Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Do You Have Freedom of Speech? - Thinkjoust Tuesday #37

This past week, we experienced the most polarizing thinkjoust in Change and Cherish history. You can click here to read the original post, and then click here to read the follow-up post.

My typin' fingers perked up when some people commented that they didn't want to get involved in the discussion. They were concerned their comments would invoke the hatred and ire of the opposing side, whichever side that happened to be.

My friend and commentator Justin Weaver actually posted two comments about the issue. The first was found on the original social media post.

His comment on the blog post itself began with the statement, "I'm not even going to touch this one. I'd rather not be torn apart by progressives and sympathizers."

These two comments got me thinking.

Most of Change and Cherish Blog's audience members come from countries where freedom of speech is a given. However, even beyond the comments about my posts, I have watched people balk at expressing certain opinions because they are hesitant to face any resulting criticism.

Obviously, the ability to express opinion is free speech. The ability to critique others' opinion is free speech. The ability to critique critiques is free speech.

So why do people hesitate to exercise that freedom?

This picture inspired by Phoenix Wright.
Today's blog post invites you to comment whether you feel you are free to express your true opinion, anytime, anywhere. If you don't feel free, tell me why. I want to know.


  1. Freedom of speech is alive and well in the United States of America. However, like with other actions, our choices can have consequences. I recognize that anything I say can negatively impact the public's perception of my employer, for example. I don't feel oppressed by that reality. Instead, it just seems like a natural consequence. I'm grateful that in our country, we are free to express opinions and, as you say, to express our opinions about other people's opinions too. Unfortunately, shrill voices can dominate the discussion. They also can intimidate others and reduce their willingness to exercise their free speech. This saddens me deeply. I wish more people would think and act like statespeople, treating all with respect, rather than vilifying those with differing opinions.

  2. Zach, I love your blog! I love that it challenges how I think and encourages discussion (and frequently debate). Regarding freedom of speech, I think that though I always have the opportunity to voice my opinion, most of the time I don't feel the need to. Not because I feel threatened, or feel that I don't have the freedom to say what I think, but because there is SO MUCH demand from everyone to be heard (from the initial opinion, from the critic, from the critic's critic), that more often than not, I feel that I would serve a better purpose listening than speaking. I would hope that I would learn and understand more as I listen to those around me, so that when the times come that I do speak, I have a well-thought out opinion that reflects respect and understanding for both sides of a topic.