Freedom of Speech,
This is so much more than just the use of spoken language, speech. My parents left a communist country, escaping to the west, because so many freedoms had been removed, including the one of expression, whether in writing or speaking. It was always with a smile that I reacted to the name of an Eastern European newspaper. PRAVDA. Pravda means The Truth and I used to wonder how much truth there was in the cited articles.
There is so much more to the freedom of expression than many of us realize. First and foremost humankind must be responsible for the interpretation of expression of thought. Is it truthful? Is it honest?. For what is true for one may not serve another. It is important to evaluate, as an individual, the content that is heard or read. In the Western world the expression "freedom of speech" is interpret to mean the expression of a truth, of information that can be corroborated but on must ask: Can this be substantiated?
There are so many truths in history that have not served humankind because the individuals receiving the information stopped thinking and evaluating … because they allowed themselves to be moved by the powerful style of the writer/speaker.
In the 4th century AD, the beautiful city of Alexandria was destroyed into oblivion because of freedom of speech. The Christian Bishop, Cyril, was given the freedom to speak as he wished. He was a great orator and convinced his followers of what he had to say. They did not think; they did not evaluate. As a result they were incited to plunder and burn much of the city including the last remnants of the great Library of Alexandria and to murder one of the city's most illustrious philosophers, Hipatia, who stood for freedom in all respects, including the freedom to follow her own religion.
In the 15th Century, Savonarola, delivered powerful sermons in Florence. He had total freedom of speech but the congregation did not question his message. They went out and burned fine Florentine Renaissance artwork because they did not question the truth of what they had just heard.
The Grand Inquisitors of Spain were known for their zealous campaign against Jews and Muslims in Spain. They delivered highly emotional laden sermons, employing their freedom to speak. Unfortunately most of the information was unfounded and often outright lies but they served to fire up the congregation, giving the church a carte blanche to carry out their atrocities.
Hitler rose to a place of prominence in the early years of his career largely as a result of his skills in oratory. Again the audience did not evaluate, did not use their own judgment to question what was being said.
Freedom of Speech? Yes definitely. Each and everyone of us should have the right to free expression, but beware of the information. Draw your own conclusions. Make your own decision. That is also a RIGHT.