Does Freedom of Expression Mean Anything Goes?

pope

Are there, or should there be limits to free expression? Does having freedom mean we are exempt from being responsible for ourselves and for how our words – both spoken and written – and created images affect others?

In an interesting article found here the Pope says states that freedom of speech is a fundamental human right and we have a duty to speak up for the sake of the common good.

But what if what we’re saying is not for the common good? What if it’s actually to shame, ridicule, insult, and put down another person or people group? Should we still be extended this same freedom? Maybe we should, but ought there to be limits?

Is it okay for us to do things that are quite simply bad, or mean, or intentionally hurtful and destructive?

I’m pretty torn on this one.

Even if we don’t agree with the choices of another, is it ever okay to be expressly violent with them? And if so, what’s the point?

What does it mean to have freedom? Does it mean we should just do or say whatever we want without regard to the health and well-being of our fellow men and women?

As a Canadian I am grateful to be living in a Free Country, but this freedom does have limitations. I am not free to intentionally and seriously physically harm or kill another person… And thank goodness for that.

Freedom does not extend to physical violence so why does it extend to verbal, written or otherwise expressed violence?

Why are some people saying it’s okay to intentionally and seriously emotionally or mentally harm another human being? Does this make sense at all?

Even if someone is not being good to us, does it mean it’s no holds barred and Carte Blanche for us to be mean, horrible, or awful to them?

Good goodness. To me, that sounds like total anarchy and chaos.

But this is a really tricky issue.

If there are limits to freedom of expression, and I’m inclined to think that if it were possible, it might be good for our personal well being, then who gets to decide what those limits are, and who is in charge of determining when those limits are breached?

This is a really tough issue and an important discussion we need to be having in the wake of conversations around the tragedy of the Charlie Hebdo Paris Terrorist attacks.

But enough from me. Let’s hear more from you.

Comments

By | 2017-05-21T16:05:52+00:00 January 21st, 2015|General|2 Comments