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a recent controversial legal case in the media that stretched societal tolerance of free speech
The topic of free speech is one of the most contentious issues in liberal societies. [ [ [ If the liberty to express oneself is not highly valued, as has often been the case, there is no problem: freedom of expression is simply curtailed in favor of other values. Free speech becomes a volatile issue when it is highly valued because only then do the limitations placed upon it become
controversial. The first thing to note in any sensible discussion of freedom of speech is that it will have to be limited. Every society places some limits on the exercise of speech because speech always takes place within a context of competing values. In this sense, Stanley Fish is correct when he says that there is no such thing as free speech. Free speech is simply a useful term to focus our attention on a particular form of human interaction and the phrase is not meant to suggest that speech should never be interfered with. As Fish puts it, ?free speech in short, is not an independent value but a political prize? (1994,102). No society has yet existed where speech has not been limited to some extent. As John Stuart Mill argued in On Liberty, a struggle always takes place between the competing demands of liberty and authority, and we cannot have the latter without the former: All that makes existence valuable to anyone depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people. Some rules of conduct, therefore, must be imposed?by law in the first place, and by opinion on many things which are not fit subjects for the operation of law. ] ]
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