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July 12, 2020 / Congau

Freedom of Nonsense

Freedom of opinion is immensely valuable. Freedom of speech, if opinion is excluded, is nothing. Freedom of images, if no opinion is expressed, is debatable.

It is true that it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference, and then it’s better to err on the more generous side, but this is not meant to suggest practical advice but only to get an idea of what it is that actually makes this revered freedom valuable, not as an empty principle, but as something that makes sense.

We want everyone to be able to express their opinion so that society has access to many viewpoints and the citizens are better equipped in their own search for what is right. It both serves a purpose for society as a whole and for the individual. Also, the elementary personal sense of freedom from oppression by being able to express ideas that come to mind, is essential. This constitutes freedom of thought and that’s the only freedom that must be considered innate in the absolute sense, since nothing can be more properly private.

But an output of just anything that doesn’t even have a meaning to the person blurting it out, has no value either to society or the person himself. If you are not expressing an opinion of some sort, you are not expressing anything. Any statement that cannot somehow be called true or false, is essentially meaningless. Why then would you insist on your freedom to say nothing?

You might think that no one could possibly mind your shouting out your nothingness, but what if they do? A picture that constitutes no statement about anything can still be considered offensive and there is no reason to offend people if nothing else is to be gained from your action. We need no freedom to provoke.

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