Tag Archives: Freedom of Speech

Happy Memorial Day and a Word on Freedom

Hello all! Today is Memorial Day in the States, a holiday which I think has roots timing-wise, at least, with V-E Day (Victory in Europe). It is a day to remember veterans and the people who fight for our freedom.

The other day, I wrote a pretty well-read and well-received post about one of the major results of our freedom: universal education. One of the things that came of this conversation was the fact that in the Western world, or maybe more generally wherever education is universal, we seem to be forgetting the purpose and value of education – the question of why it matters and why we considered it important enough to make it universal.

With soldiers and the military, with continuing sacrifices and continuing hardship and situations around the world, I think that we actually do an okay job of reminding ourselves of the fight for freedom, of the cost of it, of its value. However, the value of the things we have and do because of freedom – we are losing our communal memory of these things.

So what I wanted to say today is, remember the importance of the things that freedom affords us. Remember education, and try to think about what your life would be like without education. Without the right to vote. You do vote, right? And in primaries, because those matter! 

Or maybe the other example: here I am, blogging with my free speech, saying whatever I want as I am free to do so (especially given it’s true and mine). Granted, the furthest I take this is to get angry at people who don’t like science fiction and fantasy… Well, and to express my free right to discuss religion in challenging ways in my Science Fiction and Religion posts.

So there’s me thinking about some of the ways I use my freedom. Here’s the space for you to think about it as well – and hope you’re having a great day too!

Freedom of Speech Online

This story is old news in some ways, but I only heard about it a couple of days ago. There are a couple of young men age 18/19 years old who in interactions in online games and Facebook, after being antagonized by other people, made unfortunate comments about shooting up a school. In reading various articles about this topic it definitely seems to me that neither of these young men meant the comments seriously, but now both of them are facing a potential of 10 years in jail and having a felony conviction on their records. You can find more information about these specific stories on the Huffington Post, The Daily Caller, and Opposing Views.

The thing that these two stories really bring to light is the idea of freedom of speech online. We are constantly told that we need to stand up for our right to freedom of speech. That we should be able to say almost anything we want as long as it is not causing true harm. The reason that shouting fire in a crowded theatre – when there is not a fire – is illegal is because the corresponding stampede could cause actual harm to people unnecessarily. At the same time if people are making threats and we just ignore them then what does that mean when things actually happen? It is such a complicated balance, but I definitely do not feel that the end – making schools safe – justifies the means – jailing a couple of just-turned adults. Continue reading