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The Sciences

Free speech not as important in Eastern Europe

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMay 6, 2009 7:46 PM

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With the whole controversy around Michael Savage being blocked from entering England because of his inflammatory comments I thought I would look at attitudes toward speech. One thing I've noticed is that Americans tend to be less instrumental when it comes to matters of speech; that is, speech is not justified as a means, as opposed to being a basic liberal right. In contrast in most other parts of the world people seem more likely to justify the right to speech as a utility in the service of some other end. This difference results in a variance in the way people approach offensive and patently societally unredeemable speech. The World Values Survey has a question about national goals where individuals rate the goals as : Very important Important Not very important Not at all important Below the fold are the proportions of those who rated free speech as a not very important, or not at all important, national goal.

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