11.2.07

Thought of the Day

Freedom of speech is exactly the opposite of freedom from criticism.

It is spectacularly hypocritical to claim that someone who criticises your views should shut up because they're infringing on your right to freedom of speech. You have a right to espouse whatever offensive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic or merely incorrect crap you want - and others have a right to call you out on it.

4 comments:

zhoen said...

That is why it is such a difficult concept. Everyone gets "I get to say what I want, and the people I agree with get to say what they want." But the idea of "They get to say what they want, even though I think it's stupid or dangerous" chokes 'em. And that is the most important bit, because it also means that the stupid and dangerous don't get the right to tell me to shut up, either.

Tricky.

Michelle said...

I agree. It is better for the racist, stupid crap to be out in the open and addressed rather than underground. Political correctness is an idea that can be taken to an extreme that frightens me.

Anyway, I like making bawdy jokes at work. =)

susanna said...

Hmmmm...yeah, I get the idea but then, what about what happened in Rwanda? Freedom of speech on the radio waves led to a genocide. Sure, there were terrible things happening before the genocide started but the monsters working the airwaves on the first day of the killings (and after) were exercising their freedom of speech and provoking monstrous acts.

Do you think as many lynchings would have happened in the South (States) if the (racist)police hadn't allowed white supremists to exercise their freedom of speech before a crowd?

I like the idea of 100% freedom of speech but then I can't help wondering, what if...?

Pacian said...

Well this blog post doesn't represent the entirety of my opinions on freedom of speech - it was to address an irritating argument I keep hearing whereby people claim that their freedom of speech means that they shouldn't be criticised.

Obviously there is a difference between 'criticism' and 'incitement to kill'. And in everyday life the more relevant - and difficult - distinction is often between criticism and harassment.

Similarly, there are things that I think it's easy to see we don't want people to have the freedom to speak about - for example another person's private information.

The important point here is that these rules apply to everyone equally. Racists should be stopped from giving out the addresses of people of a certain religion and/or inciting people to harm them - and the same should also be true of people of that religion giving out the addresses of racists and doing the same.