“The Risks and Responsibilities of Free Speech” Part 4

Thankfully, there are privileges and responsibilities associated with free speech, a topic discussed thoroughly by Zach Dawes, Jr. With freedom comes responsibility, and anyone, regardless of their standing in society, should be held responsible for the consequences of their free speech. That being said, Dawes’ main argument is that “free speech comes with responsibility, and those who use their free speech in ways that lead to violence and/or threats of violence should be held accountable for their actions” (Dawes 2). By ‘those,’ he means any public authority figure, official, or member of society who creates a negative, demeaning, or threatening behavior by their diction should be held accountable for the consequences of that particular choice of words. However, a question was raised in Dawes’ argument that is worth contemplating: “Does condemning violence that was created, at least in part, by your own misinformation, half-truths, and caustic rhetoric really solve anything?” (Dawes 2). For the answer to this inquiry, we must look deeper than the typical question requires. As of now, there seems to be no current reason for belief in the idea that consequences of the misuse of free speech actually deter further negative forms of free speech from being used in everyday conversation.

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