Last night I gave Edward a hard time for justifying the attacks on free speech by the Obama administration symbolized best by the writer of the script of “Innocence of Muslims” being picked up in the middle of night for a “voluntary” interview concerning possible parole violations. Edward conflated the making of the video with yelling “Fire!” in a theater claiming, apparently not being able to discern between planned violence and panic due the fear of burning to death, the outcome is the same. But, I find apologists for acts of censure and intimidation in order to smother free speech offensive and dangerous. Offensive because it goes against my strongly held belief system, more strongly held than my religious beliefs, more sacred. Dangerous because apologies and justifications enable tyrants to exercise ever more tyranny.
Free speech is sacred. Throughout history the one thing that could get you beheaded or imprisoned as quickly as trying to kill the king is speaking your mind when your mind doesn’t fit the accepted version of things.
Fifty years ago, the ‘wrong’ kind of free speech ’caused’ violent reaction by the KKK. Would you have favored limiting pro-Civil Rights speech that might have ’caused’ violent reactions by southern racists in the 60′s? Would you EVER IN A MILLION YEARS have described civil rights activists as having ’caused’ or being in any way responsible for KKK violence!?
Rescinding free speech rights on topics which could lead to violence allows the violent to censor speech. Not only is this inappropriate, over the long term it would increase violence as everyone learned such a reaction would have the desired result.
Is it possible to have freedom of religion without freedom of speech? If you can’t openly express your religious ideals, do you have freedom of religion? Do we have freedom in elections is we can’t openly and fully express our ideas, concerns and observations?
Why do people want to limit freedom of speech? Because free and open expression is so powerful. As Voltaire said, the pen is mightier than the sword. Or Victor Hugo, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
That is why lefties don’t want corporations involved in political discourse. They don’t want ideas, powerful or otherwise, out there that run contrary to their beliefs. They want to control people by having as great a monopoly on speech as possible. Cowards also want suppression of speech, no challenge to their ideas, a false feeling of security, supposedly less violence because of less offending of violent people.
That is why the radical Muslims get so upset about “blasphemy.” It draws into question their beliefs. It asserts that something else is greater and more important than Mohammed.
But, true belief, true virtue comes from freely holding beliefs and and voluntarily taking actions, not from coercion or enforced ignorance. Great changes come from hearing new ideas, expressing and exchanging ideas, or being mocked.
Freedom of speech stands more sacred than any god. Without it, no god can be properly worshiped, adored or followed and no society can thrive.