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Freedom of expression/religion/belief type questions


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I am from canada so that is the example i am going to use because i understand it. Feel free to add your countries related info, but please also include the exact wording they use so we can see how it may be bent.

 

 

so to start with this from teh cahrter of rights in canada: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

 

Rights and freedoms in Canada

 

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

 

 

 

Fundamental freedoms

 

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

 

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

 

(:read: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

 

© freedom of peaceful assembly; and

 

(d) freedom of association.

 

 

Equality Rights

 

Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law

 

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

 

 

those are the 2 parts that stick out most for my questions.

 

1. with freedom of expression, why is nudity so controlled? How is it that being us in our own body without foreign material covering ourselves is an offense. There is always that argument of protecting the children, but without getting too into that is social conditioning that we are taught its wrong to show people our naked body unless blah blah blah. How can being naked be illegal?

 

2. Where i am from some places control a LOT of what goes on. For example house color. With freedom of expression how can a municipality legally decide how you choose to express your home?

 

3. There are many different "benefits" for first nations people. How is that legal with the equality right and not being able to discriminate between races?

 

4. With the freedom to believe and express, how are natural drugs made illegal (sorry, controlled)? There are many different groups that use various different drugs for legitimate means, would it not be breaking our rights to freedom jailing someone for having an ayahuasca meeting (for example)?

 

 

Have more, but best not to go on too much at first.

 

What i am starting to wonder, not being well versed in legal lingo at all hence me here asking these questions, is we have the right to *have* beliefs and opinions, but perhaps not to actually express them despite our freedom of expression. I am a child of western society so i tend not to be comfortable at all beign naked, but i think it CRIMINAL to arrest someone for walking down the street naked. that is their most basic of self, and their right to be themself. I am just baffled at how we have come to control the most simple adn basic of things, and why.

 

 

sorry for the typing i am on a tiny laptop and its hard to type this out :lol:

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  • 6 months later...

Interesting questions:

 

1. with freedom of expression, why is nudity so controlled? How is it that being us in our own body without foreign material covering ourselves is an offense. There is always that argument of protecting the children, but without getting too into that is social conditioning that we are taught its wrong to show people our naked body unless blah blah blah. How can being naked be illegal?

The short answer is that western society was heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian philosophy. Think Adam and Eve, tree of knowledge, fig leaves. Although we also find clothing in non-western society as well, so that explanation only really explains why western society finds nakedness wrong, not why humans in general do.

 

Is there anything inherently wrong with a naked body... nope. We are the only animal that sees fit to cover our bodies out of modesty (that I know of). How this translates to your freedom of expression is that societies develop a communal standard of morality that transcends guaranteed freedoms.

 

2. Where i am from some places control a LOT of what goes on. For example house color. With freedom of expression how can a municipality legally decide how you choose to express your home?

Now we get into a lot more complicated grounds. The thing is, you live in a community. Everyone in this community is connected and works together (directly or indirectly) for the common good. So, when you choose to express yourself by painting your house with pink polka-dots that will have an impact on your neighbors and the larger community. Your neighbors homes will lose value because of that choice. By allowing you to paint your house in such a way others must be allowed to as well. This can drive down home prices across the community, reducing the value of many people's property, reducing property taxes, reducing employment of local workers, etc, etc, etc. So, in this case, the community has made rules and regulations about home color that are designed to prevent anyone from having their property lose value based on actions of another individual. Your freedom of expression can have a measurable negative impact on another individual. If you truly want to express yourself, you can move out of that community, or move out of all communities and live in an isolated area. You have to decide which is more important to you. You are not forced to live in that community. So you must weigh the benefits of living in a community against the loss of personal freedom in home color choice.

 

3. There are many different "benefits" for first nations people. How is that legal with the equality right and not being able to discriminate between races?

Um... we killed them dude. Greatest genocide in the history of man kind. We killed them, we took their land, we destroyed their way of life and their culture...

 

There is no "fairness" or equality here, and to be clear, they are the ones that got/get the raw end of the deal. There is no way for Canadian or US governments to undo the damage that was done, so these people are given special exemptions that try to mimic the national autonomy that we stole/destroyed. The systems in place suck, and the culture of these people is disappearing faster than we can record it.

 

4. With the freedom to believe and express, how are natural drugs made illegal (sorry, controlled)? There are many different groups that use various different drugs for legitimate means, would it not be breaking our rights to freedom jailing someone for having an ayahuasca meeting (for example)?

Yeah, tough subject here. The argument against illegal/controlled substances is that these drugs have the ability to impact more than just the person taking them, that they have a negative impact on society, and that part of the role of government is to determine if the people need to be protected from themselves or their own judgment/lack of judgment. You may agree or disagree, but that is the justification for restricting access to those substances. Once again, do the benefits of living in a community (in this case one that restricts drug use) outweigh the loss of personal freedom that comes with it?

 

These are very good questions, and all relate to the eternal question of Freedom vs. Order. You always sacrifice one to gain more of the other. There are benefits to both, and generally government tries to strike a balance. Perhaps you believe that you should have the right to live your life any way you choose, paint your house any color you choose, etc. However, your neighbor does not want the way your freedom to negatively impact him. So a balance is struck, and the community decides collectively what that balance is.

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