Sunday, April 12, 2009

Free Speech At Risk - The Slippery Slope

From the Washington Post comes a commentary by Jonathon Turley on the repression of free speech by Western countries. Imagine this:

In May 2008, Dutch prosecutors arrested cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot for insulting Christians and Muslims with a cartoon that caricatured a Christian fundamentalist and a Muslim fundamentalist as zombies who meet at an anti-gay rally and want to marry.

I would have enjoyed that cartoon. Would anyone in America be willing to print it? Because if you do then of course you are anti-Christian and anti-Muslim, which of course suggests to me that my previous post might be grounds to shut me up too!!

This is the shot across the bow that threatens us all. Where do you draw the line when people exercise free speech? We all know about the example of yelling "fire!" in a theater, that is a public safety issue. There are laws governing libel and slander. We even have hate crime laws. But how much farther do we really need to go?

I have no particular use for non-pagans who depict pagans as a bunch of immoral people of questionable character. Can we shut them up? Do we cite Bill Cosby who satirized the Catholic communion wafer on national TV by equating it to pizzas? He sure pissed off a bunch of folks. Where does it end? What about plays, songs, poetry, etc? And who decides?

I don't like this. It's a slippery slope that can end only one way - revolution. Yes I said REVOLUTION. You can never successfully muzzle people, as the defunct Soviet Union and the current Chinese regime have learned. The Chinese keep tightening the noose, but something always slips out. The Muslim world is working those muzzles as hard as they can, and they are still faced with citizens in opposition. At some point that opposition, out of frustration and despair, will rise up in violence. Sooner or later it will come.

As much as I despise the speech that comes out of some people's mouths, I have to endure it if I am to keep the freedom to speak what I believe to be true, even if I am thoroughly misinformed or otherwise off my rocker. Maybe we can get Tim Russ (from Star Trek: Voyager) to revive Fahrenheit 452: The Art Police. I'd love to see their take on these events, assuming they don't get arrested for hurting someone's feelings.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

I'd print that cartoon in a heartbeat, given the author's permission, of course.

As it happens, I just AM anti-Christian and anti-Muslim, and the constitution of this country gives me the right to be so.

People who idealize Europe (which I have been known to do, admittedly)need to know that the western European nations do not recognize freedom of speech as we do, and that nearly all of them have laws forbidding insults to religion. The journalist Oriana Fallici was put on trial for insulting Islam, in her own Italy. European governments are utterly acquiescing to the religious fundamentalists of all stripes, who have never believed in freedom of expression and are using every weapon at their disposal to snuff out freedom of expression, or any other sort of freedom.