Now, when people invoke their freedom of speech, they mean the ability to say whatever they please individually, not as an exercise against tyranny.
Yes. Because free speech, over the centuries, has become a valued cultural virtue.
And claiming otherwise, that it is in fact can be a vice at times (which I expect you are about to argue) is almost-universally met with rejection.
The marketing agency that created this advertisement appealed to their freedom of speech.
They were appealing to the aforementioned cultural virtue. Kind of silly for them to do that (the goal was simply to sell a product), but that’s what they chose to do.
The principles of free speech are much messier when bringing in individual motivations against another individual’s rights, or the wellbeing of society.
Not seeing how it’s messy. They had money and a product to sell. They had an ad created and bought space to advertise it. Not messy.
There’s a fundamentally moral disagreement at heart here — is it wrong to depict this in an ad, or does the company’s freedom to say it outweigh its possible moral consequences?
Not seeing any disagreement. It may be unseemly, but it’s not wrong. (Government is really, really bad at making moral choices for people, it should be said.)
Because the government is taping a part of their mouths shut, telling them what they can and cannot say, and if they can’t put up a poster that says “are you beach body ready” or say a simple racist or sexist or homophobic joke, then what else can the government take away from them?
The larger (and troubling) point here is that you’re asking government to become the arbiter of what is acceptable vs unacceptable speech. That’s nuts, prima facie. Let society handle it.
Freedoms end where rights begin.
Hmmmmm. Some would say those are the same thing. I would.
The rights of women and the freedom of speech of a corporation seem to be at stake in the advertisement — surely there is a line between the two.
There are no “rights of women” at stake due to that ad. For every woman who was disturbed by the ad, there were two more who bought the product and went on a dieting jag. None of them were forced to do what they do.
The line between freedoms and rights is perhaps the most difficult to draw, but I’m arguing that there is a line.
I think first you have to explain how the two are actually different, and not just two sides of the same coin.
how can everyone express their freedoms indefinitely without stepping on someone else’s freedom, or right?
It seems that if the freedom of speech is just a society of individuals saying what they want as loudly as possibly, voices stepping over the others with no regard or respect for the rights of other individuals, it doesn’t seem like an image of democracy so much as it is an anarchy.
It is indeed a bit of an anarchy, the way we practice it. That’s a feature, not a bug. (You meant that as a pejorative, but it’s not.)
Though the freedom of speech is what prevents a democracy from disintegrating into tyranny, it is the regulation of free speech that prevents it from disintegrating into anarchy.
Uh….no. Because the practice of speech is practiced by all in an unlimited fashion does not lead to GOVERNMENTAL anarchy; speech is simply one of many activities related to government in the public square.
A democracy needs to balance the freedoms and rights of its citizens in order to create a society where each individual can express their beliefs but also respect those of others.
Sure. But nobody has the right, in a free society, to “not hear” something. That is simply not stated nor implied in any founding document.