Are we truly free to express ourselves as we wish?
Can we express our singularity and dress as we feel on the street?
Can we express our hatred toward that annoying colleague at work in the name of freedom of expression?
Can we mock and make fun of our neighbors’ beliefs and values because freedom of expression gives us that right?
Yes, to freedom of expression but hold on. Freedom of expression has its limits. We are taught to believe that we are free when in fact we are not. We are not free to express ourselves as we wish. We only do so within boundaries. Just like a bird who believes it can fly when it’s actually in a cage.
We need to keep in mind the thinkers and comedians who, in the very countries that promote freedom of expression, have been arrested and thrown in jails because of their ideas as they expressed them?
What are the limits of this freedom then? There is a saying that goes: Freedom ends where that of others begins. Honoring the diversity of opinions and thoughts is the key element of a society’s success.
As a business owner and university instructor, I cannot freely express myself with my colleagues and students. I censor myself for the good of all. As a mother, I do not let my kids say whatever and anything about their teachers and classmates particularly when this touches the respect, honor, and dignity of the other.
Helping the youth develop their critical thinking is another story. It is indeed important to encourage the younger generations to be curious and think critically. But this cannot be done randomly. An invitation to freedom of expression can only be done with respect for others. I cannot show the ridicule of veganism (not that it’s ridicule) while provoking the entire community of vegans and making fun of their beliefs and convictions. There is always a psychopath somewhere ready to start a war and die thinking s/he was right. This is even more true when the number of vegans reaches billions on the planet.
Our role as parents and teachers is to raise young people respecting other people’s beliefs and able to be critical without hurting the sensible feelings of their fellow citizens.
Freedom of expression has a price. How much are we willing to pay?
#unitenotdivide #freedomofspeech #libertedexpression