The truly ironic thing is that the most essential element of a tolerant society has been with us for the past two centuries, as it is also the central element of democracy, but we are slowly but surely killing it. That element is in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is called Freedom of Speech. We need to be allowed to say what we want, as long as our words don't cause tangible harm to people's bodies or property, or society will stagnate and we will be prisoners in our own skulls, only permitted to say things that the authorities approve of. Without Freedom of Speech, we would never solve problems that require abandonment of current ways of thinking. Without Freedom of Speech, the government could be as despotic as it wishes, killing off any protestors without impunity. Where the concept of Freedom of Speech is absent, people believe they are entitled to kill others who say things they find offensive. Without Freedom of Speech, we would literally be living in the Dark Ages.
We Americans love to call our Constitution the greatest political blueprint ever created. It was formulated by wise, educated, brave men who studied philosophy and spent a great deal of time hashing out the principles for a system of government that maximizes human freedom and well-being. But the ultimate freedom, Freedom of Speech, is now dead.
Do you think I am exaggerating? Perhaps. But only a drop. Who teaches Freedom of Speech anymore? It is ignored from grade school through university. And if it is taught, is it ever given more than brief lip service? Is more than one paragraph ever allocated to it? Are its meaning, purpose and practice discussed? Even many journalists today, who owe their professions to Freedom of Speech, do not believe in it because they don't study and understand it.
Freedom of Speech is the key to peace among people. It is a wonderful principle not only for running a country. It is also a wonderful principle for interpersonal harmony. And though it is a wonderful psychological and moral principle, it is never taught in courses in psychology or morality.
Not only is no one teaching Freedom of Speech anymore, that precious freedom is being slowly but surely killed. It is being murdered by the growing social movement that has successfully brainwashed virtually everyone into believing that the solution to human emotional misery is to create, by force of law, a society in which no one says anything anyone else finds offensive, in which there is no stigma, and in which there are no imbalances of power.
The number one tool of science is logical thinking. 2,400 years ago, Aristotle said, "One thing no government can do, no matter how good it is, is to make its citizens morally virtous." Simple logic will lead anyone with a basic understanding of human nature to realize that a society in which everyone is always nice to each other is impossible. It has never existed-and will never exist-because it can't exist. Only in Heaven, if such a place exists, is such a society possible. And logic will lead thinking people to conclude, as Aristotle and our Founding Fathers did, that the attempt to create such a society by force of law can only cause more harm than good. But the social sciences, in their zeal to protect the feelings of people, have thrown logic out the window and are unwittingly creating a less tolerant society. We are in effect teaching: It is very important to be completely tolerant of everyone. And if anyone shows you any kind of intolerance, we will have no tolerance for them!
Freedom of Speech requires me to respect your right to say what I don't like to hear--even to publicly insult and humiliate me--just as it requires you to respect my right to say what you don't like to hear. And just because we have ideas that are unacceptable to each other, it doesn't make us enemies. You may be giving me the best advice in the world but I don't realize it and find it offensive. Should you be prevented from, or punished for, saying it? We are supposed to love each other despite our opposing ideas. When I recognize your right to say things I don't like, I don't get angry at you for saying them. You, in return, respect me for acting respectable. Furthermore, since I don't get angry at you, you cannot have the pleasure of getting me angry, so you don't seek to torment me with words. All wise people throughout the world understand this. It is the most basic ingredient of peace.Unfortunately, because Freedom of Speech is no longer taught, and our citizens have been indoctrinated with the very opposite, many people today cannot tolerate criticism, insults, or views opposite to their own.
I hope the next time someone has a different opinion than you or different thoughts you will consider this. Just because someone has an opinion or thought that isnt the same as yours doesnt make them a troll or someone who has an axe to grind. I know it's hard to comprehend in this world but freedom of speech, although dying, is still alive.