Freedom of Expression…
We who value our freedom, continue to give them away, one by one in such subtle ways that we do not realize it. The very thing that so many have lived and died for, have spilled blood for, to protect, to save for us….we are letting slip away in the guise of tolerance, in the guise of empathy.
Every time a hate speech law is enacted, we are putting another chain upon the illusion we hope to maintain of that precious gift of freedom of expression.
Are we in fact, working backwards?
We are promoting , do not bully. Anti bullying. And we are forgetting to teach instead, conflict resolution, or how to respond when you are bullied. How not to let another be able to hurt you with words.
We are trading in tough skin, and the ability to handle life, for a bubble to wrap around ourselves to protect us from the boo-boos, the infections of words. Words are powerless unless WE give them meaning.
We should be teaching our children to be strong in who they are, and the power of words, responsibility, and that we each are responsible for our selves. Not for others, and what words they choose, but how we respond to them.
Our greatest tools are to combat words with greater words.
If you take away the freedom of one person, what is to stop Your freedom from being next?
Nothing says it better than Rowan Atkins…
“Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people: they are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with preferably outside the legal process. For me, the best way to increase society’s resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it. As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed.
We need to build our immunity to taking offence, so that we can deal with the issues that perfectly justified criticism can raise. Our priority should be to deal with the message, not the messenger. As President Obama said in an address to the United Nations a month or so ago: ‘…laudable efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech’ and that is the essence of my thesis; more speech. If we want a robust society, we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult or to offend.”