I find the entire notion of entirely free speech a whole load of garbage.
And to use the same tactic this person used, to say “I don’t mean to suggest that the filmmakers behind the anti-Muslim movie are courageous or wise because they’re not. But…”, he’s basically suggesting that there’s nothing wrong with what the filmmakers did. There is obviously a huge problem here.
And the last paragraph sounded so flippant. Sure, by all means, let’s do just that. That was a totally convincing push for defending the large majority of the Muslim population. One miserable sentence after a long post shooting down other people who’re trying to stand up for them.
I’d also like to point out regarding the point about the law not being equally applied and therefore the filmmaker should not be guilty, that it could also work the other way and instead of the filmmaker not being held guilty, shouldn’t those in power who are irresponsibly inciting violence be punished even more severely?
Really, people who, despite knowing full well the impact their words will have on large numbers of people, still wield that power irresponsibly are scum of the earth.
I understand that it’s difficult to draw the line. To what extent should people be censored? Why should we put the power of censoring the majority into the hands of the minority? Won’t they just abuse that power and censor us to their advantage, as foolish humans are wont to? Honestly, I have no answers to any of those. I despair at the state of humanity.
I believe that free speech, like everything else in this world, can’t be had in its entirety. Nothing is good if taken excessively. Theoretically, the complete freedom of speech is a great thing. You can say what you want, anywhere and anyhow you wish because it’s a right you’re born with. But like everything theoretical, there are underlying assumptions. Freedom of speech is a good thing if everyone has a good conscience reminding them of what they should or should not say. However, knowing human nature, that is simply an impossible assumption. Delving further, one can even argue that the moral paradigms are different for different people. Basically, there will always be conflict and disagreement. And if people don’t know how to be discerning and responsible readers and contributors, the tendency towards violent outbreaks will always exist. Rather than continue needlessly causing deaths, I’d rather a little censorship to make this world a little less scary to live in.
That said, I also wish that the minority of the Muslim population responsible for endangering the lives of the remaining majority of their brothers and sisters would just wake the fuck up and read the Quran properly.
Your response is loaded with personal opinions about what is acceptable speech, how the Quran should be “properly interpreted,” the definition of “a good conscience,” the definition of a “discerning and responsible” contributor, etc. One can’t define these ideas and then impose his or her own standards on everyone else, hence the need for free speech. Even if certain speech could be designated as dangerous or irresponsible, who gets to make that decision? A majority of voters? The President? What if the majority of Americans or the President is wrong or they change their minds? Shall we punish violators of “proper” speech and then revoke the punishment after the fact?
The response to Salman Rushdie’s work caused riots and death threats as well. Shall we ban his work due to the behavior of a mob? Should we ban South Park episodes that depict Muhammad? Will we begin censoring political cartoons in case someone takes offense and attempts to murder a cartoonist? Why should we regulate our speech to meet the approval of a murderous mob?
Of course, there are legal repercussions to issuing a death threat or using speech to commit fraud, committing slander, committing copyright violations, etc. But this film doesn’t violate any of those restrictions. And in any case, those restrictions occur only when one person’s right to free speech trespasses on another person’s rights.
You’re also continuing to assume that the film really did cause the initial attacks in Libya, an assumption which is rapidly being debunked by emerging evidence, which means the film doesn’t meet the standard of inciting imminent lawless action. (This would be very difficult to prove even if the embassy attacks weren’t planned in advance).
Finally, you quote me as writing: “I don’t mean to suggest that the filmmakers behind the anti-Muslim movie are courageous or wise because they’re not. But…” in an attempt to make it seem as if I went on to defend the content of the film. What I actually wrote was: “I don’t mean to suggest that the filmmakers behind the anti-Muslim movie are courageous or wise because they’re not. But I mean to invoke the rule of unintended consequences.” I wrote this to make sure that readers didn’t think I was equating the filmmakers with my historical examples of Jefferson, Paine, and Douglass. The people responsible for the content of the film are ignorant bigots.
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