(Updated – see bottom)
No, this is not another post about the cartoons and the violence that followed. Instead, I’ll present three unrelated cases of what I consider extremities of Freedom of Speech – going to far, or none.
1.) Right-wing British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison Monday after admitting to an Austrian court that he denied the Holocaust — a crime in the country where Hitler was born. He is 67 years old, was arrested last year for a speech he made in 1989 in Austria. The Holocaust is a historical fact, a disaster in human history, and source of long-lasting shame and guilt especially in Germany and Austria. That said, it was a speech, and should be dealt with accordingly: ignore the old fool, or challenge him at any public forum. But nobody should go to prison for years for simply expressing their views, however stupid and insensitive they are.
2.) Forget the old fool, look at these cute girls … aren’t they adorable? So innocent-looking. Who would believe they are Prussian Blue, a white-supremacist band performing all around the US, and publishing their CD’s full of hate-lyrics like this:
“Soon will come a great war, A bloody, but holy day. And after that purging, Our people will be free… And the forests will echo our grace, For the brand new dawn of our Race.”
“Aryan man awake, How much more will you take, Turn that fear to hate, Aryan man awake.”
“Let the cities burn, let the streets run red, if you ain’t white you’ll be dead.”
Quotes from the “Nazi Olsen Twins” (as they are often referred to) : “Men like Adolf Hitler and Rudolph Hess are heroes to our cause…Adolf Hitler was a great man who was only trying to preserve his own race in his own country.”
The girls can freely perform and call for violent acts all in the name of Freedom of Speech.
3.) Just how far does our Freedom of Speech go? The Rolling Stones were censored during their halftime performance at the Super Bowl XL in Detroit. TV censors deemed two lyrics too sexually explicit to be broadcast and they were cut from the three-song show. During “Start Me Up,” the racy last line about a woman so hot, “you make a dead man come,” was silenced. A whole generation grew up listening to the Stones. Hundreds of millions have heard Start Me Up, including the censored line… they were not about to say anything new. Let me say this again: in the same country where the neo-nazi hateful trash can be performed, the Rolling Stones get censored.
Something’s wrong, terribly wrong here.
Update (2/20): Related posts:
- On Freedom of Speech and Fundamentals
- Is there a double standard on “thought crime?”
- IRVING’S SENTENCE
- British Holocaust Denier Gets Three Years Jail Sentence
- Europeans Fake Their Stand On Principle
- Man gets three years in prison for being a moron
- Deny the Holocaust and Go To Jail
- Is this really what a free society does?
- David Irving
- Mick Was Stiffed
- The Watcher watches the Grammys
- Rolling Stones Deny That They Agreed to Censorship of Super Bowl Halftime Songs
- The Stones Play It Rich in China
Update (2/21): A really thoughtful article about Mohammed Cartoon Madness and Understanding. Freedom of Speech is a right that should not be abused. Some things can not be regulated by law, but should be subject to self-control, common wisdom, decency, respect for others. Duncans comment below made me realize I didn’t express myself clearly: self-control, respect .. etc are subjective, and I did not mean those to be enforced by some outside authority, but the persons exercising their rigth to Free Speech.