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July 13, 2020 / Congau

Freedom of Gibberish

The spirit of free speech does not extend to the right to use so-called bad and offensive language. That is not to say that swearing and cursing should be outlawed, far from it, it just serves to show that free speech is not about speech. I personally have no problem with swearwords and some may even occasionally pass my lips, but I don’t insist on my essential right to utter profanities, since I don’t really mean anything when I say it. Neither do I demand my absolute right to step on people’s toes or other activities that would give me no particular gratification. A principle is never for the sake of principle, and everything that is allowed is not an invitation to do it.

But when I have a real opinion about something, I feel the urge to express it in a deeper sense than I am drawn towards ice cream and f-words. An idea is something inside me that wants to come out, and for it to be a proper need, it must be something real. If I don’t understand the meaning of my own utterance, it is hardly anything I can’t do without.

It’s difficult to have a law against blasphemy in modern secular society, but that doesn’t mean it should be protected or encouraged. The attitude in some circles of the enlightened West have been to challenge the narrowmindedness of the Eastern Muslims by pronouncing words or showing pictures that are known to provoke a reaction. By such action they are not exercising their freedom of speech since their “speech” has no meaning for them. They are evidently not expressing any ideas of their own and accordingly they have no need of either support or protection.

Freedom of speech only protects what can be conceived as speech, that is, words that have a meaning for the speaker.

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