Curtailed Freedoms

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The world is meant to be a liberalized place; nevertheless, the harm principle provides sufficient proof for the need for the curtailment of the free speech. Ideally, very few speeches are meant to be restricted (Lucas, E, p 29). In essence, the restriction is only aimed at ensuring that the speaker and the perceived audience both remain content with the message.  It is also worthy hastening to add that the contention does not necessarily imply agreement with the speech, however  provided the speaker does not, in any way, infringe on the rights of others, freedom of expression should be given.

In a liberal society, the whole issue of free speech is very contentious. In retrospect, speech does not necessarily cause harm but it does become very offensive. Whether the speech is offensive or harmful, curtailment based on democratic reasons is relatively protracted and acceptable. The analysis of the entire concept of freedom of speech therefore presents a very multifaceted idea, traversing bounds of paternity, offensiveness, morality and the idea of pornography. The analysis of the issue therefore imperatively looks at these inalienable concepts.

According to Fish, there is no freedom of speech. For him, speech is neither independent nor is it free, but it is short and of political returns. Presumably, there is no society that does not attach limitations to speech. Virtually every society has some hidden but extensive curtailment on the speech. Further, Stuart (Petley, J., p 203) cements the entire contention by arguing that there is always inherent competition between authority and liberty. Ultimate, one carries the day and both of them would not coexists without conflicting interests.

                        In the light of Stuart’s argument, it is myopic to argue for unlimited speech domain. In addition, it is quite unrealistic arguing for such a course. The central components of speech that should be emphasized should be the value placed on the speech and the speech should be given in some ideal and good setting. Nonetheless, extensive speech limit slips one into a tyrannical and censorship world. The contrary presents an equal challenge that tends more towards social anarchy.

            Appreciably, the freedom of speech is available; however the shear fact that one does not exist in isolation does imply that our actions will always be contained by the actions of those whom we live or interact with. Ideally, blanket acceptance of speech of whatever standards goes as far as implying that the there should be no prohibition of libelous speeches, release of state secrets and child pornography (Petley, J., p 197). If we consider these actions that would have far reaching ramifications, then we can accept that there is need to place a limit on the freedom of speech.

Stuart argues that if man had the same opinion over, then there could be no need to curtail the freedom of speech. According to Stuart, (Peonidis, F., p 609) one can only push his argument through if they are allowed to have freedom of speech. Through free speech, one can always push his argument to the preferred logical end. In the light of Stuart, (Eisenach E J., p 67) the act of speech curtailment is simply meant to regulate the actions of the political class. It doing this, Stuart asserts that one adheres to the harm principle. Contextually, the principle implies that the any speech given should not invade on the rights of any other person. Coincidently, the extent of the harm caused by speech is undefined. For the liberals free speech is utterly unconceivable and it was evidenced when at some occasion, the free speeches invaded on individuals’ rights.

Stuart argues (Cohen-Eliya, M., Hammer, Y p 172) that some harm may be caused by speech indirectly. For example, if one does make a statement implicating another person then such could be harmful to the individual who is implicated. Ideally, the speech tends to imply that the implicated person was up to some mischief, ultimate; harm is caused (Knight, A., p 83). Essentially, the whole speech amounts to libel.

There are speeches that would simply lead to blackmail.  Where the speech puts blame on someone who is not responsible for the actions placed upon him. In addition, if speech is given blanket green light, then advertisements would take advantage of this state and give the wrong information to consumers.

This may ultimately translate to harm. Besides, the blatant lies told to the market would end up causing losses in society or to the individuals who happen to fall prey (Lucas, E, p 32). Under such circumstances, one will argue that one has committed some harm and that subsequently the rights of an individual have been violated.

In accordance to Feinberg’s offensive principle, rather than curtailment of speech in total, some expression could be legitimately prohibited particularly those that were very offensive. For Feinberg, offending someone was less offensive that harming someone (O’Rourke K C., p 67). Yet the whole act or feeling of offense is utterly undefined. Feinberg argues that because many people tend to take offense simply because of overly sensitive dispositions. In extreme cases, he argues, individuals get offended because of bigotry and unnecessary prejudice.

Despite the difficulties in applying these standards, the offense principle is commonly and expeditiously applied in liberal democracies (Bracken H M., p 23). In these democracies, citizens are penalized for varied activities including speech. Feinberg postulates that various factors are supposed to be taken into account when deciding whether speech can be limited by the offense principle (Newman, C.G., p 192). This is inclusive of the extent, duration and social value of the speech, the ease with which it can be avoided, the motives of the speaker, the number of people offended the intensity of the offense, and the general interest of the community at large.

Pornography, for instance is very offensive given its violent or degrading content. The offense here is quite profound (Eileen B, p 316). By any standards the simple knowledge that the film of the movies does exist is in itself very offending. The challenge is that the shear knowledge elicits such offense. However, allowing the films to be banned because some individuals get offended because of the existence of the film even without watching them is quite illogical; logical (Mahoney K., p 25) consistency does demand that allowance is given for prohibiting numerous forms of expression.

Though Stuart appears fully opposed to the whole idea of speech limitation, he accepts that there are instances where some interventions are warranted. Fish looks at the whole concept differently any how. He argues that in certain cases it is the speaker who needs protection and not those listening. Ideally for Stuart, the speaker may just be perceived wrongly and therefore there is the dire need for the speaker’s protection.

In addition, Fish (Loury G C, p 29) argues that the speaker would not be aware of the dire consequences of the speech. In the realm of paternalistic intervention, the state is supposed to know what is right and wrong for its citizens. Fish therefore argues that the state should regulate the freedom of speech and should evaluate thereof the speeches.

It is evidently clear that liberal have a tendency to unite in opposing paternalistic and moralistic justifications for limiting free expression. Liberals have a presumption that favors individual liberty. This, it’s argued, is the sole method through which the autonomy of any person would be respected.  Prohibiting speech for some reason besides the discussed implies that one has to content with the fact that it is permissible to put some limit particular as a result of the nasty content (Loury G C, p 21). According to Feinberg, it is morally legitimate for any government, through law, to prohibit certain action.

Fervently, actions would be deemed evil if they appear or pose some danger to the traditional mode of life (Ripstein A., p 31). Take pornography for example, the materials are termed wrong because of the moral harm they pose to the customer. For liberals, it is not the responsibility f the state to mold the moral character of its citizens and therefore by entering into such matters means overstepping.

In conclusion, freedom of speech is most welcome. However, the speech should not infringe in other people rights. Subsequent, given that there is some likelihood of speech infringing into other people’s rights, the state should prohibit legitimately some types of speech that it so feels may deprive some of the citizens their rights.