Free Speech: it includes the right to say things you don’t like.

25 05 2008

RenEv has a great post up about this right now.

You know, people are always really surprised when I say I don’t support hate speech laws.

I’m no fan of bigots. Really. In fact, I think racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, ableists, and other miscellaneous bigots are some of the stupidest, most dislikeable people on the planet. So, naturally, I’m no big fan of hate speech. Really. Especially since a lot of it targets me, being of the Jewish persuasion and a big ol’ gay and all.

But you know what? I’m a civil liberties advocate, and will defend your right to say stuff I don’t like. The way I see it, the harm caused by censoring speech usually outweighs the benefits.

The problem with censoring “offensive” speech is that it’s often a slippery slope. And, in a world that hates “non-conforming” people, guess who’s going to be the most frequent target of heavy-handed laws? I mean, most anti-pornography ordinances, allegedly to “protect women” (and I have ranted about this numerous times), end up targeting porn made for women by women. Oh, the irony.

My school just banned replica weapons, and cursing, in all school drama productions. While it is a high school, and therefore, different than say, a whole country, I still think the whole situation is stupid. Dumbing down theatre so someone’s feelings don’t get hurt? It’s, well, dumb. Not showing or talking about violence doesn’t get rid of it; it merely sweeps it under the rug.

Truthfully, there are quite a few things I find offensive. But what I find more offensive than anything is having my freedom taken away.

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7 responses

25 05 2008
queerunity

AMEN! You make me want to donate more to the ACLU!

25 05 2008
Nolittlelolita

You have the free speech to say anything you like.

I have the free speech to challenge it.

25 05 2008
missnomered

Nolittlelolita: yeah, totally.

There’s a big difference between saying ‘You know, I don’t like what you said’, and taking (criminal, not civil) legal action against someone for saying it. I mean, look at John Stagliano’s obscenity case – I think misogynistic porn is not good, I wouldn’t watch it, nor do I condone it – but the fact that someone could be put in prison for up to 30 years, when said porn was made with consenting adults, is totally ridiculous.

26 05 2008
queerunity

I am on of the few people who support Phelps right to protest at funerals. Obviously he is disgusting but we cannot infringe upon his free speech rights. So long as he is outside the church or funeral home, he is not breaking any laws.

26 05 2008
Tirade

So your school just passed a law saying that they can’t do Romeo and Juliet. Lovely.

Unless they can find a way to do a duel to the death with pogo sticks or something.

… actually, come to think of it, I’d watch that.

MERCUTIO
I am pogo’d.
A plague o’ both your houses! I am sprung.
Is he gone, and hath nothing?

BENVOLIO
What, art thou pogo’d?

MERCUTIO
Ay, ay, a boing, a boing; marry, ’tis enough.
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.

27 05 2008
Tirade

A rule, rather, not a law. Governments pass laws. Schools have rules. 😛

18 06 2008
Meninges

Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

cheers, Meninges.

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