Your Actual Freedom of Speech vs. Those in Total Opposition to Political Correctness

BeeNee a

Your Actual Freedom of Speech vs. Those in Total Opposition to Political Correctness

I have never quite understood the argument made by some that America is so politically correct that they would rather move to Canada or other country (in case you were wondering, those same people still live here). Anti-political correctness advocates usually angrily point to their first amendment rights to freedom of speech which few have apparently actually read and/or fully understood as justification for alleging they should have the power to be able to say whatever they want, when they want, and where they want to. If you've actually read your first amendment right, it does NOT actually say that you can say and or do whatever you want, when you want, free from any restriction whatsoever. It also ironically protects many of the things you want to and express mainly because political correctness is not actually law. I mean if you are going to stand up and strongly defend something, you might want to know what you're actually defending.

What are your actual rights? Freedom of Speech is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws (see video below).

The freedom of speech is NOT absolute; the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are excluded from the freedom, and it has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech.

"Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy are almost always permitted. There are exceptions to these general protections, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising. Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as rights for authors over their works (copyright), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons, and restrictions on the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance."

I see a few problems with those that feel we need to get rid of political correctness in America.

1. The problem with the argument that we need to get rid of political correctness is that the very people who say they should have more freedoms of speech, already in fact have them. If you have a dessenting opinion, you are free to express it. If you want to call an officer who is a woman, a police man, instead of police officer or police woman, you cannot be arresseted for that. If you want to make your youtube vidoes, or protest your local government, or get on tv in an op ed piece, nothing is stopping you. We don't live in a country where a corrupt government/police force is going to bang on your door in the middle of the night, strangle your children in front of you, and then blow your head off because you wrote a blog about how you dislike the president or your hatred of feminism. If you don't agree with whomever, about whatever, aside from the exceptions to your FOS under law, you can say pretty much what you like already.

2. Aye, but there's the rub. Those who want to be so free to express themselves, don't like the idea that people can and often do, fervently oppose their opinions and ideas. Freedom of speech doesn't mean you are free from the opinions of others on said speech whether they agree with you or not. With the instantaneous nature of things like social media and news outlets, such opposition can be swift and unyielding, and few, knowing their opinions, want to deal with the consequences of their freedom of expression. They just want to be able to say anything they want and basically have everyone agree with them, but you have to be able to deal with opposition. You think everyone just stood by and agreed with the Founding Fathers?

3. Then there are those people who freqently complain about their ideas being censored by a social media site like GaG because of so called political correctness, but again, this is where knowing your rights comes into play. If you create something, such as a website, you have the right to censor it all you want because when you create something, whether you open it up to the public or not, it is yours. In fact, if you read the fine print on those contracts no one reads when they sign up for sites such as these, YOU have already agreed to allow this and other websites to censor you in anyway they deem appropriate. Don't like it, what is free is that you don't have to be a part of a so called "repressive institution" and you can exercise your own rights, create your own website, and truly allow anyone to say what they want on it, but much like those moving to another country, you're...still...here.

4. There is that subset of people who's intentions are less about being able to make more political commentary or express opposition to certain ideas, and much more about feeling that they should be able to freely use/implement things like racism, hate speech, sexism, bigotry, religious discrimination, homophobia and/or obsenities, etc. There are clearly reasons why your FOS does not neccessarily guarantee or protect this as part of that freedom, but despite someone not liking the idea of someone saying these things, a lot of your right to do so IS already protected by FOS. (see no. 3)

When you stand up and say I'm going to move away from this country because you want more freedom of speech and to do away with political correctness altogether, you will quickly find yourself with very few options for that and continuing to say this as if it actually means something without action, means to some degree that you recognize that you have far more rights here then you would in a lot of other countries. Now considering, aside from those protections under law, you have freedom of speech and cannot be arrested for expressing your opinions, or not wanting to use certain so called PC terms for certain people or places, and no one is coming to kidnapp and kill you for having an opinion, the only thing stopping you from using your right, is you, but again, don't think that just because you use it, there won't be opposition to your thoughts and ideas. This is exactly WHY we do have freedom of speech in the first place.

An interesting article if you're interested: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/02/free-speech-isnt-free/283672/

...and more on what freedom of speech actually means:


Your Actual Freedom of Speech vs. Those in Total Opposition to Political Correctness
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  • hellionthesage
    Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Abridge: 1. shorten (a book, movie, speech, or other text) without losing the sense.
    "the cassettes have been abridged from the original stories"
    synonyms: shorten, cut, cut short, cut down, curtail, truncate, trim, crop, clip, pare down, prune; More abbreviate, condense, contract, compress, reduce, decrease, shrink; "she was hired to abridge the works of Shakespeare for a children's book club"
    •shortened, cut, cut down, concise, condensed, abbreviated; censored, expurgated
    2. curtail (rights or privileges).
    "even the right to free speech can be abridged"
    In fact what your describing in your first part is actually unconsitutional according to the first amendment, any law that abridges/curtails the freedom of speech is in direct violation of the first amendment, quite literally as it states it in the first amendment, "or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"
    By attempting to punish those who speak out yoy are censoring speech, now yes their are only a handful of laws that violate the first amendment, but society as a whole does deal out punishment for speech. If a person says something that the populace does not like they can and are fired from jobs, harrassed etc. despite the fact that they where within thier rights to speak and it has no bearing on their occupation. This is how society as a whole censors speech. In fact your take is actually an attempt to censor speech (fully within your rights to do) by attempting to argue that they should not argue or point out what they see as a manipulation and suppressoin of opinion. As for your second remark, I think that your response shows the opposite, that is those in the majority do not like thier opinions questioned. Those in the minority have their opinoins questioned all the time, that is not what they argue against but rather the extreme response to disent that they argue is going to far and thus a violation of their right to speak freely. Now to speak of an opinion does not mean you are granted immunity for it but the fact that in society you can be punished in ways unrelated to the statement is an issue that does need to be adressed.
    Is this still revelant?
    • BeeNee

      So shall we then only hold true the first 10 amendments and ignore all else that came after it because a law, amendment, or rule can never be changed because it was once written down by people who did not have to live in a world where the internet, copyright law, or television existed? Get out of here with that! You make rules as a society that you feel will serve that society as your society sees fit. We elect people to do so. These same people made abridgements.

      As for the latter, if we do away with any restrictions on FOS, you open the door for people being able to freely exhibit child pornography, openly incite violence and/or hatred of a group, and steal your personal works. For this, and oh so many reasons, we have limitations. The majority has always ruled in this country in regards to most if not everything. So if someone has an idea or thought that goes against that, say women's rights for example, it is up to them to make their point, to go against the establishment...

    • BeeNee

      and fight for themselves to be heard. This is literally how it has always been. The only difference now is that we have an internet which can link people together instantly and can easily band people together. This can obviously work for or against you.

      Going back in time to 1791 for a minute... this FOS was never meant for you to be able to call your neighbor an asshole. This version of freedom of speech was about you being able to protest your government openly and freely without persecution. You still have that very right.

    • But what benefits come from abridging a persons right to freely express themselves? If a person lies to do harm to another then punishment makes sense as its not an expression but a tactic to do harm. However political correctness prevents people from expressing their opinions. ergo it is an abridgment of the first amendment and if it is legally backed it would be illegal. Yes opinions can hurt people but if it is not a direct attack designed to hurt their economic standing then it is not an assualt on the individual. A man can talk about black people being worthless etc all he wants as long as he is not stating an explicit lie that is designed to cause an individual to lose their job or destroye their personal repuation for personal gain then it should not be illegal. Who decides what is appropriate and what is not? Just because the majority doesn't like something doesn't mean it is wrong, just because its voted for doesn't make it truth.

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  • ClassicRocker
    Generally I agree with what you're saying, but when people use certain words in a descriptive rather than an inflammatory way such as using the word "nigger" to describe something a hate group might write on a wall. Or just reading "Huckleberry Finn" out loud should not be getting professors put on leave.

    Tenured professors and other educators should not have to fear using words academically when used in a non-inflammatory way...

    If you were offended by my first paragraph you are the problem...
    • BeeNee

      Was there an actual concrete case of that happening? I doubt a professor would get put on leave for discussing that literature, especially given that book lists are approved by the University and shown to students prior to signing up for classes. That is not the hate speech the exceptions to FOS alludes to. It would literally have to be, as you say, someone purposefully spray painting, for example, a swastika on say the Jewish studies building.

    • Here's one for huck Finn
      www.latimes.com/.../...igation-20150617-story.html

      and he didn't even quote a part that had any offending words. The mere fact that he quoted the book got the PC crowd all butthurt.

    • Suppression of free speech in academia is a legitimate problem. Here's one about a professor that used it descriptively like I did in the first paragraph almost exactly:
      www.theblaze.com/.../

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  • zagor
    And we have more freedom of speech and less political correctness than Canada...
    • Viperkiss

      In what way?

    • zagor

      @Viperkiss When a magazine in Edmonton reprinted the Danish cartoons that some Muslims felt insulted the prophet Mohammed, the editor was charged with a crime. Only after public outcry were the charges dropped.

      Ever seen those parody cartoons of Bart and Lisa Simpson doin' it? In Canada that is child pornography, under the same statute as the real thing.

  • Other_Tommy_Wiseau
    you have way too much time on your hands.
    • BeeNee

      ... says a person on GaG... ok then.

    • well played :P... you still wrote all that. and no, i didn't read

    • BeeNee

      yet you're still here... so yeah...

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