Freedom To Speak, Freedom To Listenbygreeneyelove©
"Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen."
- Warren E. Burger, Former Chief Justice 1969-1989
The above statement was once made by Warren E Burger, Former Chief Justice of The United States and in my personal opinion, no truer words have ever been spoken in regards to the often rather controversial subject of free speech.
Personally, I am grateful beyond words to live in a country where I am free to express my thoughts, my feelings...it is an honor to have the right to stand up for my beliefs and to an even greater extent, to me, it is an honor to be able to choose to listen to others when they exercise their freedom.
In the statement made my Justice Burger, I think we can solve the raging arguments centered around freedom of speech by simply taking to heart the last part of his statement, in the reality that you and I have the choice to listen or not listen when someone freely speaks their mind. We can listen, we can take in, what they say and consider their thoughts and opinions and perhaps, in the grand scheme, learn something new or came to see a subject from a different view point or perspective.
However, if you don't want to listen, you don't have to...that is the freedom...you can choose to ignore what others think, hold to you own beliefs, and stand firm in what matters to you, without allowing an alternate possibility to be introduced into your world. That is your right. You don't have to listen to what anyone else believes and if you do listen, you don't have to agree or change your mind, but my point is this; everyone has the right to speak freely and listen freely and no one is forcing anyone to do either, but under no circumstances whatsoever should a person have their right to express their feelings or thoughts denied by an individual or a political or religious affiliation.
Freedom of speech does come with responsibility attached to it, as I read in another essay, you can not stand up in a movie theater and scream fire, create mass panic, and then claim it was freedom of speech, because that just does not wash.
You can not spread malicious lies about a person and the turn around and say it is your right to do so because you live in a country where you are free to say whatever you choose. (Okay, I will admit that this is something that does sadly occur daily, in trash supermarket tabloids, but that is a different subject best left for another time.)
However, back to the topic at hand, here it is; if you don't like what someone is saying, and you do not care to hear what it is they have to say, that is totally your right and you should take advantage of it and not listen to anything that angers or offends you.
Of course, the second side of the same coin is this; if you don't like what someone is saying, and you do not care to hear what it is they have to say, that is totally your right and you should take advantage of it, but NEVER should your try and censor what someone has to say. That is NOT your right. That is NEVER your right. You can chose to speak, you can chose to listen. You can choose not to speak, you can choose not to listen. But you can NOT NOT NOT limit or infringe on the rights that belong to another to do the same...you can NOT censor what someone says and you can NOT dictate what another choose to listen to.
In all reality, it is very simple. Just take this advise:
If you are watching television and a show comes on that offends you or promotes a lifestyle or an idea that you view as less than appropriate, pick up your remote control and change the channel to a program that suits your taste or beliefs. If you are in your car, and a song comes on the radio that contains lyrics that you deem somehow offensive or degrading turn the dial to a station that caters to the style of music you want to hear, or pop in a CD that you know you can enjoy without outrage.
If you are in a bookstore, and you come across a novel that contains a subject matter that you find unsavory or explicit, return the book to the shelf and move on to a section that offers material you want to read.
You do not have to watch, listen to, or read anything that offends you or upsets you, so take delight in the right that you have NOT TO LISTEN and at the same time, find peace in knowing that you have the right to not only not listen, but if you chose, you CAN EXPRESS YOURSELF VIA YOUR OWN RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
So there it is, in my humble opinion, speak if you want to speak, listen if you want to listen, but do not ever try and take away the right that I have to watch and listen to, and read what I want to watch, listen to, and read, because too many men and women have shed their life blood defending my rights to express myself and my right to listen or not listen to others express themselves.
The fact that I am posting this essay on this site tells you that I not only read erotic material, but I write it as well and because I have the right, I will continue to do so and should I encounter someone that finds erotica to be the shame of all shame, I will tell them what I have written here; I have the right to do as I choose, to read what I want to read and if they feel differently, so be it, but if they or anyone else tries to censor my rights or limit my freedom of speech, get ready for a fright, because I value that freedom with a passion that knows no bounds.