alan little’s weblog

freedom of speech

10th February 2006 permanent link

support Denmark

I hardly ever write about politics here, because I mostly find it uninteresting and depressing. Politicians in democracies generally do stupid things for utterly dishonest motives. The likelihood of them ceasing to do so in the foreseeable future is pretty much nil, but the alternatives that been tried have turned out to be far, far worse. Not worth thinking about any more than I have to.

But some things are Important, and one of those is freedom of speech, and there comes a point when when it’s time to stand up and be counted. Freedom of speech includes freedom to ridicule religion.

That particular freedom was one of the last and hardest won. I can remember prosecutions for blasphemy in England in my lifetime, and I do not want to see them again.

Here are online Dane Flemming Funch on the Danish cartoons controversy, and David Foster of chicagoboyz on the British government’s horrific Racial and Religious Hatred Bill and similar repressive measures that look likely to be introduced in Europe. The Support Denmark logo is courtesy of Davids Medienkritik.

Full disclosure: my personal track record of supporting freedom of speech is not unblemished. In my youth I had a hazy concept that fascists, then to be found in England in the form of the National Front, might have some kind of abstract right to vent their filth quietly in private. I was much clearer on them not doing so in large numbers on the streets of my home town. I never personally threw bricks at them or the police, but nor did I strongly disapprove of the people around me who did.

This guy is right (link via Brian Tiemann). The Swedish right wing organisation whose website has been taken down by politically correct cowards in the Swedish government may (or may not – I know nothing about them) be just as obnoxious as the British National Front of the 1970s was, and wrong about most things. That in no way detracts from their right to publish the cartoons.

Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being “pushed to an extreme;” not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Arguments for self censorship to avoid offense are arguments in favor of surrendering our liberty.

Dennis Dale

Anyway. Jesus, Muhamed and Krishna walk into a bar …

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