The foundation of all freedom
Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of a democratic society. It is the most important of all freedoms. It is the foundational freedom upon which every other right we enjoy - from the right to vote to the right to protest - is built. Without the freedom to think, write, publish, depict and debate as we see fit, all our political and social rights become meaningless.
Masters of our own minds
Freedom of speech makes us morally autonomous. It allows us to use our moral and mental muscles, to decide for ourselves, through discussion, debate and argument, what is a good idea and what is a bad one. It makes man the master of his own mind and fate, rather than allowing the authorities to treat us as infants by determining on our behalf what we may read, think and believe.
The midwife of enlightenment
Freedom of speech is the best guarantor of getting to the truth of a matter. Where censorship discourages debate in favour of silencing the allegedly offensive or hateful opinion, freedom of speech insists on holding people to account for their beliefs and challenging their claims in the public sphere. It is the midwife of enlightenment where censorship fuels only an unquestioning approach, and ultimately ignorance.
No censorship - ever
Freedom of speech must never be restricted. No state bans, no hate-speech legislation, no libel laws, no restrictions on the press, no mob pressure on people to conform to modern orthodoxies. For attacks on freedom of speech do not only commit the bad-enough offence of preventing someone from saying what he believes - they also reduce the rest of us to the level of children through blocking our eyes and ears, degrading our moral autonomy, stifling truth-seeking, and elevating stupidity over enlightenment.
Free speech now!
Freedom of speech makes us free. It makes us fully human, through allowing our minds to work and our views to matter. We are absolutely committed to breathing life back into this essential freedom, to fighting against all forms of censorship and intolerance, to ensuring that everyone - regardless of their viewpoint - enjoys the freedom to express themselves and to enter into the truth-determining fray of public life. We want free speech now, with no ifs, buts, erming, ahhing, restrictions, restraints or delay.
support the manifesto
2100 people have signed up!
Rhys Jones, Student, UK
The First Amendment secures the rest of them. The Second Amendment secures the First.
David West, lawyer, UK
We all agree that murdering people for being offensive to some groups is unacceptable, but I am as concerned by the less blatant but as sinister progress of enforced orthodoxies, as the right to express one's personal beliefs and thoughts is increasingly censored by the thought /conformity police in our 'free' society. This is a well trodden road to tyranny. Nothing seems to scares the 'liberal' or right wing establishment more than the expression of views which do not conform to their view of 'correct thought'.
Roger Sutherland, Unemployed lout., United Kingdom
I am more than happy to sign this. It is embarrassing to live in a country in which the police can waste twelve hours interrogating people for making "offensive" comments on Twitter - and that's without going into the people who are festering behind bars for violating the authoritarian speech codes. How could anyone find this situation tolerable? It is an egregious violation of natural rights, that old concept which used to inform most people's understanding of liberty, prior to the onset of the nebulous "human rights" doctrine.
H. Levy, Retired public school teacher, USA
Shame on editors who self-censor in fear of reprisal. Public opinion becomes skewed when truth is misrepresented. Case in point: Hamas' thoroughly successful intimidation of Western reporters in Gaza.
Gillian Cockwill, Just a Supporter of Israel and her People., United Kingdom
This situation in Edinburgh is disgusting and outrageous. Protest by all means, but don't intimidate people who have other ideas to yours. This is blackmail and should be stopped and condemned in the strongest way.
Cody Curry, IT Consultant, United States
Free speech is the most important requirement for a free society.
Ron King, Engineer, USA
Without free speech, we are not fully human. Without free speech, civilization cannot progress.
Dan Clayton, Documentary Film-maker, UK
Its a barometer of our faith in each other. We don't need protecting from words and images. Yes, even from the lyrics of Blurred Lines
Louis Lavery, Retired, England
je suis charlie
Kelly-Laila Al-Saleh, Freelance Graphic Designer/Art Director, United Kingdom
I totally support the right of people to express their beliefs even if they are counter or offensive to my own. I think that's called dialogue sometimes
Margaret McCrudden, Retired teacher, UK
I feel very strongly about the way TOLERANCE has been foisted upon us as being a virtue and how we are now classed as INTOLERANT if we dare to express our opinion on what we see as evil. Worse still there are now laws to punish us for free speech......we can no longer discriminate between good and evil. Ashers Bakery are in court today because someone tried to force them to write that they support gay marriage on a cake. This would have meant selling their soul and sacrificing their integrity.
chris brennan, Engineer turned teacher, uk
The right of free speech must ALWAYS have priority over the right to be offended
Conrad Spencer, Therapist - Drug Service, United Kingdom
The ability to debate grand and simple ideas without censorship, ensures man's full on involvement in driving human potential. I agree with manifesto.
Patrick Landers, Student, Ireland
Keep up the good fight, chaps
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Free speech events
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