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Free speech - words are an act of creation so speak truth

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Speech is power

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” John Milton, Areopagitica

This has been challenged recently in the case of a former Finnish Government minister who expressed a view reflecting Biblical ethics.

'Hate speech' directives are used to shut down the number of things people can talk about. No one seems to know what hate speech actually is.  If it's anything that causes offence or anxiety - well that could logically apply to anything depending on the listener and it's impossible for the speaker to know. We could claim that being told we're doing 'hate speech'  is offensive to us!  However, of course, it's not about anything - it's just about a limited set of subjects that the speaker does not want to be questioned, and it's certainly not about the things you find precious.

For many years it has been an offence to incite violence or to encourage violence but there's a clear distinction between that and something which is an emotion which cannot be objectively assessed. For hate to be shown it should be demonstrated by a criminal act.

'Some orthodox Christian views are now considered offensive, or even 'hate speech', which is why people expressing them, whether in person or on social media, sometimes find themselves in trouble. This censorious attitude now extends to the Church of England.

A CofE curate recently replied to a tweet from a green lobby group that was urging people not to have children because ... it's bad for the environment. The curate urged everyone to have as many children as possible and quoted the familiar Biblical passage ...' (Genesis 1:28)

A group of predominantly female CofE vicars then attacked him en masse, with one primary school teacher even suggesting he should be killed for uttering such heresy. He was then the subject of multiple complaints. It seems that expressing orthodox Christian beliefs is now unacceptable in the Church of England.’ from Toby Young

'I think it’s worth stating that “free speech” means allowing everything from far left to far right'.

'I trust the avg American to decide what is/isn’t true more than I trust would-be censors who NEVER have the public good in mind. Censorship is always about power.’ Larry Taunton

free speech chomsky

An example crystallised by Covid: “Dismiss anything else…. We will continue to be your single source of truth…. unless you hear it from us it is not the truth.” (New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern). This was in the context of the early days of Covid but given that not everything was known it would be better to say 'we will tell you what we know and please get in touch if you have other information'. She is effectively saying there is no Free Speech on this. She and her country suffered the effect of this hubris. NZ took a lot longer to get back to normal, has struggled with Covid and suffered economically. Her popularity has waned.


Compelled speech

The related but opposite pressure is to say things that are not true. We get this with 'misgendering' - refusing to use a pronoun linked to the sex/gender they were born with.

It also relates to people refusing to do things they do not agree with. We had the cases of bakers (in US and NI) refusing to make cakes with messages they cannot endorse. There is also a US case of a photographer refusing to include same-sex ceremonies in her promotional material:  'ICYMI: Christian wins in compelled speech case'

All these situations were deliberately vexatious, and need to be recognised as activism rather than reflecting a real loss to the instigator - where many other people could provide the service.


Some police forces have adopted progressivism helped by Stonewall while their ability to prosecute crime has dropped.

See Deeper:CRT for notes.

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