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A Note on Freedom of Speech

by Izzy Kalman (August 2004)

I believe it is a great tragedy that citizens of democratic countries are not educated about the true brilliance and power of the right to Freedom of Speech. Many people don’t understand why it is best to let people say whatever they want – even if it hurts people feelings – as long as the words don’t directly cause physical harm to body or possessions. (Freedom of Speech is the Constitutional version of the “Sticks and Stones” slogan.)

One recent seminar participant wrote to me that she disagrees strongly with Freedom of Speech, and believes that people should be responsible for what they say. She obviously does not understand that Freedom of Speech means that YOU are responsible for your speech – you, and not the government.

There are real-life consequences to our utterances. For instance, if we are nasty, others won’t want to be our friends, or will be nasty back, or won’t want to come to our future seminars. But I don’t need the government to punish me for sayings things you might not like or agree with. This woman who objects to Freedom of Speech would like to be able to get me in trouble with the authorities for saying words she doesn’t like to hear, though I am certain she would be quite upset if I were to exercise such a right against her.

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