Sample Essay

There are two principles that can be used to elaborate upon the relationship between the limitations on the freedom of speech, and the exploitation of the freedom of speech. The “Harm Principle” presented by John Mill in 1859 is of the opinion that speech should be allowed to be independent and free of all limitations no matter how offensive an individual or a group may find it to be.

Joel Feinberg, in 1985, argued that there should be a line drawn between offending a person or group and harming a person or group, where punishments for harming a second party should be of a higher degree as compared to that dispensed upon the offending of a second party. However the consideration of the second party should not be left out of the equation in both the dimensions of the infliction of discomfort. Feinberg goes on to suggest that the limitations on speech should be exercised after having evaluated the variables of a scenario where a second part is or can be offended (David van Mill, 2002). According to Feinberg, these variables include the social value of the speech in the originating environment and the environment of the second party, the populace offended, the bent of mind with which the offensive statement was made and the intensity of the offensive statement.

It is necessary to mention here that the aspect of promoting the application of limitations on speech is largely fueled by the opinion of the consequences that the violation of the sanctity of the freedom of speech can cause. This is also complimented by the reasoning that apart from the listener, the exploitation of the freedom of speech can cause just as much or maybe even more harm to the speaker. This may occur because of a deficiency in the knowledge that the speaker has regarding the subject of discussion. This may in turn lead to a deficiency in knowledge regarding the consequences of the release of the knowledge that the speaker is dispensing in his speech.

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