Class 2 – January 13 th
Freedom of expression
- Can be seen as many different ways, it can be seen as human rights to the way we express
ourselves through the way we dress and the way we talk. Freedom of expression in all sorts of
ways can be limited through laws. Even in liberal democratic societies there are all sorts of ways
to limit freedom of expression in our society.
- “give me the liberty to know, to utter, and argue freely according to conscience, above all
liberties” – John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644
Affirmative functions of freedom of expression
- Individual self-fulfillment, as an individual there is a sense of right to fulfill our sense of self – to
express who we are through freedom of expression in all sorts
- Enlightenment (search for truth) as individuals we search for a sense of justice and truth for
- Self-governance (participation in political decision making)
- Safety valve (promoting stability)
- When rights and freedom of expression are pushed “underground” and ignored, it can cause an
uprising from people who are fighting for their individual rights. These ideas of freedom of
expression are never forgotten, they are always mentioned and remembered to realize that the
truth is to come out and that freedom of expression will be shown.
- The sense of an uprising comes from the works of secret rights acts for freedom of expression to
be displayed. Fighting for their ideas. Such views were seen as counter - productive because not
always useful and it does not always make a difference. For a rational choice and a rational
judgement of situations there must be an exposure of all viewpoints to fully understand
- For a democracy there must be an allowance of different viewpoints to be shared for there to be
a freedom of expression from all sorts of different sides.
Dynamics of limitations
- Criminal law
- Civil law – limits things such as defamation, cannot make comments about certain individuals
that would bring their reputation down in society – most likely to be sued.
- Regulatory law – limits such as hate propaganda
- Political correctness – stems from speech that some people consider offensive, self-censorship;
political correctness has gone far beyond protecting any views of discrimination, used by groups
and individuals to censor speech that they find offensive or embarrassing. Political correctness
at times finds its way into the law even without the benefit of the law. Sometimes political
correctness goes a little far – fetched by suppressing views of expression that they think will be
offensive to other minorities such as Christmas trees or carols in public schools because of other
religious views – however, it is not proven that it even offends other religions. What needs to be
kept in mind is that as time changes what was seen as offensive fifty years ago is not necessarily offensive in current years. As the years go by, individuals in society develop and adapt to
different changes and things become less and less offensive because of a different viewpoint.
For example such as magazines during the fifties were seen as improper magazines and were
- “Political correctness is the natural continuum (of) the party line. What we are seeing again is a