Censorship supported

Whenever I hear about another news story where someone has been arrested for being “grossly offensive” on social media, I become worried not because there are people who make sick jokes, but because so many people seem to support the reactions of the authorities.

© terminallychll

A mark of a true democracy is the freedom to say what you like, be as offensive as you please and live safely in the knowledge that the state will not try to silence you.

There is, of course, one exception, which is the incitement of violence against others, which no civilised nation would accept as the norm, but this is the only exception.

When people argue in favour of such a response by the authorities, you are on the side of the tyrant, you are in favour of oppression and that so many seem to be on this side is worrying for the future of what could once have been called one of the greatest democracies on Earth.

When a nation embarks on that slippery path with so many supporting it, you become blind to the inevitable consequences. Rather than worry about potentially being arrested for saying something which may fall on the wrong side of the law, you must show greater concern for the fact that such laws are even on the books.

5 Comments

  1. Hmm… I think suppression of any speech is a step too far. I have no problem with people/loons inciting violence, what I have a problem with is the act of violence. Once you begin suppressing freedom of speech, for any reason, you’re stepping into murky waters which it becomes difficult to leave. And I’d say Britain is now waste deep in said waters.

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    1. Quite! When I tried to justify my mischievous actions as a kid by stating that “so and so told me to do it” the reply (probably also accompanied with a now illegal smack!) was one of “if so and so told you to stick your hand in a fire would you do that as well!”

      The permanently offended – generously on the behalf of others of course, were obviously also never taught as a kid that “sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me” – Fools.

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  2. I agree with Rob. Here’s Professor Rothbard on the case:

    Genuine libertarians believe in completely free speech for all people (segregationists as well as Communists) and insist that it be conjoined with economic and other aspects of individual freedom. I would even go further than most simon-purists and reject the concept of “incitement to riot” as a justification for suppression. Anyone who believes in free will (as Mr. Meyer clearly does) must believe that each man is fully responsible for his own actions, and therefore cannot pin any blame for his crime on some other fellow’s “incitement.”

    Would I never punish speech under any circumstances? Only when this speech is a direct threat of criminal action. In short, if I walk over to someone menacingly and say that I will kill him unless he hands me his wallet, I am committing a direct threat of crime, and this is properly punishable by a jury. I believe that such actions have always been punished at law, without benefit of Smith Acts, or fancy “criteria.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard65.html

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