The ability to express one’s thoughts and opinions is essential for individual autonomy and self-determination.
Through freedom of speech, humans gain the power to define their beliefs, articulate dissenting opinions, participate in decision-making processes, and promote personal growth. It empowers us to be the architects of our own convictions and ideas, allowing us to exercise our self-authority within society.
Ultimately, freedom of speech is a cornerstone of self-determination and individual autonomy in the realm of ideas and expression.
People may be scared to speak freely for various reasons, and these fears can be deeply rooted in social, cultural, psychological, and political factors.
Here are some common reasons why individuals may hesitate to express their thoughts openly:
- Fear of Reprisal: People may fear facing negative consequences for their speech, such as losing their jobs, facing legal action, or experiencing social backlash. This fear is particularly prevalent when expressing controversial or unpopular views.
- Social Pressure: Society often has norms and expectations about what is acceptable to say. People may be afraid of being ostracized, ridiculed, or shamed for deviating from these norms or expressing non-conforming opinions.
- Online Harassment: The internet and social media platforms have made it easier for individuals to face online harassment, trolling when they express their views. This can deter people from speaking freely online.
- Self-Censorship: Individuals may engage in self-censorship, consciously or unconsciously, to avoid conflict or confrontation with others. They may withhold their true opinions to maintain personal relationships or social harmony.
- Fear of Violence: In some regions or contexts, speaking out can pose physical risks. Individuals may fear violence or harm to themselves or their loved ones if they express certain views.
- Cultural or Religious Constraints: Cultural and religious beliefs can impose restrictions on what individuals are allowed to say. Fear of blasphemy or violating cultural norms can silence people.
- Online Surveillance: Concerns about government surveillance and data privacy can deter people from expressing dissenting views online, particularly in countries with strict online monitoring.
- Lack of Confidence: Some individuals may lack the confidence to express their thoughts, fearing they will be met with criticism or ridicule. Low self-esteem can contribute to self-silencing.
- Political Climate: The political climate of a region or country can influence individuals’ willingness to speak freely. In authoritarian regimes, people may fear the consequences of criticizing the government or its policies.
- Groupthink: Social pressure to conform to the opinions of one’s social or ideological group can discourage independent thinking and the expression of dissenting views.
However, the ability to express one’s thoughts and opinions is essential for individual autonomy and self-determination. Through freedom of speech, people gain the power to define their beliefs, articulate dissenting opinions, participate in decision-making processes, and promote personal growth.
In order to be the architect of your own convictions and ideas, you have to exercise your self-authority within society.
Recently, Jordan Peterson, a prominent Canadian psychologist, faced a freedom of speech infringement battle against the Ontario College of Psychologists. The College ordered him to undergo “remedial education” due to his social media statements, but Peterson argued this violated his freedom of expression. The Ontario Divisional Court sided with the College, stating it was within their authority. Under this order, Peterson must pay for his own re-education, with sessions ending when the “coach” deems him appropriately re-educated. Failing to complete the program could lead to allegations of professional misconduct.
This case reflects a broader trend in Canada, where regulatory bodies are increasingly imposing ideological conformity. Law societies require “cultural competence,” medical regulators sanction doctors for differing opinions, and educators face consequences for questioning certain agendas. This deference to administrative authority raises concerns about the erosion of freedom of speech and expression in Canada.
Promoting free expression often requires a supportive environment that values diversity of thought, strong legal protections for free speech, and efforts to combat harassment and intimidation. And only we, as individual members of society can initiate and support that. Handing over the authority to the government leads to hidden dangers, such as the potential loss of personal freedom and autonomy, as external authorities may dictate aspects of life, belief systems, and modes of self-expression, thereby constraining personal choices and independence.
The surrender of self-authority to the government or the state can lead to the suppression of individuality and the stifling of diverse thought, fostering a climate of conformity that hinders creativity and the development of unique perspectives.
Gone will be the opportunities to make decisions, learn from their mistakes, or pursue their aspirations freely. Accountability will erode, leaving no effective means for holding the government accountable for its actions, which will result in unchecked power and corruption.
Psychological consequences will result in feelings of powerlessness and disconnection from self and society, making a person further susceptible to manipulation and propaganda.
Jordan Peterson stands his ground and his response to the Ontario College of Psychologists is “Bring it On! I will go through the re-education and I will make everything public”.
What would be your response to the pressure of the authority? What would you do if your licence, job or career was on the line?
Are you confident in your self-awareness and resilience to remain steadfast when confronted by formidable challenges? Do you know yourself well enough and your strengths and weaknesses?
One great tool that can help you to ground into yourself is the Self-Authoring program. The Self-Authoring program was developed by three doctors: Jordan B. Peterson, Daniel M. Higgins, and Robert O. Pihl.
The program was designed to help a person gain a clearer understanding of the trajectory of his or her life. To accomplish that, the program would ask the writer a series of questions relating to their life, and the writer would then respond with their thoughts. The act of writing would allow the person to streamline their thoughts and have a concise record of their anxieties and desires.
The Present Authoring Program consists of two modules. The first module is designed to enhance your awareness of and address personality shortcomings, while the second module focuses on recognizing and nurturing your positive personality traits.
The Future Authoring Program guides you in envisioning a purposeful, thriving, and productive future that lies ahead within the next three to five years. It also assists in creating a comprehensive, actionable blueprint to turn that envisioned future into a tangible reality.
The Future Authoring has been used by over 10,000 people and has been shown to help them achieve more in life while alleviating anxiety about the future through a feeling of clarity of purpose and direction.
You can find the Self Authoring program here: https://www.selfauthoring.com/