Monday, February 06, 2006

My Right To Offend You

The ruckus over [really bad] political cartoons that depict the prophet Mohammed remind me why regulation of hate speech is such a bad idea.

When omnipotent legislatures get into the business of deciding what people can and cannot say it will always appear to favor some groups over others.  Muslims, on the whole, have a very defensible complaint that speech that Jews find offensive (Nazi imagery, holocaust denial) is against the law while speech that Muslims find offensive (portrayals of Mohammed) are not.

Such a discrepancy leaves one group with no option but to feel marginalized.  The answer is to make all speech legal – not to outlaw blasphemous speech – so that we can all feel offended together.

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