion someone else gets freedom of their religion which may conflict with your religion or your religion with their religion.

For every right there must be a restriction. For every privilege there is an inequality.

Freedom is built on restrictions. It's built on laws, on rules, on things you must abide by. In order to be safe you can not be free, striking a balance between such things is incredibly difficult... as the aspects of one do not directly translate proportionately. Freedom to insult the police can result in the police being less effective, hindering your own safety.

Apparently I live in one of the "most free" nations on the planet, that also has the least corruption. Not sure how we managed it but we did sacrifice some prosperity to have it. There are also quite a few things we could improve but it'll encroach upon the freedoms of others to achieve it. In order for everyone to have the freedom of equal opportunity we will need to introduce even higher progressive taxes. This encroaches more upon the freedom to enjoy the money you have earned... it's a big mess.

Balance is everything. A nation that pursues only freedom is doomed, a nation that pursues only safety is doomed, a nation that pursues only prosperity is doomed.

TheYellowCellPhone:
The biggest problem I have with freedom is this: Should a restaurant owner be allowed to serve whoever they want, or should the customer be able to eat wherever they want?

[quote="Abomination" post="18.826557.20074882"]Freedom was initially the opposite of being imprisoned or enslaved. Now it has become somewhat nebulous with other individuals being the bars that some see around every corner.

For every freedom you enjoy someone else must be restrained. For every vote you cast for the electorate you wish is a vote cast against someone who does not wish that person. For every theft you are protected from is someone else who is not free to starve to death. For your freedom to earn a wage you must pay tax. For every freedom of your religion someone else gets freedom of their religion which may conflict with your religion or your religion with their religion.

For every right there must be a restriction. For every privilege there is an inequality.

Freedom is built on restrictions. It's built on laws, on rules, on things you must abide by. In order to be safe you can not be free, striking a balance between such things is incredibly difficult... as the aspects of one do not directly translate proportionately. Freedom to insult the police can result in the police being less effective, hindering your own safety.

Apparently I live in one of the "most free" nations on the planet, that also has the least corruption. Not sure how we managed it but we did sacrifice some prosperity to have it. There are also quite a few things we could improve but it'll encroach upon the freedoms of others to achieve it. In order for everyone to have the freedom of equal opportunity we will need to introduce even higher progressive taxes. This encroaches more upon the freedom to enjoy the money you have earned... it's a big mess.

Balance is everything. A nation that pursues only freedom is doomed, a nation that pursues only safety is doomed, a nation that pursues only prosperity is doomed.

Or there's this guy, saying everything better than me as usual.

Kolby Jack:
Freedom isn't something you can buy, sell, fight for, defend, earn, diminish, or take away. Freedom is something you give yourself by being yourself. That's all there is to it.

Also, I'm an American, and I haven't really seen anything like you describe anywhere I've lived. I mean, this country has its problems, but I don't think it's quite THAT bad.

I would disagree, the Kent State shootings where the national guard gunned down unarmed protesting students who's only crime was practicing free speech is a perfect example of this. I don't think it's citizens even know half of what's happened in it's history, since it's normally only the good stuff that's shown.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

RicoADF:

Kolby Jack:
Freedom isn't something you can buy, sell, fight for, defend, earn, diminish, or take away. Freedom is something you give yourself by being yourself. That's all there is to it.

Also, I'm an American, and I haven't really seen anything like you describe anywhere I've lived. I mean, this country has its problems, but I don't think it's quite THAT bad.

I would disagree, the Kent State shootings where the national guard gunned down unarmed protesting students who's only crime was practicing free speech is a perfect example of this. I don't think it's citizens even know half of what's happened in it's history, since it's normally only the good stuff that's shown.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

One or two generations ago, though, could well be argued not to be relevant.

OTOH, protestors still get rough treatment from the police for speaking their minds, though not usually fatal.

One man's freedom is another man's oppresion. You say freedom to say what you want, I say freedom to enjoy a community that isn't filled with bile and racism.

It's why things like The Escapist are like The Escapist-- where we willingly give up our freedom to say whatever batshit skullfuckery we want in exchange for the freedom to have a nice, clean environment.

I wish I could live in a state where I can murder anyone I want. Where I can go to a shop and just take what I want, because I am free. I want to just print my own money because it's easier than working. But I still want a government to give me payouts, house me, give me healthcare, protect me and make sure that I can live. /Deliberately Flippant

Lilani:

The veterans couldn't help what they did, a lot of them were drafted and even then it's never been helpful or reasonable to hold the soldiers accountable for what their commanding officers told them to do.

You don't really believe that do you ? We've been holding soldiers accountable for their actions for years. "Just following orders" went out of style at the Nuremberg trials.
Soldiers are accountable for the orders they follow, and command staff are responsible for the actions of their troops.

I'm not disagreeing that Vietnam veterans got shafted. I'm always amazed at the hero worship of soldiers today, compared to the rapist and baby killer talk 'Nam vets dealt with. Just that the example you used may not have been the best.

PBMcNair:

Lilani:

The veterans couldn't help what they did, a lot of them were drafted and even then it's never been helpful or reasonable to hold the soldiers accountable for what their commanding officers told them to do.

You don't really believe that do you ? We've been holding soldiers accountable for their actions for years. "Just following orders" went out of style at the Nuremberg trials.
Soldiers are accountable for the orders they follow, and command staff are responsible for the actions of their troops.

I'm not disagreeing that Vietnam veterans got shafted. I'm always amazed at the hero worship of soldiers today, compared to the rapist and baby killer talk 'Nam vets dealt with. Just that the example you used may not have been the best.

It depends. Soldiers can hardly be held accountable if their ordered to a location where the situation is do or die. They can and should be held accountable if they start grenading civilians or building pyramids out of naked dudes, whether it was an order or not.

Seeing as the vast amount of soldiers aren't murderous sociopaths, it seems reasonable to give most of them the benefit of the doubt, and at the very least not be huge dicks to them as a first response.

As a soldiers whos been spit on more then once at airports, all I'm asking is that you ask if I've murdered anyone lately before soiling my boots or face (Well, I'm out now, so I guess its a moot point now.).

 

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