At first sight it might seem ———— to talk about freedom of speech within authoritative regimes.

I want to say it is fruitless, has no result, in vain, useless, to talk about freedom of speech within dictatorships.

What is a good word or phrase for the blank? Or maybe one of those I already mentioned is good?

  • Have you checked for synonyms of fruitless, Sasan? You can also check in dictionaries for example sentences containing fruitless, useless, futile .... Jul 11 at 7:29
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    You might also look up pointless.
    – Xanne
    Jul 11 at 7:34
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    The word vain can be used on its own, by the way: it might seem vain to ... Or there's naive, (or naïve), over-optimistic, Pollyannaish. (I think bootless may have had its day!) it might seem like whistling Dixie to ...! Jul 11 at 7:56
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    @OldBrixtonian "vain" only has that meaning when used as an attributive adjective, like "vain attempt". Your use sounds like it means they have a high opinion of themself.
    – Barmar
    Jul 11 at 19:30
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    @Barmar it is vain to talk about. There's a famous line of Jeremy Bentham's: It is vain to talk of the interest of the community, without understanding what is the interest of the individual.' Jul 11 at 22:31

1 Answer 1


Counterintuitive might be a good choice here. You could also say unproductive or ill-fitting.

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    That fits in the blank, but I don't think it expresses the OP's intent.
    – Barmar
    Jul 11 at 19:27

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