Liberty and Democracy vs. Words

How can free expression be reconciled with the potential for harm that words can entail?

Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but… ” Contrary to that popular children’s saying, words can do harm. They can destroy a person. They can be used to destroy liberty and democracy.

Yet, both liberty and democracy call for freedom of speech. The former demands it and the latter depends on it.

Resolving those tensions might be the most important task we face to preserve Liberal society. I hereby invite my fellow Mediumians to engage is a discussion of that vitally important topic.

For my part, I cannot refrain from saying that this is yet another example of a culture — a world — crying our for recognition of mutual respect as the ethic of justice. Mutual respect does not contradict the strictures of any religion. Mutual respect does not limit the liberty that co-existing people can enjoy in the form of external constraints. At the same time, though, it does entail people curbing their own impulses based on their potential affect on others — just like all religions say we should do.



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Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice