Opinions are a Commodity
My opinions are mine. They are the cumulative destination of all the events I, as a human being, have experienced, how much I perceive and interpret during the events, and how I interpret them as to whether I believe them to be true or not true regarding my idea of what life and the world is.
Opinions are statements of some aspect of reality. We produce our own thoughts of reality and, if articulate enough, we elucidate them. Most of the time, all we have to clarify our thoughts are symbols used in communication whether they are any combination of body signals, degrees of anxiousness or excitement, volumes of our voices and words from the languages we know.
Some do not want my Opinions Heard
I believe my opinion eventually will not exist. I believe that within society there are factions that are either directly or indirectly exerting efforts and resources to ensure that my opinion does not exist at least in the ether. I am not sure if the intent, again direct or indirect, is to eradicate my opinions from the root, that is, from the actual inception in my mind or thought process.
Controlling the words used is a way of changing perceptions. Restricting words and the structure of words from specific meanings prevents certain perceptions from being initiated. For instance, today we say fake news but 50 years ago, we used the term propaganda. Perhaps it’s difficult to know how the perception is changed with this substitution of these words, but it should be obvious that the perceptions changed when you changed words to describe the same events.
Get one Restriction in there and then Jimmy the Rest
Laws have been initiated to prevent certain words to appear or be heard, particularly in certain situations. For instance, do not say fire loudly in a theater in the US. Saying fire as 8 soldiers aim rifles at a political dissident in a foreign country as he or she is killed is fine. Do not mention bombs, terrorism or any other trigger words at airports. Do not arrange words in a manner to describe an idea that has been considered hate. For instance, I hate <enter any identity here> and <enter any identity here> should not exist. Of course, the <enter any identity here> words would have to be a protected reserved list of special identities. Again, one could easily place the word cancer into the container <enter any identity here> and all would be fine, but use the word women and you have a problem.
I want to Control You
In the shared reality, we call life, we often come across some people who we have had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with, whether at a social event, party or public space and our conversation is awkward. For the most part, we shut down this exchange of ideas and information one way or the other and carry on with our day. I feel we prefer to be around like-minded people.
Stop the Message
Rarely, we shut the person down from communicating, get them thrown in jail or make them lose their jobs. Unfortunately, it is less rare today than before. I do not believe ideas or speech are more dangerous today than in the past nor are they exponentially increasing at some elevated rate in comparison with the increase of human population or advanced technologies.
It is important that we are free to think and express ideas. We might not agree with an idea but after mature debate and sharing of information, one might, if not narrow minded, change one’s position of a topic if the data refuted one’s stance. This process promotes critical and creative thinking. Upon listening to an idea, you vehemently disagree with and the arguments for and against, you might be struck with a brilliant idea, although vaguely tethered to the original topic, still brilliant. The person who holds the objected idea upon speaking with you and listening to you might switch their position. Still, perhaps a balkanization of ideas manifest.
When anyone tries to stop an idea, no matter how good or bad they think that idea is, from being communicated, they are to be feared. They might not look scary, and they might not even have any idea themselves that what they are doing is extremely dangerous. Mostly, they are stupid. However, this exact stupidity is what others that are promoting extremely dangerous, meticulously planned ideologies thrive on.
Anyone that believes that you should have free speech, without any buts, are feared by these people. Powerful people understand media saturation and communication. Unless they can begin with some form of conditioned restrictions, they will not be able to take rights away for the populace and change perceptions slowly over many years.
Being Normal or Not
One can easily understand that when you do not like a movie, you turn it off or watch something different. When you read a book that you do not like, you stop reading it. When you speak with a person at a conference or party you do not find interesting, you usually go talk to someone else. You are even free to warn others based on your reputation to not read the book, watch the movie or speak with that person. If you find it important to you as a person, you might even contact someone that you do not agree with to let them know you do not. Hopefully and expectantly, a mature, adult conversation with an academic slant should prevail. Perhaps you will change your attitude and or opinions or you change someone else’s. This is normal behavior.
When you try with extraordinary intent, resources, money and time to stop, jail or get fired, a person you do not agree with, that is dangerous. Bringing the topic to the forefront of society should stimulate dialogue and identify general acceptance levels of society on a topic. Hatchet attacks, shaming and bullying tactics, as so frequently seen daily today, are characteristics of dangerous behavior supporting dangerous ideas of a higher level.
No Ifs or Buts
Only if you stand up for the right to speech of ideas that you are vehemently opposed too, then and only then, are you standing up for free speech. Anything short of this, no matter how insignificant in ideas or in amounts, is the opposite of free speech.