UK – Today the British government proved beyond doubt that it has disdain for free speech. But not only did the British government show disdain Chris Huhne MP home affairs spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat Party said that Dutch MP Geert Wilders had crossed the line as to what was acceptable in regards to free speech.
The Liberal Democrat Party are meant to be the party which campaigns upon an ethos of improving human rights, however it Mr Huhne has shown that he has little understanding in regards to the concept of free speech & the importance in not putting limitations upon it.
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”
Free speech is just that you either have it or you don’t & I personally would prefer we have that right. In fact I consider the right to free speech second only to the right to life because all rights stem from us having life & the right to free speech give us the ability to express an opinion & define ourselves as individuals, it gives us the ability to protest & resist.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”
Unfortunately when it comes to free speech everybody is for it until they hear something they don’t like. I guess there are some who’d throw that accusation at me however I’ve never attempted to restrict anybody’s right to free speech but if I strongly disagree with the opinions of others yes I’ll loudly argue against. I might detest homophobia, racism & bigotry in general but I’d defend somebody’s right to express bigoted opinions.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that all the British government have managed to do in barring entry to Geert Wilders is create a media shit storm making Geert Wilders a free speech martyr. If they’d allowed him entry he might of got a minute on the news & would be quickly forgotten, now by barring him entry he’s got a ton publicity for his anti Islamic opinions as well as creating curiosity for opinions which Mr Wilders holds & its not as if in the days of the internet that one can’t find opinions far stranger or more hideous than Mr Wilders.
What makes me chuckle particularly about the present Labour government is that they seem to think if that if they ban or restrict something then hey it will suddenly change the culture & the mentality of people. Err no it doesn’t because it doesn’t prevent anybody thinking racist or homophobic thoughts & personally if somebody thinking bigoted I’d rather they were able to express such thoughts because I’d rather know somebody is a bigot then I know they’re a twat! But maybe I shouldn’t be chuckling at Labour’s progress naivety & its consequences because one of the consequences of placing limitations upon free speech is a slippery slope towards tyranny. I’m of the opinion that government should leave freedom of expression alone & well alone as much as possible. The only limitations that should be placed upon free speech should be limitations concerning copyright & possibly threats of violence & coercion. But there certainly shouldn’t be any restrictions upon any saying Islam sucks or that organised religion in general sucks! It’s actually very dangerous for government to start placing limitations upon free speech as there are always special interests involved in government & many special interest groupings don’t want to hear criticisms & insults against themselves & whatever they happen to represent.
Of course I’ve heard people say that free speech isn’t the right to insult…oh yes it fucking is! You see what I might find abusive or obscene is not what somebody else might find obscene & abusive. Sure there might be a general consensus or in other words a majority but it doesn’t mean that the majority is right, if 51 out of 100 votes to eat the other 49 it doesn’t mean eating people is somehow okay.
Progressives who want to place limitations upon free speech in regards to penalising the expression of bigoted opinions might have good intentions at heart but they are just as the bigots they seek to penalise. Both groups seem to have a wanting to use force against those who express the opposing argument & that’s wrong & not something I’ve associated with liberalism. Liberals have traditionally advocated that all have the right to speech no matter the opinion, in other words the liberal position is that the state should stay neutral on opinion expressed but should steadfastly uphold the right to free speech…yet My Huhne like the government seems to think the state should side on opinions expressed in restricting various opinions from being expressed, which is an extremely dangerous thing for state or government to be doing.