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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Freedom of Speech 



I'm posting this to make a point.

Freedom of speech must be defended and respected.

I don't think printing these cartoons was necessarily the brightest move of the 21st century, but I'm reposting them here in solidarity with those exercising their right to speak freely.

Furthermore, we should not be jailing people for denying the holocaust. We should shun them, push back, explain that they are wrong and why. But we should not muzzle them or prosecute them. It is a repugnant view, but one should have the right to express even the most repugnant of views. KKK coming to town? Counterprotest. Shame them. But don't run to daddy government to shut them up, or one day he might shut you up, too.

I also think it's foolish to advocate criminal punishment for those who criticize a religion. This is inconsistent with personal liberty, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. The ability to criticize religion, as with the state, is a requirement for a free society. Furthermore, just because a Muslim may not depict the prophet (though the consensus on even that bright line doesn't appear rock solid) doesn't mean I may not. Should I stop eating pork, too? What about saying "God damn it!" Can I still do that even though it violates the religious beliefs of some?

Think the dictates of your religion apply to me? Think I fall within the jurisdiction of your deity? Fuck that. I have the right to build a golden statue shaped like the adopted son of a hypothetical homosexual marriage between Jesus and Mohammed, call the thing "Fuckstick the Blasphemous Idol of Heresy" and pray loudly to it. Do I think that such a thing would be wise, considerate, or pleasant? No. Of course not. And I wouldn't do it. But no authority should claim power to punish me for doing so. I suppose the faithful might take heart in the belief that I will get my come uppins in the hereafter, but let that get sorted by the appropriate authority. That authority is not the state. The appropriate authority for dealing with affronts to the supernatural must be supernatural. I don't take a position on the existence of such an authority, but if you believe it to exist then it would follow, it seems, that you could trust it to sort out my behavior when the appropriate time comes.

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