Free Speech Rules!… OK?


all_the_things_you_say_by_proud_of_your_love-d5t8fujI have recently had the pleasure of re-blogging a post called Coming out of the closet. Courtesy of Suzie. It was a wonderful affirmative post where the author speaks of her determination and intent to voice her own thoughts and views regardless of what others may think of them. It is also a post that I fully endorse and support as Wherever possible I’ve always tried to express my own views to the full

I have a problem though, a nasty little problem, and one which will not go away.

In essence the problem is that of free speech, and more specifically the problem of who do we allow to speak freely, and how far are we as individuals and as  a society prepared to see such free speech go

Sounds like a contradiction to the first paragraph, doesn’t it, but if I introduce a couple of parallels you may see what I mean

1/On the 19th January a U.K.I.P Mp by the name of David Gilbert, stated that the floods which have recently flooded Britain are due to David Cameron’s stance of the legalization of Gay Marriage. He wrote to his local newspaper that

The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian Nation that abandons it’s faith and acts contrary to the Gospel…will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war

Sky news .com

2/Through marriage I have a long term association with a antisemitic gentleman who is also a supporter of Holocaust Denial. I do not share his views as regards either of these two areas as I have had the hour of growing up, as  a christian, as part of a multicultural community, and we have had several discussions as regards the validity of both of our views. In all cases though the individuals concerned have stated the right to hold their views, and the right to express themselves freely

The problem I have is  a very simple one, and I suspect it is one which faces us all. Do we

  1. allow free speech for all and sundry,
  2. apply censorship of thoughts and views, or
  3. apply some kind of cut off point upon which we can all agree?

A simple little set of options on the face of it, but let’s see here they might lead

  1. In an ideal world where everybody respects everyone, and where no “iscts” or “isms” exist, this would be wonderful. We would all get along together, we would all speak freely, and no offence would be taken because no-one would have anything derogatory, inflammatory, or plain unpleasant to say. One problem though, this world never has existed or will ever exist, and so we are forced to move onto the next option, i.e censorship of thought, word, mind and deed
  2. At a first glance this might seem to provide us with an answer. Either at an individual or community level, a set of measures can be prepared so that no is upset by any utterances. Such standards can be monitored and changed over time so as to reflect community opinion, and if a root change is ever needed the basic parameters can be redrawn or modified. How many have read Animal Farm or 1984 by George Orwell though, how many of us recall the horrors of Nazi Germany, or of other omnipresent and all powerful dictatorships, and how many of us complain about the presence of speed camera’s or CCTV camera’s which, according to popular belief, beset us at every turn. Not only that, you can control what people say but how do you change their thoughts. Very difficult I would say
  3. So we come to the third option, cut off points upon which we can all agree.. Some might call such measures a fudge; I would such points as impossibilities, as I cannot see where such lines can be drawn.

At the head of the post you will see a you tube video regarding freedom of speech within Canada and the rights of those within the Homosexual Community. Readers of my blog will already know my stance on homosexuality, and therefore I will not enlarge upon my views here, but the video , a heavy a long video but one well worth watching, demonstrates how complex an issue this has become.

So to close this post I would love to reiterate my initial questions open to all blog visitors. Do we

  1. allow free speech for all and sundry,
  2. apply censorship of thoughts and views, or
  3. apply some kind of cut off point upon which we can all agree?

I don’t have an answer to such questions. maybe there is no solution, but I’d be fascinated to hear everybody’s views

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Categories: Growing pains, Reality Checks

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