In today’s conversation, we’re going to exercise our freedom of speech. I want to discuss how the freedom of speech is relevant to you if you’re a content creator, video marketer, freelancer, entrepreneur, and even just as a person in general. Here, I’ll be focusing mostly today on freelancers, content creators and entrepreneurs.
“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” - George Washington
Free speech is a foundation of liberty because it’s the only way to protect yourself from those who try to take your liberty away. If you’re a freelancer, your individual liberty is extremely important. That’s why you freelance. Your ability to choose to work at home, to choose who you work with as clients, to choose what your services are, are all protected by the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The only way we protect those rights is through the freedom to speak out, the same freedom I have to teach this principle.
Free speech is not just for those you agree with. You must be okay for those you disagree with to also have the freedom to speak. It’s the freedom to express your opinions publicly and to others.
Let’s dissect the first amendment of the constitution. My goal is for you to realize how relevant this amendment is to your success as an entrepreneur, freelancer, content creator and to anyone trying to build a career online. It’s relevant to everyone of course, but I’m focusing on just you today. This is because too many of us think that these things don’t directly apply to us, that they aren’t super important, and that they’re just “boring history.”
In my freelance business, I help content creators use the freedom of speech to make videos talking about what they believe in. This right is key to them being able to influence others with their beliefs. And I haven’t always agreed with what all of my clients have taught, but I have always believed in defending their right to express those beliefs.
The first amendment covers 3 areas that are all connected to freedom of speech:
- The Freedom of Religion (which doesn’t just include joining a church of your choice, it encompasses the right to believe whatever you want, to create your own belief system and then practice those beliefs.)
- The freedom of speech (includes your right to express yourself through your verbal voice, written text, audio like music or podcasts and through producing imagery like still images or video)
- The freedom of the press. (Sharing information factual or opinion. People usually tie this one to just news outlets, but any youtuber who is expressing their view on something is under freedom of the press. This one very much crosses over with freedom of speech but it specifies speech that occurs through media like print, tv, radio, video/audio etc..) So, technically, freedom of speech only includes sharing your opinions through your verbal voice because you aren’t putting it on any form of media. But these two are married completely, and one is not without the other. Either way, this right protects your ability to share information, whether it be fact OR OPINION.
There is only one restrictive condition for these three rights: your freedom of practicing a religion, or your beliefs and exercising speech and press cannot infringe upon someone else’s rights for those things, or any other rights protected in the constitution, like the right to life and property etc. Therefore, you can go out in the streets and express your opinions as long as you don’t physically hurt someone or prevent them from sharing their opinions.
I recently did a video on The PRO Act and how it threatens freelancers liberty. There have been tens of thousands of freelancers around the country that have exercised their freedom of speech and have expressed their opinions on this act. These freelancers are building a business and exercising their beliefs in how they want to work. There are times when you have to speak up to protect your right to keep working how you want to work. As a result, freedom of speech is very relevant to you.
How else is it relevant? You have likely gone beyond your standard K-12 education, and you have received additional training that has helped you become a freelancer or entrepreneur. You may have taken online courses or read books on various topics to help train you. Without freedom of the press, you could not have received this additional education that has led you to gain the skills to freelance successfully and to build a business successfully. Imagine a world where you wanted to learn something, but the government didn’t allow books on how to build a business from home (there’s too much freedom in that). Freelancers at the core value freedom highly, which is why they like the freedom that comes from working for yourself.
Freelancers have skills and they want to help others with those skills, and they just want to be left alone to be able to do that. But too many modern anti-liberty movements from both major political parties have wanted to take away that freedom to work where you want and how you want. Governments can control you much easier when you’re an employee with a large company because they heavily regulate that company. But they can’t control you very easily when you’re working for yourself at home.
Throughout history, tyrannical governments have taken away people’s freedoms in order to control them and give themselves more power. The Nazis in Germany, the Soviet Union, China and its continued government take over, North Korea, Venezuela, and the list goes on. One thing that all these atrocities have in common is that they went after the freedom of speech first. Why? Because it’s our first line of defense in telling the government to back off. It’s also how we spread education to others so they are not deceived by the flowery talk of politicians that say nice things to get elected but then abandon us in the end.
You should be very, very concerned any time you see any attacks on the freedom of speech. In the USA, we don’t often see the federal government directly attacking the freedom of speech because we have a constitution that makes it very difficult for them to get away with it. However, what we do see is large corporations who are partnered with the government censoring free speech. The government is still influencing the censoring but hiding behind large companies that have a lot of influence, such as social media companies and media companies that provide the major news.
Many companies like Google and Facebook control the majority of today’s flow of information and they defend their right to censor content by saying, “The freedom of speech only prevents the government from blocking certain speech, but not companies.” That is technically true. Companies do have a right to decide what type of content is allowed on their platforms, but if the first amendment is based on a natural God-given human right that predates the constitution, then shouldn’t all institutions honor that, including private companies? Even though they are not legally bound to, it is the right thing to do. And it’s our job as customers of these companies to speak up and demand that they uphold our natural rights, even if they are not legally bound to.
Another issue that these companies have gotten into, especially social media sites like Facebook, is that they claim to be a platform, meaning they allow all the users to create and moderate the content and the users are liable for what they post. But their increasingly heavy content moderation and censoring in the last few years have gotten them in trouble because if they pick and choose what content can be shown and what can’t, then they are no longer an open platform. Instead, they are a publisher and thus must admit to that and change their business type. If they are declared as a publisher, then they are responsible for the content posted on the site and thus can be sued for it. They have increasingly acted as a publisher by censoring content, but they keep declaring themselves as a platform to avoid legal liabilities for the content.
Now let’s discuss one of the biggest threats to the freedom of speech in 2021: “fact checking” and “misinformation campaigns.” Misinformation is a code word for “silence people I don’t agree with.” Once social media companies started to adopt the tradition of tv news outlets with “fact checking” and stopping “misinformation,” they crossed the line.
Depending on which side of the political aisle you sit on, you tend to have different information and different facts, which makes it very confusing. What is a fact to one person isn’t to another. And they each have different studies and data. And it’s good to allow healthy debate. A company like Facebook or YouTube does not have the power of God to be able to decide what is a fact or what is misinformation and what isn’t. All they do is use third party companies who often have political bias to verify certain information through the lens of those biases. Then certain video content and other content is deleted or not surfaced or blocked or labelled because the social media dictators determine that the information is not factual.
And numerous times, stories that social media sites labelled as false ended up being true. A year ago, the origins of the virus that everyone was talking about last year was declared as being 100% natural from animals. And if you ever suggested that it came from a lab or any other source, you would be silenced, your social media account would be shut down or your post deleted. Why? Because those companies had determined that it was “misinformation.” Now all of a sudden, it’s okay to talk about the possibility of viruses escaping labs, something that apparently was debunked last year. “Debunked” means it was proven false. But it actually wasn’t. It was never even explored. A true scientist never would dismiss a very possible theory, or even a theory that wasn’t likely, but still possible. Science requires freedom of speech. It requires people to freely share their ideas of different theories and if any voice gets silenced, then that is anti-science, it utterly rejects the foundations of science and instead it becomes political science. They don’t care about the truth, they just care about what’s politically in their favor. I’m not stating what my opinion is on whether the virus came from a lab or not, but I’m using this as an example that all the major media and social media companies that silenced anyone who suggested a lab leak theory a year ago are now being given permission to talk about it. Why? Well the reason can only be political, but we won’t get into that.
The point is, it doesn’t actually matter whether the information someone shares is factual or not. What matters is that it’s allowed to be shared because it may just end up being true. Or it may not ever be true, but the debate is extremely important to have. It is the viewer or reader’s responsibility to do their own “fact checking” by researching multiple sources and ultimately listening to their conscience on whether something is true. The freedom to believe what you want is protected under the freedom of religion. You have the right to create your own set of beliefs regardless of whether they are true or not, as long as those beliefs aren’t infringing upon someone else’s rights.
I understand that there is a certain level of censoring that needs to happen on internet platforms like YouTube to prevent actual harmful content from hurting people, especially children, but these companies have expanded their definition of what is harmful way too broadly.
Now they can deem a certain political belief or religious belief as harmful even if there is nothing about it that directly threatens someone’s life.
It’s getting to the point where you can hardly be critical of anything or anyone without being censored because it gets categorized as hate speech, even if you aren’t actually hateful at all towards certain people and you’re just expressing an opinion on certain behavior or making observations. Freedom of speech also protects your right to offend people. Why? Because most of the time, someone expressing their opinion is not trying to hurt someone or offend them. Being offended largely is up to the individual who hears the other person expressing their opinion. It’s way too subjective. People can get offended for a whole host of reasons that have to do with their sensitivity on a subject, even if the person expressing their views meant no harm and had no hate in their heart.
You don’t combat the opinions you don’t like by silencing them, you combat other ideas with your ideas, with your beliefs. You just get out there and express your beliefs.
One last reason it’s important for you as a freelancer to defend the freedom of speech is because you should also be creating content. If you want to stand out as a freelancer, then make videos or write blog posts teaching people about the thing you’re selling as a service. If you’re a writer, then teach people how to write. Teaching your trade will really impress your clients and position you as a true expert in something. Use your freedom of speech to teach your expertise and it may just lead to additional sources of income down the road.
I’ve had many clients come from watching my videos. My videos made me stand out. I proved in the video that I knew a thing or two about video marketing.
In summary, the freedom to believe what you want to believe, to work how you want to work, to express your opinions in the public square is fundamental to you being able to thrive and function as a freelancer and entrepreneur and content creator. So defend it at every turn. Get very worried when people are silenced, even if you disagree with those people.
People that want power just want you to go back to bed. They want you to stay asleep and not speak up. Wake up and use your voice to protect your right to build the career you want. We’ll see you next time.