In my social class today we were discussing whether we should be “allowed” to say whatever we want to in the name of free speach. I decided to bring the topic over here and reflect more upon it, and hopefully get some feedback with your opinions.
Firstly I want to quote Wikipedia and its definition of the term; “Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them.” Having this in mind we can move on, and try to come to a sort of conclusion.
I do not own this picture.
I thought to use Norway and Iran as examples, as these are two very different countries regarding the subject. Norway is, with no doubt, a free country; we are allowed to have our own opinion about everything, and we are allowed to express all our believes. Although I have never been in Iran myself, I have only read about its conditions. And this has become a country – at least in my eyes – known for its lack of free speech. In Iran religion is very important, and the country is being leaded by a lot of rules influeded by Islam. I am not thinking to go too deep into the subject as I do not know enough myself, nor have many good sources. However I have read about women being executed because they speak up. There are many stories going around regarding this; people being murdered, prisoned or somehow ruined because they wanted to express their opinion.
The thought upsets me; compared to e.g. Iran, Norwegians do not have a lot to complain about, yet we are allowed to tell if we are not happy about our current situation. However, in Iran where there generally are a lot of problems, there will be big consequenses if they decide to open their mouth and speak against the government.
We do, however, have a limit in Norway too. One is not allowed to utter one’s opinion if it is racist. For which I am glad. I do not want to see, nor live, in a country where racism is openly allowed. You can of course have your opinion on the topic, but not try to affect others and make them agree with you as long as it is racist.
I do not own this picture (it is linked).
To answer my question I have to say this: I am for freedom of speech, and I want to take advantage of having it myself, I also stand for us being allowed to speak up about all of our opinions. What I on the other hand would not accept, is the way people often speak and express themselves. Both of my previous posts may actually be linked to this; last time I wrote about respect. Even though you might not respect all religions, cultures, skin colours or homosexuality, you do not have to utter these opinions in a bad way. You are allowed to say you do not like it yourself, but saying things as “God hates fags” or anything like that.. in my opinion that is the wrong way to speak up.
As for my other post, about the circus demonstration, I am thinking about my conversation with the circus artist. Although I was a little surprised/upset by seing the animal’s poor conditions, and not agreeing to what Andrejs Fjodorovs had to say (and on the contrary); none of us said anything bad about the other. He did not call me an idiot, nor did I say he should be hated by God (which I do not feel either).
It is all about uttering ones opinions in the right way. In my eyes one should be allowed to think, say and write whatever one want to, as long as one express oneself the right way. As long as one know how to show respect to people one might not agree with.
I therefore ask you;
- Would you be happy living in a world with complete freedom of speech?