•—ON FREE SPEECH—•
In this @elloethics repost of a recent demonstration turned violent, I want to investigate the concept of 'freedom of speech'.
According to the comments, I am drawn to an ethical consideration of a bigger picture. What is freedom of speech, and can it summon one size fits all laws & policies? I think that while one size fits all ideology for 'laws' may appear great on the surface—organized, efficient, cookie-cutter norms anyone ought to have access to & follow, but can it really hold humanities ideals? In this post, I hope to lend some clarification as to why we must reconsider such an oversimplification of human 'rights', especially as it pertains to 'law' (why I put scare quotes around these terms is for a latter discussion).
My own ethical pet-peeve: spreading untruth around and even promoting violence. It gets on my nerves. At what point do I draw my own line with freedom of speech? Must I accept the comments calling for the acceptance of racist speech create a normalization and dumbing down of a critique of ourselves simply protected political speech? Yet that in itself shuts the door on very real dialogue about the very real oppressions within our societies institutional systems. In the long run, & after shutting the door to critique, does it no encourage systemic racism, among other things?
There are limits to speech, and rightly so. Words do not have to incite violence explicitly to cause violence. Hate speech promotes division and intolerance and causes real damage.
Inability to recognize this very real damage is due in part to societal confusion about the neoliberal agenda. The bulk of the confusion is that everyone has the same, equal rights (this is the very political & legal ideology of all Eurocentric framed nations); all people are created equal here—but this isn't just an illusion, it's a tool for oppression. See, our current (US) government leans towards libertarian ideals of common law regarding the freedom of speech. This is a slippery slope, however. There are no absolute rights. Advocating for freedom of speech is an ill defined illusion within this scope of libertarianism to begin with. Consider this list of books that have been banned. Free speech, much? Or consider our biased media, where it serves as an echo chamber rather than a place to garner information.
In reality, Minorities, racial, ethnic, and or those who live in poverty suffer the most while those in privilege are protected as they rally their agendas.
Trump was never charged with inciting violence, for example, but our society does and should question the actions that lead to obvious, senseless harm of any ethnic, racial, or minority group.
Below is a screenshot from a post I found, depicting a protestor who was later stabbed by the Nazis. More information is here. I've taken his name out of the image. As far as I understand he has stabilized. He has my prayers