Saturday, September 29, 2012

Free Speech Means Free Speech, at least in America

Great article on Slate about Free speech vs. hate speech.  I agree that it is hypocritical of many European countries to outlaw hate speech about the Holocaust or Jews or communist atrocities, but allow the denigration of Islam.  Which is why I think America has the best model - Free Speech for all.  You can make fun of anyone here.  You can hate anyone here.  Now, depending upon whom you are hating or making fun of, you may be ridiculed yourself.  But at least you have that right.

Americans have fought long and hard for these freedoms.  Because we realized that stopping these freedoms can start small.  It may sound like a good idea to make it illegal to use hate speech about Islam.  But if you include Islam, don't you have to include other religions?  What about  Baha'is?  In many Islamic countries Baha'is are discriminated against.  How many Muslims would support a law making hate speech against Baha'is illegal?  And it we outlawed hate speech against religions, then what about hate speech against our leaders?  Surely that would come next?  One of my favorite rights of being an American, is that if you hate the president, you can come right out and say so.  You just can't threaten his life.  As soon as you start curtailing such a simple right as what someone is allowed to say or think, you start down the road of telling them what they are allowed to say or think.  So think about that.

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