What's the appeal of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

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Leeuwenhoek2
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Re: What's the appeal of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:58 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:43 pm
... how the power hierarchy can make all the difference.

What people have said so far in favor of free speech seems to apply only in egalitarian societies, or only between equals. But in classist societies, or in unequal relationships (where one person has more power than the other, such as between the boss and his subordinate, or a parent and a child), or in competitive relationships (between people who are nominally equal but who compete for a scarce resource, such as a job or a promotion), the situation is quite different. The one with more power has freedom of speech, the one with less power has less or no freedom of speech. And granting liberty to your competitors is self-defeating.
"What people have said so far in favor of free speech seems to apply only in egalitarian societies, or only between equals."
Depends somewhat on which definition of "egalitarian" you are thinking of.
The more functional/successful societies grant free speech to all, including to the 'deplorable' out of self interest. How is that self-interest? Because when stupid people with bad ideas, even potentially violent people, are given the right to speak freely they tend to be non-violent than otherwise. This seems to work best when there is a common civic culture -- when everyone has been enculturated into a common "civic religion". English speaking democracies all seem to have some type of "civic religion".

Free Speech in Organizations, Religious Organizations, and Business
Management theory has a concept called organizational learning. This type of mutual learning can have a powerful impact on a organizations growth, effectiveness and adaptability.
The theory recognizes different types of learning which work best in different situations.
  • Double-loop learning questions underlying assumptions. Often required for the "hard, difficult issues".
  • Single-loop learning, which solves problems superficially and symptomatically, fails to address the real issues that make companies ineffective.
But even open communication within an organization can block learning and hinder progress if it's based on defensiveness, denial of real problems, inability to face tough issues and refusal to examine one's own attitudes and contributions to the problem.

Once again, it's in the self interest of the organization to grant free speech IF the leaders in the organization aren't too mired in the patterns of communication which block learning. There is a certain amount of science and practical, actionable knowledge about how to have these more productive conversations.

RESOURCES:
* http://www.schwarzassociates.com/what-i ... -approach/
* Search on "chris argyris"
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I endorse Pseudobabble apt 'explainer':
Pseudobabble wrote:But in a social system predicated on individual rights and responsibilities (and by implication equality between these abstract individuals), then the belief functions as an axis of the system of social norms, eg: 'I'll tolerate what you say, but don't harm me, and I expect the same treatment'.

I think, insofar as we find a system of individual rights and responsibilities more pleasant than alternatives, it's a good principle which contributes to the ability of people to resolve their disagreements without coercion. But in a 'state of nature', well, having the biggest stick is the best principle.
an axis of the system of social norms - Nice phrase.

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manas
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Re: What's the appeal of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

Post by manas » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:11 am

Living in an authoritarian dictatorship, under near constant surveillance, such as in Nth Korea, would quickly prove the value of the statement quoted by the OP. Because without protected free speech, that's how we could end up.
If you believe you can't, you probably won't, but if you believe you can, you just might.

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