Friday Fictioneers – Free Speech

Photo Prompt © J Hardy Carroll

There was something studiedly noble about the way he drew himself to full height in the dock, hands grasping his lapels, silver head canted.

“There is no freedom, nothing more important,” he declared, “than our right to say what we think. Our liberty itself is on trial here.”

The prosecution, of course, showed the pictures of torched villages and bodies spasmed in final agony. Witnesses testified to the sudden and savage explosion of hate.

“It was just a speech,” the Minister said. “You couldn’t expect me to foresee what goes on in other people’s heads.”


Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

85 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Free Speech

      1. You’re seeing it unfold now. A lot of grand words about egalitarianism in a country with legalized slavery. A system of supposed democracy designed to concentrate power in the hands of the elite. It looks good on paper, but in practice it is very different. Slavery, genocide of the native peoples, contempt for the environment all built in to the system. What we are seeing now is The Logical conclusion.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “It wasn’t me boss”. As you say, disingenuous in the extreme. I spent a long time considering the word ‘studiedly’ and thinking how that must be one of the ugliest words in the English language. Nice observation of a not so nice situation.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is so scary it gives me goose bumps. We have several people in our government who think they get away with that kind of talk. I didn’t mean it like that, etc. etc. Perfect description of hypocrisy. innocence.

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    1. Well put, Bjorn. Free speech + responsibility they should be stapled together. My mother always taught me to think before you speak and when I was in the pits of angst and convinced the pen was mightier than the sword, she told me to sit on it. Then, once I became a parent, I was told about consequences. When you’re child breaks the rules, there need to be consequences. This is also something that becomes problematic with our leaders.
      We have a former Prime Minister here in Australia Tony Abbott who always says and does what he likes and yet still has his seat. It’s clear he needs to go and yet he sat for pre-selection of his seat this week and went in unopposed. This was where he could be stopped in his tracks altogether. However, despite trying top stack the branch, he’s still in:
      Makes me think a lot about the realities of democracy.
      Best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s an interesting question Neil, one I too agonize over a lot as a self-professed ‘liberal’. Where does one draw a line? If people are idiotic, and evil enough to let someone’s words drive them to heinous crimes and lynchings, is it really fair to blame the speaker? I don’t have an answer, honestly. Intuitively, he seems to be responsible, but if we take the emotions away from the decision-making…I don’t know.

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  4. A very timely piece that raises many questions. How much responsibility does one speaker (or social media platform come to that) have for others’ reaction to their words? When, if at all, does opinion become incitement? Can it be incitement if it wasn’t intended as such? Does freedom of speech mean freedom to offend?
    I’ll leave it to those on Question Time and in the various Houses to debate…

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  5. Great, thought-provoking story, Neil. Too often people hide behind the idea of Freedom of speech to promote views that bring about divisiveness and dire consequences. Freedom of speech right now allows people to say whatever they want irregardless of how it would affect others.

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