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July 14, 2020 / Congau

Unspoken Freedom

The tolerance of free speech seems unlimited, until it reaches its limit. Anything imaginable is allowed to be published, any meaningless utterance, random picture, anything that may offend intolerant religions and uncultured people. We in the West know what tolerance is, and since we have the power, we insist on teaching them a lesson. The bully refuses to be bullied.

But since we know what tolerance is, we don’t tolerate intolerance. No one is allowed to pronounce words that show disrespect for certain people; that is called hate speech, and such we cannot accept. The free speech has reached its limit.

Now, I don’t have any sympathy for derogatory remarks about minority groups and foreigners, but if free speech really meant anything, such opinions, although distasteful, must also be permitted. As long as they are actual opinions, articulated in an understandable language, it qualifies as speech and must be free.

Let’s say someone claims that immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa spread disease in Europe. That is probably a racist remark, and completely untrue, at least according to my information, but free speech was never meant only to protect truth. If that were the case, a totalitarian state punishing “untrue” agitation against the government, would be a champion of free speech. It also shouldn’t matter if all the scientists in the world were against such an opinion. It has happened before that a lone inventor has introduced a new theory that was first condemned and later accepted, so if we were honest about this principle, nothing, even the most outrageous opinion, can be suppressed. Maybe it’s an expression of hatred (it probably is), maybe it has no scientific foundation (it probably hasn’t), but who am I to say.

An opinion is speech since it can be formulated with words. Contrast that to a picture that is just offensive without expressing an opinion about anything.

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