The Instigator
Passtheexam
Con (against)
The Contender
TheUnexaminedLife
Pro (for)

freedom of speech is non negotiable

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/6/2021 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 266 times Debate No: 127750
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
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TheUnexaminedLife

Pro

There is a bit of an internal contradiction to the premise that "freedom of speech is non negotiable". It presupposes that as you already need free speech to debate its 'negotiability' that free speech must be negotiable for the debate to proceed. And very abstractly I agree with this. It is true that without negotiating the boundaries and structure of discourse that it cannot take place. Questions have to be asked like: what can be discussed? When can these things be discussed and by who?

The fundamental problem is in WHO gets to negotiate the boundaries of free speech. In a totalitarian state freedom of speech may not be negotiable; the law of state clearly defines its limits. Contemporarily in the West there is the debate about limiting the boundaries of free speech regarding LGBTQ+ issues so that offensive and abusive language cannot be directed towards members who identify as part of it. This is taking place at the level of society and social interactions so it is negotiable. There is push and shove. Yet clearly the boundaries of free speech could socially shift so it is socially inappropriate to say certain things (like talking about toilet humour around the dinner table). It would be non-negotiable if this inappropriateness was codified into law; using one's speech in a certain way would become criminal as some kinds of speech already on (inciting violence and physical harm to others for instance). Increasingly it is also becoming non-negotiable in workplaces where you may be sanctioned or fired for a use of speech which doesn't align to company values and offends either your colleagues or clients/customers. This makes sense. Nobody wants to hire a Nazi. It's bad for business and makes the company look bad to have one of its employees speak in a certain way. Freedom of speech is also non-negotiable then when you have agreed not to say and act in certain ways as a condition of your employment for a company.
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Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by charlie0123 1 month ago
charlie0123
I understand your point of view but I believe that when we speak of freedom of expression we are treading on dangerous ground. As people we have different points of view and many times to defend ideals we have the tendency to trample on others without considering their arguments, Many times they will be wrong or not but it is very difficult to find where our "freedom of expression" begins and ends.
Posted by Surgeon 1 month ago
Surgeon
The leisure/work divide IS easily drawn. It is just that people refuse to honour the boundaries and companies are beaten into submission by a narrow minority of activists who inflame things to puff up their own egos and are supported in their endeavour by a symapthetic and biased media. It is overtly political and nothing to do with "fairness", I repeat the same standards are not applied to Marxists and Nazis or Antifa and the KKK. It is one-way traffic.

Finally I simply repeat the charge of relativism to your arguments. As with "hate" speech what is "offenisve" to one person is not to another. At the bottom there is no offensive nor hate speech, Only direct and imminent incitement to violence (rightly a crime) or free speech.
Posted by Hezikiah 1 month ago
Hezikiah
Tell that to Vladimir Putin
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 month ago
TheUnexaminedLife
The leisure/work divide is not so easily drawn. I'm thinking of examples like Gina Carano being fired for The Mandalorian for expressing their political views on social media. You could imagine similar scenerios where it is publicly revealed that an employee regularly attended KKK meetings in their spare time and this damaging the company. In these cases to the company sanctioning or firing the employee to minimize the harm to itself is justifiable.

Re "offensive" and "abusive" - I was more saying that limiting free speech around these buzzwords is how things are going. The only difference is that with abusive speech there is implied harm to others (which there is not to offensive speech). Subsequently there should be an evaluation whether the harm to others the speech causes is more important than the speech itself. Some compromises can be made. (For example trigger warnings are used to diminish the potential harm speech may cause. )
Posted by Surgeon 1 month ago
Surgeon
I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with Pro. Discussing the boundaries of freedom of speech does indeed presuppose freedom of speech.

As for limiting speech in workplaces, It is up-to workplaces as private enterprises to set their own rules. But a person should be free to be a Nazi in their spare time if they choose, Just as someone should be free to be a Maoist. The personal lifes cannot be cantilevered into the work life.

The modern trend with freedom of speech all tends to run one way. Replace the word "Nazi" with "Marxist-Leninist" in your sentence and you would probably think it objectionable that someone would not hired for espousing eccentric lefty views. To me they are all such political views are objectionable collectivist Utopian wet dreams, But people are entitled to hold those views and discuss them however obectionable I personally think they are. And as with your point re LGBT etc, "offensive" and "abusive" are relative terms and cannot be used to limit free speech. What is abusive to you is not to me ad so on ad finitum for every member of the human race.
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