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Freedom of speech

See also Censorship section

Article 10 - Human rights

Everyone has the right of freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without inference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

Not to finance your opponent

The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and NOT TO FINANCE ONES OWN ANTAGONISTS.

   --  Ayn Rand

John Mills on freedom of speech

Quote 851

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

   --  John Stuart Mill

Forbidden histories


But it is also recognised, except by the most fundamentalist of libertarians, that the exercise of free speech carries with it certain responsibilities. That old maxim about not crying “fire!” in a crowded cinema, when there is no fire is an obvious example of a responsible constraint.

Freedom of speech allows us to defend all other liberties.

"Freedom of expression includes conversational positions"
  -- Ron Paul

Right to Silence
Right to free speech
You cannot constrain or qualify freedom; if you do, it stops being freedom

"the solution for bad speech, hate speech, junk speech, garbage speech is more speech or ignoring, not censorship"
  -- Ron Paul

"We don't have freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the first amendment to say very controversial things."
- Ron Paul

Limitations to Free speech
Quote 856

No one pretends that actions should be as free as opinions. On the contrary, even opinions lose their immunity, when the circumstances in which they are expressed are such as to constitute their expression a positive instigation to some mischievous act.

   --  John Stuart Mill

Although differing preferences and opinions can give rise to conflicting actions we need not control preferences and opinions themselves to handle the problem of conflicting action.

   --  Randy Barnett

Limiting free speech is not justified by the case of shouting fire in a crowed room, that is a case against causing a stampede, not against the free speech.

George Orwell wrote that “freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear”. 
He wasn’t just talking about the right to speak but the right to be able to listen. 

Anti-Islam pamphlet deserves ridicule, not jail

A media report that Police are investigating an anti-Islam pamphlet reflects a disturbing trend towards criminalising offensive speech, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Hateful speech is of course distasteful, but what is even worse is the state using its extraordinary powers to criminalise offensive opinions.

“The idea that all Muslims are terrorists is patently absurd. If the antidote to speech is more speech, then these pamphlets are deserving of ridicule. We can’t send people to jail for having silly ideas, though, or the Police would have to clear half of Parliament.

“Every democracy has its share of kooks spouting nutty propaganda. Without realising it, they do us all a service by reminding us that free expression is in good health.

“A few weeks ago, in response to a One Law for All pamphlet, Justice Minister Andrew Little claimed the Government needed the power to shut down speech that was foolish.

“But a government agency that can make arbitrary judgements of what is and isn’t a reasonable opinion for people to express is counter to the Bill of Rights Act, which says: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.’

“Hate speech is deeply subjective. What is fair criticism and what is hate speech? It can only depend on opinion. Usually opinions are met by other opinions, but under hate speech laws they are met by the power of the state.

“Legal tests as subjective as causing offence, or making insulting statements, as contained in our current laws, should never be used.

“The right to freedom of expression needs to be strengthened, not weakened, in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack. We need to expunge the law books of restrictions on freedom of expression and make it clear that it is a critical value for New Zealand.”