An essay written by: Lee Sonogan
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
In this essay, I will be discussing the pros and cons of freedom of speech. While it is a fundamental human right, free speech is not absolutely perfect. Freedom of speech is defined as the right to communicate opinions and ideas without any fear of retaliation, legal sanction and censorship. Just within that definition, freedom of expression can be a concept that is abused and misused. Does the benefits of freedom of speech outweigh the nonsense people speak in the name of freedom?
Freedom of speech was established in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1791. Creating laws that are in good moderation. When freedom of speech is taken to an extreme, it has the potential to be dangerous. In 1633, Galileo Galilei was insisting that the sun does not revolve around the Earth. His punishment was a lifetime of house arrest, a crime that would have been protected by free speech a century later.
The positives of freedom of speech are many. First, it enhances self-esteem to make people want to express their freedom. It can create new ideas which improve productivity and social relationships. Encourages social evolution. Then it has a shared responsibility. And a better sense of liability. No matter if you are right or wrong, you should be held accountable for everything you express in the name of freedom. Without free speech, the masses are silenced.
Innovation, free thinking and change can come from freedom of speech. Free speech isn’t just about being able to say what you want. It is about being able to keep society thinking and alive. If no one spoke then we all would be stuck and left to the power of absolute oppression of ideas. Limitations of speech are already in effect and people do not complain about that. People will always find loopholes to express their thoughts. While it is common to be based on emotion and personal opinion without evidence or scientific logic.
I believe in a limited form of freedom of speech. Forms of violence, hatred, exploitation and many other negative actions should be limited. While you should be able to say what you want even if it is offensive. Change is good, but trying to attempt change and not being completely educated on the topics and subjects, it is not worth you expressing your thoughts and feelings. Most social justice warriors I have seen online do no good. Not everyone who expresses their freedom of speech is right and positive in their actions.
In conclusion, if you’re going to use freedom of speech to move and influence your personal agenda, you will be responsible for all the consequences of your actions. Most people are unable to conduct civil disagreements or make civil arguments. You should use the power of freedom of speech for the benefit of all people. Otherwise, you are just further dividing people into more opposing groups. Information and ideas have rights for everyone to use. But can also be a more effective tool than direct violence.