Free Speech (noun): the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint
I have been noticing a lot of news pieces, events, and social media stories that relate to the notion of somebody’s free speech being threatened. The Charlie Hebdo attack for example.
The way I see it, it is a two pronged threat. On one side you have terrorists wanting the world under a dictatorship; a uniform human race with singular thoughts and actions. And on the other side you have people who demand apologies and refractions from others who have simply stated their personal opinion. And it is this second one that keeps recurring in my mind.
There is always something in the news about somebody making sexist, racist, or homophobic slurs, and whilst I in no way condone or endorse being mean to fellow human beings, I cannot help but feel amused at the hypocrisy of the people who demand apologies from the slur-makers.
Let’s say that some celebrity has made an off-the-cuff remark about disliking homosexuals; this then leads to an outcry from the public which basically states that said celebrity is ignorant and hate-filled and needs to recognise that people are entitled to live how they want and it is perfectly ok to be a homosexual should one so wish. It is their expression of self; a basic human right in the 21st century world we live in.
And this is where the hypocrisy comes in. Because in my thinking, isn’t it the right of the homophobic comment-maker to say such things? Or is free speech and opinion only reserved for certain people?
If someone wants to be homosexual then that is fine; and if someone has an opinion against homosexuals than surely that is fine too.
You can’t go around tooting on about human rights and freedom of speech etc. if you chastise somebody for exercising that right when you do not like what they have to say. Such double standards.