Freedom of Speech Means Freedom to Say Anything

Freedom of speech, means the freedom to say anything irregardless of it being stupid or mean. Now granted you do have to have reasonable limits of freedom of speech in order for society to operate, the standard screaming fire in a crowded building clause. But freedom of speech means just that, you can’t operate in society without people sometimes saying things that are just plain stupid, mean or wrong. It’s the nature of being human that some people are just plain stupid or mean. This gets multiplied via the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory in an online environment.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t create an environment whereby experts can debate topics. What it means is that those debates are not going to be decided by pundits or other experts or the intellectuals of the world, but average citizens who will discuss a range of issues without any formal training in the area or any real understanding of the issues.

Just this week I had two people ask if atheism (No religious preference is acutally the fastest growing answer to what religion you are and one if four people aged 188 to 22 consider themselves atheist) meant that the person worshiped the devil. Ummm, no. These were both college students and fairly intelligent. They just didn’t know. That’s a problem, but does that mean those students shouldn’t be allowed to comment on religion in America. I would argue it may make their opinion not as valuable but it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a voice.

One of the students in particular once understanding what atheism was able to express reasons beyond a standard “The Bible says so” or “Because I feel God” response to why atheism wouldn’t fit for her.

So no Robert Scoble I don’t think the comment trolls should be deleted. Are they stupid, absolutely, are they wrong, almost certainly yes, should their voice be deleted, never.

That isn’t to say that he can do whatever he wants to on his blog and delete who he wishes. That also isn’t to say that I don’t desire meaningful and intelligent conversation. There is however a problem when to have a meaningful conversation you have to lock everyone out who you perceive has nothing to add to the conversation.

I don’t want that and I won’t do that.

Justin Yost is a full-time Software Engineer and a part time educator. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in computer science, Justin relishes programming and learning more about anything and everything. When not working, Justin occasionally gives talks at the local PHP Meetup. In his free time, Justin enjoys backpacking and reading science fiction books.

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