No State Regulation Or Social Sanction Should Be Imposed On The Free Exercise Of Speech

1596 Words Oct 31st, 2016 7 Pages
1. Thesis: In this paper, I will argue that because each person is entitled, by the social contract, to exercise the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with that of others, no state regulation or social sanction should be imposed on the free exercise of speech (as one such basic liberty), even though the speech may be hateful, deceptive, unethical, or otherwise harmful, provided that it does not directly violate other(s)’ basic liberties.
2. Introduction
a. Articulating the notion of freedom of speech
i. In this paper, I will define “speech” very broadly to include not only speaking and writing, but also dancing, acting, burning flags, etc.
b. Articulating the notion of censorship
i. Imposed by: government (legal or executive regulation), society (social sanction), corporation, oneself (self-censorship) ii. Types: prior restraint vs. subsequent punishment
1. However, I think prior restraints (unless imposed by oneself) are strictly speaking, not possible. In fact, there’s little we can do to prevent people from saying something, unless we can somehow steal their vocabulary (possible?), cut off their tongues (really?), or kill them (horrible…). What we can do is really to make some kinds of speech more costly to exercise, through subsequent punishment.
2. Therefore, in this paper, when I talk about constraints or limitations on freedom of speech, I mean the costliness to exercise the speech.
3. Justification based on contractarian foundations
a. The two…

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