Many nations grant their citizens the right to free expression. Most of these nations refer to this right as the freedom of speech. This concept means many different things to different people. One of the most amazing things about this concept is the wildly different ways it can be interpreted by both governments and private citizens. When one thinks of the freedom of expression, the mind quickly travels to the United States of America. In the US, this freedom is supposed to be protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of that nation. This document declares that the Congress of that nation shall pass no law that interferes with this inherent right of a human being. When one examines American politics, one finds that there are many different interpretations of this simple statement.
While most speech is protected in America, there is one type of speech that is quickly losing ground. This type of speech is labeled as hate speech by the powers that be. What is commonly called hate speech will usually involve negative remarks that are aimed toward a protected class of citizens. These special groups have risen above the intentions of the Constitution of the nation. Average Americans are no longer able to express their opinions about protected classes for fear of reprisal. While they might not face jail time, they could lose their job and would most definitely face social ostracism. Unfortunately, unpopular speech is often labeled as hate speech even if the things being spoken are true. Crime statistics, immigration statistics and other facts are often labeled as hate speech by agencies that monitor the activity of US citizens. Many of these agencies are embraced by the government and law enforcement, event though they are private entities with their own agenda. Many people accuse these agencies of creating demons where there are none to be found and generating controversy to keep their coffers lined with cash.
Many countries in Europe do not allow freedom of speech when it comes to discussions of the second World War. These countries will actually jail citizens who question the historical version of this war that they were taught in school. Nations such as Austria and France will lock up a citizen who states that they do not believe there was a systematic murder of Jewish citizens during the war. Incredibly, these targeted citizens are not allowed to express the truth of their claims at trial, but are rather judged on whether or not they committed this act of speech. One can only hope that reason will triumph and the citizens of all nations will be able to express their opinions without fear of reprisal.