Does the freedom of speech include bullies?

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  1. mike102771 profile image70
    mike102771posted 11 years ago

    Today we are seeing a movement toward tolerance or at least what we think as tolerance. Bulling has become a hot button issue in the public (as if it didn’t happen anytime before) with many different groups against it. But does the speech version of bullying have any constitutional protection? You could say that hate speak has not protection, yet that is not the case. In several court cases the right to speak and assemble was upheld for a group that was built on hate speech.

    Is freedom of speech the right to say what you think?

    1. profile image0
      JaxsonRaineposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I think that speech is no longer protected when it becomes harmful. There is no doubt that speech can cause actual harm, look at children who are verbally abused by their parents.

      Quantifying it though, is much more difficult than physical harm.

    2. Seth Winter profile image70
      Seth Winterposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I was bullied as a kid. I'm 6'5 right now...and I've always been tall. What's probably worse, I'm also good natured and a free thinker. Is bullying right? No. I can say that as a kid it didn't do me any good besides make me realize that if your being bullied you have to take care of it yourself.

      But bullying should still be protected by freedom of speech. It's your right to be an asshole.

  2. mike102771 profile image70
    mike102771posted 11 years ago

    Yes but verbal abuse of children by their parents is not illegal. Immoral yes, but not illegal.

    Who do we leave up to decide what is free speech and what is hate. Some would say anti-abortion protestors are hate speech. The courts allow people to protest using vial disturbing images and phrases. I knew a teacher who would announce grades in the class and later another teacher who thought that was hateful. Who decides?

    1. Josak profile image59
      Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Verbally abusing your child is a crime under "causing emotional hardship".

      1. mike102771 profile image70
        mike102771posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Wow, Really? That's a new one me. Who decides what’s abuse?

        1. profile image0
          JaxsonRaineposted 11 years agoin reply to this


          1. mike102771 profile image70
            mike102771posted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Could you provide a definition for the acronym CPS?

            1. profile image0
              JaxsonRaineposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Child Protective Services

              1. mike102771 profile image70
                mike102771posted 11 years agoin reply to this

                Is this a particular state, county or city? I know here in Ohio each county has its own CPS with some having better reputations than others.  Is it a federal law or state?

    2. profile image0
      JaxsonRaineposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Dunno. I really don't.

      1. mike102771 profile image70
        mike102771posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Nor do I.
        I know that in my lifetime I have heard verbal bullying being described as negative reinforcement and encouraged. Even today we see some say that calling a person fat (or other forms of fat) is not discouraged. I had a gym teacher that would say things that in another context would be considered vial, but because I was fat it was for my own good.

        1. profile image0
          Jane Holmesposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Verbal abuse can be just as painful as physical abuse. As a foster parent I have seen children destroyed because of the verbal abuse the endured. Its a hateful thing - it convinces them they are useless, helpless, wrong - what ever they are forced to accept as truth. I don't know how one deals with it as far as free speech is concerned, but I wouldn't want to have social worker catch someone being verbally abusive! It is a crime in my book.

          1. mike102771 profile image70
            mike102771posted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I know that most of my childhood I was bullied, by family (you know who you are), teachers, and fellow students so I can speak with some certainty that verbal abuse is worse than physical. You can heal from a broken arm or a black eye, but getting over the words used when these things are done stay with you forever (not that I ever had any major physical abuse growing up). If you are told you’re worthless long enough (by people you are suppose to look up to) you will start to believe it.
            It takes a strong person to want to be a foster parent. I would not want that kind of responsibility. So my hats off to you and anyone made of strong enough stuff to do such an important job for society.

            1. profile image0
              Jane Holmesposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Thanks Mike. I watched my own daughter being verbally used during a bad marriage.  I used to ask myself, "How can she deal with this for a lifetime." Thank goodness she finally left him, but it took a very long time before she was able to be confidence in herself again. Verbal abuse is a crime.

  3. Drhu profile image58
    Drhuposted 11 years ago

    Might not being called a racist because I disagree with a political position be harmful?
    Particularly when ti did not come form a racist position?
    You should be very careful what you do to the Bill or Rights.
    Those didn't come easy and should some or all of them go away they may not be salvageable.

  4. Bibowen profile image88
    Bibowenposted 10 years ago

    Much has been made of "hate speech" and "hate speech laws." The United States Supreme Court has tended to frown on hate speech ordinances (like R.A.V. v. St. Paul [1992]). But some nations do ban "hate speech," like France--their prosecution of fashion designer John Galliano in 2011 is case-in-point.

    As a general rule, any legal prohibitions on speech have to be on the mode of the speech, not the content. When we start regulating the content, we are probably stepping on First Amendment grounds. This is not a libertarian argument; even with the First Amendment, no one has an absolute right to say anything they want. Not everything is protected speech (like defamation, obscenity, and speech that constitutes an imminent danger).

    My observation that the people that tend to make this accusation the most are in the gay community. Their rhetoric is relentless in attacking those that don't agree with them as spreading "hate." This reminds me of hysterical teenage daughters that fly into a rage, claiming that their mother hates them because their mother won't let them go out alone with a guy whose nickname is "Slasher." Americans aren't spreading "hate" when they question the legalization of the practice of sodomy (something that has been historically deemed criminal) and gay marriage. More maturity and less histrionics is called for.

    Finally, my observation is that "hate speech" cannot be tantamount to "they said something against my group that I don't like." Those thumb suckers that throw a tantrum every time their group is criticized need to be ostracized and told to "grow up."

    1. jlpark profile image78
      jlparkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Being of the LGBT community, I must say that some people do take it a little far - so, you dislike gay people, suddenly "wahhhh Hate speech!".  Meh, so you don't like me -  I don't care really. I don't see it as hate speech.  I do think sometimes the LGBT community can be a little over-sensitive and whilst I do understand it, it doesn't help us become equal.
      (however, incorrect information does nothing for the anti-gay lobby either...but that's still not hate speech!).

      Hate speech laws are more against INCITING violence against a group of people. Eg: You (being anyone) don't like gay people, and use your freedom of speech to incite violence against them - that is, and always will be, hate speech. It'd be like me saying " I don't like green people, and they should all die, hit them with sticks, and we shall kill them" - I would be using hate speech against green people.

  5. jlpark profile image78
    jlparkposted 10 years ago

    Freedom of Speech does not mean Freedom from the Consequences of said speech.
    Sure, you have the RIGHT to say what you think, but what happens as a consquence of that speech is on you.

    So, say you are a high-standing individual - a celebrity, a lawyer, a politician, etc etc - you have sway over a lot of people, and many people following what you say, when you say it, and how you say it.
    If you were to exercise your freedom of speech, in a hateful way - which, as we have established is your right should you choose to use it that way - and incited violence against a group of people, through merely saying they should be harmed, outlawed, etc etc - then you have to deal with the consequences of the Freedom you have used. Be that being sued for inciting violence, etc etc - then so be it.

    Plenty of people have cried foul of this - "But I have freedom of speech".  That you do - you can say what you like. You DO NOT have freedom from consquence.

    Bullies, dictators, business people using their business to make a stand against something, and those for equality for everyone all have Freedom of Speech - and they ALL have to deal with the consequences of what they say, and the effect that that may have.

    So, we can't deny anyone their Freedom's.  But, they don't get away scott-free either.

  6. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 10 years ago

    A free society requires tolerating speech that is hateful.  I think pulpits throughout America that preach against homosexuality are engaging in hate speech, and I'm not apologetic about saying so.  I will only support full marriage equality and equal rights for homosexuals in every sphere.  However, I would not want to criminalize that sort of speech, any more than I would criminalize racist speech.

    Now, I think harassment is a different issue.  If a church were to rally around a gay person's house and hold up signs saying that homosexuality was immoral, I don't think it's infringing on free speech to prohibit that.  On the other hand, I would not prohibit that same group from claiming publicly from a pulpit or public interview that the person in question was vile because of their homosexuality.

    Speech must be free.

  7. SmartAndFun profile image93
    SmartAndFunposted 10 years ago

    There is a long list of exclusions from freedom of speech. One of them, which may apply to the bully scenario the OP mentioned, is referred to as "fighting words:"

    "Inflammatory words that are either injurious by themselves or might cause the hearer to immediately retaliate or breach the peace. Use of such words is not necessarily protected "free speech" under the First Amendment. If the hearer is prosecuted for assault, claiming fighting words may establish mitigating circumstances.

    Other exclusions include incitement to crime, true threats, obscenity, child pornography, commercial speech (for example, advertising), defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, public employee speech, student speech and military secrets  -- and there are more.

    I am not a lawyer and I do not pretend to completely understand free speech, but it does seem that this amendment is much more complex than simply "I can say whatever I want and there's nothing you can do about it."

  8. SpanStar profile image59
    SpanStarposted 10 years ago

    It has been said that "Nothing In Life Is Free." I have always stated that freedom of speech does not mean free to do what ever you choose or in this case "what ever you say."

    * One is not free to instigate or sparked a riot.

    * One is not free to call and harass people.

    * One is not free to call and threatened government officials lives.

    A schoolteacher was fired from her job after her employer's read what she had written about her students on her website.

    A few years back I watched the movie where a psychologist counselor presented her position regarding life over the radio. A distraught woman miss interpreted what the psychologist was saying giving her justification for killing those people whom she had felt wronged her.

    For years I have been trying to understand what is so difficult about acting responsible especially when we're in public?


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