Limit Speech, Limit the Future
“No one’s perfect.” We’ve all heard this phrase a million times, enough to the point where it has basically lost its meaning. Assuming the phrase to be true, then speech can’t be perfect all the time either. So why are we attempting to regulate it? Is there ‘perfect speech’ somewhere out there? An infallible list of words and sentences that can be used while others are considered irrelevant, even dangerous? Absolutely not.
According to John Mill, “Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument…” (pg. 602). Furthermore, Mill also claims “…for the majority of the eminent men of every past generation held many opinions now known to be erroneous, and did or approved numerous things which no one will now justify.” (pg. 601-602). I couldn’t agree more.
Like Mill, I too believe that great ideas aren’t born great. They begin as just a spark that gradually get molded and shaped into an the best possible version of the idea. This process is so useful and intuitive because it has the ability to take into account all and any opinions voiced about it. For example, when you work on a group project, it’s a rare occurrence that the first thing that someone awkwardly utters is going to be the perfect A+ project. Instead, someone offers an idea and it is built upon by the opinions and experiences of the rest of the group members. This process fosters ingenuity as well as success. By regulating speech and opinions, who knows how many brilliant ideas could have been missed out on. For example:
– The Airplane. Were Wright Brothers trying to fly a wooden, non-motorized contraption that would eventually lead to people flying all over the world in a matter of hours in a Boeing 757 while being served lobster and watching live TV? No, they were just trying to fly.
– The Computer. Was Bill Gates attempting to revolutionize the world when he started writing his first ever computer codes? No, he was just experimenting and learning.
– Any Object In The Room You’re Currently In. Look around, is anything you see the original version when it was first created? If you can answer yes to that then you must be using cave walls instead of paper, your fingers instead of a calculator, and uncleaned animal fur instead of clothing.
What I’m trying to get at is that limiting speech and opinion, even if at first it is believed to be erroneous, will severely restrict the progression of the human race. Who’s to say you don’t possess the basics of an idea that can reinvent our way of living? Not John Mill or me, that’s for sure.