Imagine a society where everyone can not only think and believe anything they want, but also express any opinion they want. Is this still a functioning free society within which men should live? If in deciding upon an important manner, do we gain anything from listening to each and any varied expression that a reasonable person might have? I think John Stuart Mills said it best when he wrote:
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race… still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error”
If 999 people believed in opinion A and only 1 person believed in opinion B, should we silence the second person or listen? What do we gain by listening to the expression of another? We gain two things. We gain the power to exchange error for truth and we gain the chance to arrive a place where we can say that we’ve listened to all opinions before we make a decision.
These things that we gain are of tremendous value to a man. A man should make strong decisions and fight for them with all his heart. Fighting is easier when we are certain that there are no opinions we haven’t considered. We fight harder when we have conviction. We have conviction when we have no doubt. The good man listens to all opinions so that he may act without doubt, which is strong. So what do we lose by silencing that one person’s expression? Why, we lose liberty of course. If this processes of silencing people is to become precedent, we risk silencing ourselves. A man must never silence a person unless they do harm. If he does so, we lose two things of tremendous value and gain error and doubt. This is the worst of scenarios.
An interesting point to consider here is that speech is directly linked to thought. If you control how a person speaks (including preventing them from speaking) then you can control how they think. If you don’t have a word for a concept, can you still think the concept?
I would like to pose a running question to the reader. Why aren’t feminists happy? I’ll assume you agree that they are not. They do appear to have the same legal freedoms as men. Perhaps they don’t enjoy the same social freedoms. Is it possible that society is not listing, or is silencing women on a matter that they insist on being heard on. I doubt it. Women’s voices are strong and ever present in society these days. Websites, MSM and Social Media have a strong female presence. If women have something to say, the rest of the free world has little choice but to hear it.
In summary, a man must allow all opinions to be spoken and all opinions to be heard. But what if the opinion does harm to society and can mere opinion ever be harmful? To be continued…
End of Part III