Limits on Freedom of Speech
Are Limits on Freedom of Speech Ever Justified
It is a well-known fact that the freedom of speech and expression belong to the range of integral human rights which a person cannot be deliberately deprived of. Most countries all over the world support the idea that their citizens should be able to speak freely what they want and not to be afraid of being punished for their words. The US is not an exception in this sense. The right to the freedom of speech has been recognized as the most valuable issue in the document called the Bill of Rights – a collection of the first ten amendments to the American constitution. However, like citizens of any other country, the Americans feel the limitations which their government put upon them and in such a way strives to control the content of the so-called “free speech”. The article “Are Limits on Freedom of Speech Ever Justified” sheds the light on the problem of such limitations and depicts the controversy concerning the reasonability of these restrictions.
However, as they say, there are two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, no one can neglect the idea that the freedom of speech is the main feature of a democratic society in the modern days. The countries which strive to prohibit people’s free will to express what they want are usually titled as totalitarian ones and generally do not receive respect from the rest of the world. The inhabitants of such authoritarian countries are usually afraid of censorship and prosecution they may face in case their language does not fit the state authority or the other influential people.
On the other hand, the number of evidence states that the freedom of speech should be strictly controlled and limited by the government. The main idea lies behind the fact that in the same civilized democratic society no one is allowed to abuse and harm feelings of the other people. The above mentioned principle often interferes with the concept of the freedom of speech. For example, as it goes in the article, neither students nor teachers are allowed to speak freely what they want within the walls of the educational establishment. First of all, this means that both should follow a code of behavior and fulfill the duties of the role models of a teacher and a student.
In other words, a teacher as well as a student must not use swear language that indicates their intolerable attitude to one another. Besides, despite the fact that a school is an institution where people are usually encouraged to interchange their opinions, teachers are often not allowed to speak out their personal ideas concerning some events or personalities if they contradict with the official version described in books and the other learning sources. Thus, the freedom of speech is under control of the school administration. Moreover, such speech limitations do not exist only within the school but outside it as well. On the street, in the house, at the workplace, and even during the leisure time, one should always be aware of the fact that he/she is not the only human being in the world and thus respect the feelings of the other people. In other words, people usually bear the burden of freedom of speech control just because they are a part of the social medium.
The relation between patriotism, political attitude, and the freedom of speech is another issue deserving attention of publicity. Of course, people regarding themselves as patriots do not usually say what they really feel but instead tell something different which is useful for their motherland. Many of them follow a popular tendency of sacrificing one’s right of the freedom of speech in honor of the noble sense of patriotism. In any case, one gets to choose what is right and what is wrong.