No One Murdered Because Of This Image

One of the top one or two biggest issues we have in politics and public life in general right now is the limits to free speech, BAMN being a prime example ("no free speech for fascists"!), though it's much much bigger than them.

What pains me is that it's mostly the left that wants to enforce this taboo on what can be said and what can't be said.

The only limits on free speech should be direct threats of violence. Anything beyond that inevitably leads to authoritarianism, which is where we already are.

The best argument I've seen for this is in the book Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathan Rauch. A gay jewish guy, he thinks that homophobes and nazis should have full right to express their views. Why? Because if they can't, then we have thought police, and we no longer live in a free society governed my reason. The book is well worth a read, I'm not doing it justice here.

Five years ago The Onion ran this article, titled "No One Murdered Because of This Image".

The fact that we in the so-called "free" societies in the west has accepted this is a tragedy. That we're actively policing and enforcing it ourselves is so much worse. We must be able to have an open debate, and to let people have their viewpoints, however crazy, without prosecuting or killing them or otherwise shutting them up.

Islam is not the only topic where censorship is active, but it's certainly one that can get you a life sentence. The first big example was Salman Rushdie. Jonathan Rauch's book opens with this. Another watershed moment was Jyllands-Posten's Mohammed cartoons. Those happened in Denmark, where I'm from and was living at the time. Those had been moments to show a decisive response saying we won't stand for it. But we didn't.

Still figuring out how to get things back on track, save for getting every human being on the planet to read Rauch's book :)


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!

Leave a comment