Americans... Can freedom of speech be abused?

I was having a debate with this guy. He started to get offensive. When I challenged him on it he told me about he's right to freedom of speech. He said being American means you can say what ever you want even if it's offensive and that he would rather someone be racist than someone to take away their rights to believe in what they want.

Please tell me this is just one idiot. Not all Americans think like this do they?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I'm not saying Americans are retarded, but America does have an over abundance of these kinds of idiots.

    I have a deep fascination with the contrast between how intelligent Americans can be as individuals, but how ridiculously brain dead they be together as a group.

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    • Hey its because you're dumb. To idiots smart mother fuckers sound like dumb mother fuckers. Me being a research chemist proves im not a dumb mother fucker. That leaves just one option. you're a dumb mother fucker.

    • Anyone who uses the phrase "dumb mother fucker". So often in one paragraph. Is probably not that intelligent.

What Guys Said 15

  • First and foremost, freedom of speech is the freedom to speak what you want when you want, and yes it does not matter if its hatefull or not. It does not bare them from saying something hatefull, you do not have the right not to be offended. The reason this is the case is that in order to speak freely, you will inevitably meet some one who disagrees, and who is offended by what you say. If we hold peoples feelings as more important then the free exchange of ideas and thoughts then we have effectivley destroyed the freedom of speech. It is censorship which is running rampant in our politicly correct world. For instance your statment that this guy is an idiot I find offencive, will you then delete this post or insure you never say something like that again? Probably not, and in all likely hood you would also consider me an idiot and argue with me or tell me that I am not worth arguing with (attempting to trivialize my "feelings" on the subject) So in what way are you difffrent? The other issue is that every currently held idea and belief was at one point or another not politicly correct and offensive. Yet the hampering of those ideas hampered our social and intellectual development. That means in order to prevent the intellectual stifling that political correctness or feelings/culture/tradition imposes, we must allow for all discussion and all statements to viewed as potentially valid and thus need to be able to be said. That also, however, allows for rebuttle in order to prove logicly and empiricly that the statment is false or illogical. If you wish to speak, so do others, if they should not be allowed to speak, neither should you. Now that being said, it people should be courtes to others and not actively make them upset (but we are human and all of us, even you do so from time to time), however that does not mean they should have no right to speak since every one has said something offensive, and everyone has been offended at some point or another. We must hold all to the same standard, even ourselves. Do you believe that you should lose that right just because you disagree with some one or are offended by what they say?

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    • What about peoples right to be free from being the victims of racism, sexism or homophobia?

      What about if some radical terrorist was in America and started preaching hate towards Americans. Then encouraged violent attacks on America. Is this kind of behaviour protected my "freedom of speech" I doubt it, so people should not be free to be racist, sexist or homophobic. Freedom of speech is a great thing but it needs to be policed.

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    • Eventually truth prevailed. If freedom of speech did not exist for everyone, even those who say things that the public doesn't want to hear, it would never have happened. Neither would the end of segregation or abolishment of slavery or the idea that all people have the right to there religious convictions. By removing that, you destroy an avenue with which society may find truth, a path that may have lead to the betterment of society. I would never abide this, its why I am talking to you now, even though I doubt you will be swayed its important that people understand why we do things the way we do. I would no more wish for your voice to be censored then any one elses, only cowards fear opinions, only liars the truth. To me if something is false, eventually it will be proven. Eventually, and perhaps I am more idealistic then otheres, I belive all people will gravitate to truth and I would not have that hampered just to spare some ones feelings.

    • To quote Thomas Sowell, "If you want to help people, you tell them the truth. If you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear."

  • Depends on what part of his reasoning you mean. If you're asking if all Americans think "I am, by law, protected so that I can say whatever I wish without fear of persecution", then yes, most Americans think that. Now, if you're asking if all Americans abuse their rights and don't understand that they need to still use their rights responsibly, then no, not all Americans are like that. Freedom is not absence of responsibility. The freedom's granted to the American people are given and are not restricted at all, by law, and cannot be restricted by law. They are to be "restricted" by a person's own moral responsibility and integrity. They have the right to offend, legally. However, morally, they do not and should not do so.

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  • There are quite a few haters who hide behind the first amendment in America.

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  • Freedom of speech is terribly misunderstood by a lot of Americans. It just means the government can't legally restrict certain speech. A lot of Americans think it means they have a moral right to say whatever they want and you're expected to accept it.

    The reality is that freedom of speech does include the right to be offensive, but the upside is that offensive speech is only protected from the government, not from other people with the will to publicly call those people on their shit.

    If you practice good citizenship, you have both a right and a responsibility to speak up about those people and make your balancing contribution to society through your own free speech.

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  • I believe you should be able to say whatever you want, however, when it crosses into something offensive where they are verbally attacking you that's another story. But even though it isn't moral correct to do so they still should have the right to their own opinion and it shouldn't be regulated by anyone.

    I am sorry you ran into someone that is a douche bag though.

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    • P. S. I dont mean this just for Americans, the world should be able to hold their own opinions.

  • In essence he is right, but that doesn't make him any less of a jerk for hiding behind such a weak defense.

    It's also not entirely true. Insult a cop over and over and that 'freedom of speech' will take you all the way to a nice and comfy prison cell. And acts such as slander are punishable by law.

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  • Could you please clarify your question?

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  • Id rather people be allowed to say racist stuff then to not be able to. Cencership should not be tolerated and should be punishable by death and seen as treason.

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  • No freedom of speech to me is not meant to be offensive towards someone that right there is way off limits

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  • God, I hope only a minority of Americans are that kind of self-righteous

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  • who desides wats offensive? The PC police just call anything offensive that goes against there stupid ideas.

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  • Unfortunately, the right to freedom of speech is the most abused right here.

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  • Freedom of speech allows exactly that, nothing can be censored.

    Doesn't change the fact that some people are a**holes or wrong.

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    • What about people's freedom to not be the victims of racism, sexism or homophobia?

    • There are no such 'freedoms'.

      Similarly, there is no 'freedom of consequence', so hateful speech is often dealt with accordingly for the most part.

  • Freedom of speech means you can say what you like as long as no one is materially harmed (shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater and causing a panic in which people are injured), it allows you to be offensive as you like. Your feeling are not protected by the Constitution. At least not yet, the way things are going they soon will be. Won't that be a jolly time to be a lawyer!

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  • He kinda has a point. I still disagree though. Fully

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What Girls Said 4

  • He just sounds like an illogical cunt. Just because he's American doesn't mean he can way what ever he wants. I mean humans can say what ever they want but there are going to be some consequences about what they say. Again dude being WAY to sensitive.

    Nope not all Americans think that way. Some are actually intelligent and not illogical mouth breathers.

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  • He sounds like a jerk. I work with a guy who is an atheist. He is always butting his way into people's conversation... getting in their faces and calling them stupid for what they believe. I told him one day he was going to do this to the wrong person and get his ass kicked. I think if a person violates your space... he is getting out of hand. But if not... you can always walk away.

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  • Obviously we do have freedom of speck and you can say why you want. However people who complain about "political correctness" only complain when the mass majority don't agree with their offensive statement. So they all wan to use it until people get in their face about their dumbass comment.
    However I prefer people to be more decent and less like an asshole.

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  • People have the legal right to say what they want... but other people have the legal right to enforce legal consequences - such as negative response, financial boycott, etc.

    The government has no place dictating speech, though. If a person gets turned in for making terror threats or fired for saying slurs against clients, that's a consequence, though.

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    • So is not against the law to verbally abuse someone with racist insults in America? It is in England.

    • Some behaviors may be covered under other laws, such as harassment. But the government dictating what you can and can't say is a slippery slope. Remember that freedom from an overreaching government is one of the reasons we aren't British to begin with.

    • We have freedom of speech in the UK. We just know that it's not a licence to be racist

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