Thursday, May 11, 2006

Free speech is always our best weapon

The demand for absolute freedom of speech is another way of saying that we should expect to be treated, as intelligent, rational adults that are more than capable of deciding and thinking for ourselves - the opposite is that we are treated like children that need surrogate parents to shield us from the world of naughty pictures and vulgar words.

Absolute free speech means that social issues can be dealt with through open dabate and the clash of opposing veiw points - there is no need for censors, bans or grossly over-sensitive codes of conduct or practice.

The demand for unfettered free speech is an expression of public faith in the human potential, it's about what we think of people - the danger these days is that free speech is under attack because of the shift in the way we see ourselves and other people.

Today, in New Labour's New Britain, censorship is viewed as something that is worthy, a necessary measure to protect vulnerable people from abuse, harrassment, or against material deemed to be 'offensive'. On just about any issue the call for moral censorship and a strict code of emotional correctness means there can only be one line of debate that can be conducted in public discussion - and woe betide the fool that has the temerity to do something outrageous like thinking for themselves like the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten.

Those who step from the emotionally/morally correct path are no longer viewed as people who have alternative arguments or opinions, they are seen as the Devil itself, and must be crucified in public - and then gagged.

I for one have always remained committed to a no-nonsense support of free speech. I'm prepared to take responsibility for what I say, without the interference of any Victorian ethical watchdog to protect certain sensibilities.

  • Front cover of The New Individualist, Winter, 2005

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