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freedom of speech l liberty l democracy l solidarity l spirituality


"I wholly disapprove of what you say - and I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire.

Freedom of speech is the right to freely say what You please, as well as the right to hear what others have to say.

Freedom of speech is self-explanatory.

It encompasses full freedom of expression, including the freedom to create and distribute all kinds of texts, movies, pictures, songs, dances, plays and all other forms of expressive communication, including laughter, redicule, satire and comedy.

Let it be very clear : the exercise of the right to free speech must never be forbidden.

Certain damaging types of expressions, notably sedition, defamation, provocation, publishing secrets regarding matters of state security, etc. may be punishable by law ... These laws are supposed to be known by all involved sign-interpreters and rooted in the independence of the democratic legal system of the state.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 - 1859) pointed out people may be hesitant to speak freely, not because of fear of government retribution, but because of social control. Unpopular opinions may face the disdain of the community, of the peers and the author may be subjected to violent reactions. As history teaches barbarians do not hesitate to destroy the cultural heritage of humanity, kill innocent woman and children, eradicate specific minorities, etc. one is called to expect the worse. He who wins the war without fighting has won (Sun-tzu). In such an antagonistic context, freedom of speech is the last refuge the free citizen has.

Freedom of speech should not be restricted, except if and only if it can be made perfectly clear this causes active discrimination and/or violence between individuals, groups, societies, nations.

Violence is unable to eliminate the freedom of speech.

Offended parties should persistently seek legal satisfaction. In no case should they use violence, terrorize or express their frustration and anger in destructive and debasing ways. And if this happens, it needs to be checked, stopped and changed.

Making fun of sensitive issues, like handicapped people, certain minorities, horrible historical facts like the Holocaust, religious symbols and the like, should not be a priori restricted. Humour can also be a good example of terribly bad taste. At times, the silence of indifference is the best answer.


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initiated : 11 XI 2004 - last update : 20 XI 2017
© Wim van den Dungen