With the whole fiasco regarding what Israel Folau said in an interview I have to put some points out there because it appears that some people believe that ‘freedom of speech’ means ‘freedom to speak your mind and there to be no consequences as a result’ which is as far from what the meaning of ‘freedom of speech’ mean.
- Israel Folau is contracted by a private organisation and part of that contract will include certain stipulations because when you come under contract for that company you are, for all intents and purposes, a representative of that company including the embodiment of all the values that said company embraces. What does that mean? it means when you open your mouth to voice your opinion you might wish to ask yourself, “will this opinion portray the organisation in a negative light given the nature of society these days”? what you might be able to get away with in private company simply will not fly in public especially when given a platform on which you are an ambasidor of the said organisation.
- You are well within your rights to express yourself in what ever way you see fit but that doesn’t make you immune to the consequence of your actions. You’re free in society to wear what ever you want but if an organisation says that the requirement is that you wear a certain attire or conform to a certain standard then you cannot turn around and cry persecution because you refused to conform to the requirements of your employment contract. You aren’t being persecuted you are being hired to do a job with certain conditions attached that are reasonable expectations that any employment court would back.
- If you believe that private organisations should be covered by regulation relating to freedom of speech then by all means you’re entitled to make that argument but at the moment the current legislation doesn’t cover such a scenario. There could be a legitimate argument to make especially given the almost natural monopolistic nature of some online services where economies of scale and high setup costs in the form of long term losses undermine the ability for alternatives to be created and spread one an established player is already entrenched.
- Just because someone has been raised in a certain way doesn’t make one immune to personal responsibility. I’ve seen copious amounts of hand ringing of people practising the age old art of ‘soft bigotry of lower expectations’ in justification for Israel Folau’s behaviour and quite frankly none of those excuses hold water. At some point, when you become an adult, you start taking responsibility for who you are as a person – when you move out and become your own man/woman you can re-craft and re-invent yourself in an image that reflects who your authentic self is (hence young people experiment and try things till they find something that ‘gels’ with them). If you want to remain the reflection of what your parents moulded you as then that is the choice you made but lets not try to play this game of absolving individuals of their autonomy because they said something stupid.