Freedom of speech is a difficult subject because it’s dependent a lot on how many rights you believe the government has. You can also say it’s reflective on your faith in other people doing the right thing and that it shouldn’t be moderated, and for some people, that expectation is just really low. For me, freedom of speech means that the government will never tell me I cannot say something I believe in, unless, and only unless, it puts a number of people at risk. And I don’t mean like cyberbulling or harassment. I mean like releasing military plans or divulging national secrets or stealing identities. Things that either affect people’s lives, as in keeping them alive, or their economic well-being to promote them being alive.
Anything beyond that and things start to get really complicated. I’m going to sound like an awful person for saying that the government shouldn’t really intervene in cases of cyberbullying, at least not on the national level, but there is a broader reason for that. There is some, though definitely not all, hateful or derogatory text that needs to exist out there, not because it’s right, but because it is still the equal expression of someone’s beliefs. Furthermore, without the presence of discontent, there would be nothing to counter-argue someone’s own argument. There is some merit to the idea that without “hate” there would be no growth in an individual, and that being a well-informed and educated adult means that you need to be able to handle those situations maturely and with well-thought-out responses. So while there are awful people out there who say awful things, they are within their rights to do so and the government shouldn’t say they can’t.
That kind of censorship should be from–oh, I sound even worse now–peer pressure. But I think there is such thing as good peer pressure. If you have a friend group who expects you to be a decent person, hey, you might turn out to be a decent person. So the censorship that ought to occur shouldn’t originate from the government but from the people who make up its population and expect a society that is above slurs, hate, and illegal activity. Because if we want change in a society, then we need to encourage its movement forward. So if we want people to be safe from hate speech, crime, and intolerance, then it’s our job to refuse to allow those people to have either an educated-sounding voice, because hate isn’t really educated, or a voice at all. What drama we do or do not tolerate is solely dependent on ourselves to moderate.