Freedom of ... Thought, Consciousness, Religion, Expression, Speech

Freedom of ... Thought, Consciousness, Religion, Expression, Speech

The debate over Freedom of Expression, set off by the recent Charlie Hebdo attack, is far from over. As we've come to expect, network television coverage of the issue of freedom of speech is both juvenile and distorted; It's basically reduced to, "we have freedoms, they don't", and, "they hate us for our freedoms". It's a little better on the Internet, but difficult to get past the noise.

Here is my rough rundown on the issue: If you don't have the right information, you won't have a proper understanding of a subject. If you don't have a proper understanding, you can't form an informed opinion. If you can't form an accurate opinion, your freedom of expression is essentially irrelevant - although you can feel good about yourself. And, if somehow you manage to form an informed opinion, and it turns out that your informed opinion is in contradiction with the dominant social narrative, you'll quickly find out that "freedom of expression" only exists if you stay within the bounds of "acceptable" thought. You'll most likely be coerced and marginalized into effective silence - if not worse. We have to ask, is there freedom of thought in any society?

Is it possible for any given nation to respect freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of expression and still be authoritarian? Not only is that possible, many "democratic" nations of the world today can be classified that way; Managed Democracies hold "free and fair" elections, advocate freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other individual freedoms, while at the same time, become increasingly authoritarian. So, how do they do it? By controlling the flow of critical information and by setting the boundaries of "acceptable" thought, through coercion and political correctness. You are "free" so long as your thoughts and opinions are within "acceptable boundaries". And, if you do step outside their set boundaries, they are "free" to marginalize you, effectively turning you into a nonperson. If your thoughts and speech do not reflect reality, and don't really matter to begin with, then who cares if you feel "free" to express yourself.

If you've read this far, George Orwell's essay, The Prevention of Literature might interest you.

Recently, I've posted a number of articles related to "Freedom of Speech". If interested:
Freedom of Speech?
Freedom of Expression: The Right To Offend?
Freedom of ... Thought, Consciousness, Religion, Expression, Speech
The Right To Be Stupid?
Freedom Of The Press: Coercion vs Threat vs Self-Interest
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