Freedom of Speech: The Crucial Right to Think

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PC: Nathan Keirn

Morgan Stauffer
Staff Writer 

There are many countries across the globe who enshrine freedom of speech within their law. This sheds an amount of light on the value of what it means for a country to grant speaking freely as a fundamental and necessary right. The United States recognizes this right in a unique way that no other country has done. The difference is immensely vital, as are most things when considering what rights to grant a civilization.

The United States identifies in its constitution certain rights for human beings that exist outside of a written constitution or law. This means that the United States government acknowledges freedom of speech as a right that exists outside of its own authority.

It is important to identify exactly what that means for state rights outside of a constitution, and how this differs from every other country on the globe. First, to address rights outside of a constitution entails that people possess fundamental value and therefore rights that preexist whatever standing institution governs over them.

Furthermore, because the government recognizes these rights as preexisting its own existence, the right of the government to revoke them are presented to be outside of the government’s authority. This differs from every other civilization in the world because for them, rights are recognized as things given to citizens by the government.

This places the authority to grant and revoke all rights for citizens within the power of the federal government.

To recap, the United States identifies freedom of speech as a right that exists outside of governing forces. The right exists by the very understanding that Being itself possesses value and therefore, possesses fundamental rights.

This also ties a higher ethical fabrication to the idea of Being, identifying value as being innate as opposed to being given. Outside of America, rights are viewed as being afforded to by the government and therefore can be taken away as easily as they are given.

Obviously, freedom of speech has its restrictions. Very broadly, one’s rights should not impede on the right of another to exercise their rights. But why is it so imperative that we possess a fundamental innate right to the freedom of speech? Because a freedom to speak is a freedom to think, and the only way we as a society can weed out tyrannical ideas is to be able to think freely.

The first thing to substantiate is the idea that speaking is indeed thinking. Developmentally speaking, we all derive an amount of our ethical framework from our peers. We begin by holding a set of facts or values as true. and carrying them with us to act on throughout our life, a toolbox so to speak.

When we act on a particular value we own or the tool we possess, we are presumably showing the world the most ethical way we know to act. Upon presentation of a particular way of acting, people will either approve or disapprove of our actions and we can typically tell which reaction we have invoked. People will voice their opinions on our actions, more so if the action is particularly obscene or we give them the chance to.

The conversation that occurs in criticism of one’s actions is assumed to be had to better the ethical state of mind for the individual. It is the debate that occurs while  attempting to reach the highest form of morality, and is assumed to be well-intentioned. So, we all walk around with an ethical toolbox, and the way we adjust our tool box as to better ourselves, is by having conversations with others.

The conversation enables two people to say “Okay, I disagree. Now let us figure out where and why the disagreement occurs.” In order to correctly assess every angle of a particular way of thinking, one has to be allotted the right to speak freely. Identifying this method as a tool of our ethical development allows us to see more clearly how speaking and thinking are synonymous.

We think our morals through as best as we can as individuals, and follow by taking them out into the world to inevitably be criticized, but more importantly, to improve them. Speaking to others is an extension of speaking to yourself about the moral system you currently own.

The more minds you can put your ethical system through, presumably the better that moral system will be. Take something you deem as moral and run it through your head, is it still moral?

Now run it through 10, 20, 100, or 1,000 other people. If it is still the same moral, then it is truly a moral to hold. If it changed then great! You’re smarter now because of it but this is the nature of weeding out bad ideas in place of good ones. It happens by communicating and doing so freely.

Acting is the way we play out our thoughts in the world and speaking to others is the process of revising our own way of thinking. This is vital for our society to exercise the right to. Silence a component in this process and we risk hindering our developmental process of establishing higher forms of ethics within ourselves.

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