Saturday, October 28, 2006

Freedom to Offend

Why don't people understand that the freedom of speech includes the freedom to say offensive things?

Racist blogs targeting minority groups in Australia are springing up on the web, but Google's Blogger, the service some are hosted on, refuses to take them offline, says an anti racism lobby group.

"I think what Google intends is not to restrict people's freedom of speech," Mr Stokes said.

"But we're talking about bashing up brown people and defaming them. This isn't politics, this is terrorism."

Actually, I think its called prior restraint. I mean, if you can only say things that don't offend anyone you really don't need a right to defend that freedom do you?

There are limits to free speech, but it isn't really related to the words that are said but how they are said. If your words are going to cause immediate harm (and not the hurt-my-feelings kind of harm) then you can be accountable for the consequences of your speech.

But notice that there must be consequences before you can be accountable - these blogs don't seem to qualify.

Let these bigots speak their mind so that everyone knows they are bigots and can be marginalized publicly. If you push them underground their hatred will only fester until it evolves into real action - and that would truly be a crime.

No comments:

Post a Comment