Is the right to laugh and joke a basic human right?
I love laughing at jokes, and I've always had a good sense of humor. Other people I know are more serious-minded, and some of them get easily offended. Do I have the universal right to make any joke I want? Does it depend on the kind of joke? What if I'm making fun of something? Does it depend on who might hear the joke? Should I be required to educate myself ("sensitivity training") before making a joke that might offend someone? Is joking considered protected speech legally in the US? In other countries? On the internet?
This is actually a tough question! Basic human rights would only include the right to breath, eat, sleep, eliminate waste and really just bodily functions.
But mankind has evolved past the vegetable state, allegedly.
So, lots of other things are now considered to be basic human rights. The right to laugh and joke? I doubt that it is defined as a 'basic' human right. But it is certainly covered under the First Amendment right to free speech.
I just found a really cool quote:
"A radical Islamist wants to kill infidels. A moderated Islamist wants a radical Islamist to kill infidels."
Or something to that effect.
As this kind of joke can be perceived as inciting harm to others, it's probably not a free speech protected example of a joke. But heck, I think it's scary funny. And as far as I know, I am allowed to think what I want. Or until the mysterious "they" figure out how to control my brain. Then I will have to think whatever it is that they want me to think.
Everyone is entitled to have their own sense of humor.
Nevertheless society has and will always deem certain behavior and statements to be inappropriate under varying circumstances.
A 10 year old boy may find it hilarious to fart and belch out loud in front of others. However a "mature person" is expected to know when something might be offensive to others. In fact the essence of maturity is learning to think beyond oneself and consider the ramifications of their words and deeds (before) acting.
Lastly what keeps most people "in check" is their desire to benefit from having others admire and respect them especially when finances are involved. (One looks out for their own best interest.)
“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the (consequences) of our actions” – Stephen R. Covey
To Austinstar: if they curtail your right to make that joke, then they have also curtailed my right to laugh at it.
"Think! It ain't illegal yet!" -- George Clinton
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