Freedom of Speech

We must insist that free olfactory is only the beginning of free speech; it is not the end, but means to an end. The end is to find the truth. The practical justification of civil liberty is not that the examination of opinion is one of the necessities for us; for experience tells us that it was only when freedom of opinion became the compulsion to debate, the seed which our forefathers planted had produced its fruit. When this is understood, freedom in real sense will be cherished not because it is a vent for our opinion but because it is the surest method of correcting it.

“The unexamined life”, said Socrates, “is unfit to be lived by man”. This is the virtue of liberty, and the ground on which we may best justify our belief in it that it tolerates error in order to serve the truth. When more men are brought face to face with their opinions, forced to listen, learn and mend their ideas, we cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilized men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions.

The only reason for dwelling on all this is that if we are to preserve democracy, we must understand its principles. The principle which distinguishes it from all forms of government is that in a democratic system, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional but must be maintained because it is in fact indispensable.

In our society, in contrary to the necessity of democracy, opinion of people, specifically termed as the “unprivileged” are turned down or ruled over. Suppression and negligence prevails in the world, where even in the institution such as that of parliament, the members listen to others opinion just to impose theirs, never considering or understanding what the other has to say. This does not define democracy.

Our democratic system cannot be operated without effective opposition. For, in making the great experiment of governing our people by consent rather coercion, it is not sufficient that the party in power should have a majority. It is just as necessary that the party in power should never outrage the minority. That means that it must listen to the minority and be moved by the criticism of the minority.

Thus it is evident that the right to opinion expression is necessary for making a properly structured government and to govern our people without being labeled as hooligans. People of any nation must have the liberty to express their ideas and have importance to their voice to make suitable amendments in a system independent of their status, which it requires, for it is on which a true democratic system basis on.


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