Your Opinion – Freedom Of Speech

Most civilised peoples of the world value their freedom to have a voice, and say what they want to say.

My question is – Is freedom of speech a right or a privilege ?

This is not a survey, so please say why you think it’s a right or it’s a privilege, not just one or the other. Opinion Graphic Opinion Graphic

Please note: Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, constructive and related to the topic, or they will be moderated. Thank you for your co-operation. Warm regards, Don Charisma

54 thoughts on “Your Opinion – Freedom Of Speech

  1. DonCharisma is a very cool informative entertaining website.
    Please keep up the great work!

    Rash Manly

    I strongly feel FREE SPEECH is a right
    and is vital to a free and open society.

  2. I can’t really think if there is a right or a privilege where speech is concerned. Everyone can and often do say what is on their mind or in their thoughts, but there is the fear of saying something that you would get in trouble for. It’s not necessarily from the government (which would make it a right to speak freely) or from peers (would would make it self-censorship). To speak freely is something inherent in all of us, I would think.
    Perhaps its from the political standpoint, that we want to be able to freely complain about our governments without the fear of reprisals. Is it any different from speaking freely against a boss or management without the fear of being fired from your job? To say something on a public forum without the fear of offending one particular individual who might be so eager to bring up some lawsuit?
    Maybe i’m off the topic here. I think every country in the world has some limitation on the freedom of speech. But it doesn’t mean you can’t truly speak freely.

  3. I am not really sure about others, but in my country people seem to be quite confused about this issue.
    Yes, freedom of speech is definitely a right! You must be allowed to speak up about your fears, your desires, your dislikes and so on. No one should have the authority of saying ”enough” from this point of view. However, people tend to forget that rights come also with great responsibilities. You have the right to speak freely, BUT, be careful not to hurt the others. As they also want their rights to be respected.
    Can I say that freedom of speech is a privileged right? :mrgreen:

    PS: I think I will write an article on this topic as soon as my mind finds some free time 🙂

  4. Remember de Toqueville is a product of the French revolutions of the early nineteenth century…..where socialism is seen as the reaction of the non propertied classes to the oligarchy of the propertied – who held the franchise.

      1. Having property, he feared the socialism of his time which he felt was brought about by the middle class obstructing the material progress of the poor leading the latter to start to think and act in solidarity – as a class. In other words to replicate the process by which the middle class recognised common interests and rose to power after the 1789 Revolution.

  5. The US granted us the right to freedom of speech when the constitution was written, however there has been an ongoing movement in the past 50 or so years that have cut out most of our constitutional rights, so now freedom of speech, religion, and the right to bear arms are now privileges granted to those who have the money to go to court and defend them.

  6. It’s interesting to see so many people in Western nations continue to think they have their freedom of speech, when technically they don’t. There are several cases of laws being passed in Western nations where it is actually illegal for someone (ie, a white cis-man) to ‘criticize’ a so-called ‘protected demographic’. This is not free speech. Political Correctness is also not free speech.
    Both are the antithesis of it, and should be abhorred in a truly free society (there are exactly ZERO countries in the world right now that can be considered free; a couple are close).
    That’s why the first amendment to the US Constitution, and of Canada’s Charter, deal in part with freedom of speech — the Constitution goes so far as to say that it is something we are inherently born with, like we’re all born with a heart. Freedom of speech is an unalienable right, but like all freedoms, it comes with the necessary level of responsibility — if you can’t handle being called all kinds of insults, then either stop throwing out insults yourself if you started it, or simply don’t associate with those making the insults if you didn’t. If you’re a business owner, then simply kick the trouble-makers out. There’s parental controls so that one’s children don’t stumble upon something they shouldn’t have. No one needs to be arrested. Ever.
    Ultimately, everyone has the right to call a black man the N-word, under any circumstance. However, if one is going to be stupid enough to say it to a black man in the worst connotation possible, then he deserves the brow-beating he’ll likely get as a response.
    *Apologies for the long response — I’m kind-a passionate about this sort of thing..

    1. Ok, I don’t mind long responses, just takes me longer to read and sometimes I don’t respond to every point. Largely what you’re saying sounds reasonable enough, civil and on topic. And I did ask for *your* opinion.

      I think our freedom to speak is something that we should respect, and as other commenters have said, people haven’t and that’s why we’ve got laws and political correctness. The few often spoil it for the many. Those people didn’t have the good sense to be polite, well mannered and civil, by themselves, so their “right” gets taken away. They didn’t take responsibility for themselves, so someone else has to. It’s shame for the rest of us who were civil and try to live reasonably virtuously.



      1. It doesn’t matter what kind of person someone is, their right to speak, to peaceably assemble, to their beliefs, and to defend themselves can never be taken from them.
        If someone chooses to act like an a$$hole, then they must accept the consequences of those actions at the hands of those nearby who were affected by them.
        I’ve found that it’s amazing how quickly jerks will behave themselves when they get sucker-punched for their carelessness.
        I just don’t want my rights infringed upon for the sake of dealing with the abusers. Governments have continuously shown how terrible they are at addressing such things.
        Nonetheless, I do greatly appreciate you addressing such an important topic, I think.

      2. Good point, so sometimes the censors are just ordinary people… Try going to the home bar as an away supporter on your own and insulting the home team, sucker punched and ejected, at least I would think … My point people should learn to moderate themselves, and probably generally speaking a lot of people do.

      3. Of course people should tailor their speech as the particular moment requires. Like any freedom, unless you want to be seen and treated as completely deplorable person, then you should act in a way that best respects those around you.
        You also expect that those around you will give you the same courtesy…
        In my experience, most people get this, but of course there will always be that small minority of people who may need to be properly taught that lesson — sometimes the hard way.

  7. It should be a right and for a very good reason, it is better to say what you think then to act on it. freedom from speech creates repression and repression results in perverted expression.

    1. I like the second part, rings very true … however it’s becoming clear in this discussion, that freedom of speech is generally reliant on individuals taking responsibility for themselves, and acting sensibly and prudently. Where people aren’t, the powers that be are given the fuel to censor and restrict having very plausible logical justification. Cheers DC

      1. I’m a slow reader, and been out of academic for quite a long time, perhaps you’d care to paraphrase, with an eye toward more in layman’s terms and conciseness ? Warm regards DC

      2. “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
        ― Alexis de Tocqueville

      3. Political structures deal with all freedoms, I’m talking about a single aspect of freedom. So narrow it down to one freedom that we’re talking about, freedom of speech and, paraphrase, which means in Your own words.

      4. negative freedoms are those of socialism, positive freedoms are those of democracy. and if freedom of speech is such a small thing then why not allow it? Freedom FROM speech is a Socialistic process.

      5. So democracy good, socialism bad. As freedom of speech is “lessening” we’re moving from democracy to socialism, on a kind of sliding scale ?

      6. yes, less relationship, less participation, more covert hostility, concealed judgment, shallow, superficial, relationships… Female communication rituals, if it isn’t pleasant, you can’t say it, even if it is necessary and true. correlate the forcing of female communication rituals with the generational decline in testosterone.

      7. So socialism is taking over, mens nuts are going to shrivel and eventually fall off because we didn’t get to say what we wanted, and getting too much oestrogens in our food and drinks and eventually it’ll just be women left, like the island in the Greek mythology, and I’m thinking – fall of the Roman empire ?

        I’m off to stock up on testosterone supplements, sounds like my kind of party, me and a planet full of eunuchs and women, Don Charisma for emperor, thanks for the heads up ! LOL

        Joking aside, you raise some interesting points, and obviously do feel free to correct my humorous paraphrasing (my sense of humour does randomly appear from time to time) 🙂

      8. It has to do a lot with my research. there is a correlation with what you say, think, and do. When you aren’t allowed to talk like a man and have masculine opinions it influences your body and your actions. It has to do with neural myelination and cellular memory and repetition. Good talking to you, ttyl.

      9. It’s was an interesting and stimulating conversation, and you were civil and stated your point. It’s quite a lot to take on board, so will take me a while to process and be able to agree or disagree, or add much apart from humour.

        So thank you for your contribution, it’s appreciated.

        The only thing as a suggestion I would add, is that in communicating it, could be a little smother. I try to think like a layman when I’m writing, and keep it simple as possible. Might help, but advice is just advice at the end of the day 🙂

        Warm regards


  8. Freedom of speech is the right we think we have until oppressive forces reveal it to be a privilege which they grant. On their terms.

    To me, freedom of speech is the freedom to express opinion in a reasonable manner…but I am increasingly disturbed by those who think it enables them to abuse and that this abuse enables oppressive forces to clamp down on the real freedom of speech.

    1. Exactly !

      For me it’s a privilege, any person can quite quickly be silenced for expressing opinions that don’t conform, are illegal or not in the public interest. People are almost certain in jail, have been killed etc over what they’ve said, all in countries that supposedly have “freedom of speech”.

      So I think what Steve said is very useful, about it being a right with responsibility, and a right for with responsibility for me then becomes a privilege, based on my behaving within what the society I live in deems acceptable and not acceptable.

  9. I agree with what irenedesign2011 and theartistaslisalee have said: as a Westener, having lived all over the world, I see freedom of speech as a privilege… but it ought to be a right.

    Unfortunately, in my experience, many of those in the West who consider it to be their right, take it for granted and have little idea what true freedom of speech means to those who are denied such rights, and as a consequence, abuse it. Freedom of speech does not grant someone the right to be obnoxious, it grants people the latitude to stand up for what is right and just. For the greater good.

    1. For me, spot on, there’s fairly much where I’m coming from, I have little to add 🙂 Useful for people to explain it, I’m lucky to have such Charismatic readers !!!

      Cheers DC

  10. I think it is a right but people should be taught that some rights come with responsibility. Most of us understand that we have the responsibility not to yell out, “Fire! Run!” in the movie theatre yet we lose the concept that our right to communicate does not give us free reign to attack others with our words for no reason other than anonymity or cruelness.

    IE…the YouTube comment section.

    1. Agree Steve, thanks I’ve taken a lot from that. So for me a right with conditions isn’t really a right it’s a privilege. But I guess freedom carries responsibility, so probably a good thing.

      In other parts of the world I guess people get a much rawer deal. But there is censorship and restrictions in all western countries, always has been probably always will be. Just a question of degree.

      And using anonymity in order to inflict cruelty without taking any responsibility is a particularly heinous abuse of freedom, in my opinion.

  11. Freedom of speech is a right, it’s natural as human beings to express his/her opinions and thoughts to let others know of their beliefs. Unfortunately sometimes people take it too much for granted, but I am thankful to be living in a country that gives us the freedom to speak our thoughts, while in some other parts of the world that right is rigidly suppressed.

    1. Thank you, but for me it’s a privilege, a right would be to be able to say whatever I want whenever I want to whoever I want. And that’s just not how it is. The right assumes the responsibility not to say certain things in certain places at certain time and not contravene certain laws, a very much restricted right, for me therefore becomes a privilege. Perhaps others assume this with the right ?

  12. For me freedom of speech is a right, we are raced to in a democratic part of our World. For many people it is, unfortunately is a priviledge to be allowed to say, what you think, without being punished.

    1. Thanks Irene, but my view is that it is a privilege almost everywhere, because actually we can’t say exactly what we want whenever we want. There is censorship, there are laws, there are other people who might object, very strongly so, enough to be arrested or violently attacked. And I am talking about western countries, it’s worse in other parts of the world I know.

      1. My pleasure – It’s why I opened the discussion, thinking about moderating conversations and comments on my blog, what’s acceptable and what’s not. And what I can and can’t say, and where and when !

        Warm regards


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