Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech (FoS) is the legal right to speak freely without fear of legal reprisal (either in the sense of said speech being deemed illegal or in the sense of any reprisal being allowed under the law).
- Freedom of speech is often confronted by an implied freedom from being offended, i.e. an apparent belief by some people that they have the right not to be exposed to speech which they find offensive. Freedom from being offended is generally not regarded as a legal right, except in cases where the offending speech crosses the line into hate speech which represents a threat of possible physical harm.
- Freedom of speech is sometimes confused with an imagined right of freedom from criticism. The need for open discussion and criticism of ideas is one of the reasons why freedom of speech is important; criticizing someone's ideas is not the same as censoring them. (Removing their comments from a web page without further discussion, for example, would be an example of censorship.)
- Newt Gingrich has made at least one proposal suggesting that freedom of speech should take second priority to the war on terror.
- Free speech trolling abuses social approval of the right to FoS by using it as a cover for the propagandistic spread of malicious and/or false beliefs.
- Such arguments are often mockingly referred to as "freeze peach".
- Conservapedia (rather brief article as of 2007-10-22; still short as of 2008-12-12) states that "As originally intended, the freedom of speech never meant a perversion of conventions of polite society. You can't insult someone or disturb a religious service with impunity, for example..." which seems rather close to implying that FoS = freedom from being offended and is at least clouding the issue. It may still be rude to speak disruptively in a church ceremony, but it's not illegal; causing a disturbance on church property by speaking when requested to be quiet, however, would still be something they could call the cops about and have you removed, without any violation of FoS. "Freedom of speech" is about 'being free to choose the content of one's speech without legal reprisal, not about overriding social rules regarding when it's appropriate to speak at all. By implying that the church situation is a FoS issue and coming down on the side of the church, Conservapedia heavily implies that being disrespectful of a church ceremony might not be protected speech at any time (even in print or in a public venue) – which is not true. (Are they, perhaps, referring to the 2008 sacred wafer scandal?)
dKosopedia: no equivalent page (as of 2007-10-22, confirmed 2008-12-12)
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- 2007-08-11 Europe's Lost Liberty compares liberty in the United States versus that in Europe, with particular reference to Cantwell v. Connecticut: "[A] state may not unduly suppress free communication of views, religious or other, under the guise of conserving desirable conditions." (which is pretty much exactly the justification the Bush II administration has been using for its ongoing revocation of civil rights, although the article doesn't mention this).