Monday, January 21, 2008
Someone finally said it....
Mark your calendars folks as today marks a new low point in the ongoing destruction of our civilization, from within of course. Why do I say this? The quote below, from the article linked to above, says it all:
"'It is difficult to anticipate the content of the film, but freedom of expression doesn't mean the right to offend,' said Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Minister..."
'Freedom of expression' does not only mean the right to offend, it means this more than any other possible interpretation of the phrase.
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." (If you can tell me who I'm quoting, I'll give you a cookie.)
To forbid speech that others take offense to is to forbid speech period. There is no objective measurement of how "offensive" something is, or objective criteria for what constitutes an "offensive" statement.
I could choose, with a perfectly straight face, to pretend to be 'offended' by just about anything anyone anywhere might choose to say at any time. Because what is 'offensive' to me is completely subjective, those targeted by me for causing offense would be unable to defend against the charge.
This scenario is in fact precisely what those who demand freedom from being offended intend to create. They want a world in which ideas and facts with which they disagree can be made illegal to express, and they've made a great deal of progress in that direction.
Genuinely valid restrictions upon freedom of expression are few in number and adhere to a stringent objective standard. Inciting someone to commit a crime ("Go kill that bastard!") is not protected. Neither is speech that would cause a reasonable person to endanger themselves or others, such as yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater when no fire was present.
Restricting speech because it hurts someone's feelings is not only foolish, it is wrong. The truth is more important than how anyone feels, and without near-absolute freedom of expression, the truth can and will be obscured by the powerful and the zealous. This is nothing more than tyranny through manners, a new spin on a very old game.
To create a world where people can demand freedom from the things they don't want to hear is to create a world where everyone will be free...from the light of truth.