Because of something I read recently in The Needs of the Few, I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom of speech.
Saying what we please is one of our most fundamental rights, and people do use and, some would argue, abuse, the right.
Under the guise of “political satire” some guy “recently posted pictures of candidates’ underage daughters and granddaughters along with a “cuteness” rating as a method to handicap the Presidential race.” (to quote the Collective)
Thing is this guy is a self professed pedophile.
Now, as I said in the comments to The Needs of the Few, I’m all for freedom of speech. But I’m really uncomfortable with this. From anyone else it would have just seemed stupid, but from a pedophile? Beyond serious discomfort. I know someone who was abused by a pedophile at a young age. I won’t go into what I think should be done to these people, 'cause it ain’t pretty.
So, where do we draw the line? I know the cliché that your freedom stops where the next guy’s freedom starts. And I know that some things should not be allowed.
Who decides what can be said on a public forum? Who decides what is too much? Should some things be censored? What, by whom, and again, who decides?
My knee jerk reaction would be that people like the guy above should not have the right to say a damn thing, ever, anywhere. But then what? Doesn’t that open the way to censorship?
If some things should be censored, doesn’t that imply that the public is too stupid to put things in perspective, to realize how ridiculous and sometimes downright insane some of what is said truly is? And think hard before saying “of course they’re stupid” because you are, after all, part of that public.
If we start censoring on a more or less large scale, where does it stop?
I have no answers. But then I rarely do.
*picture from stockphoto.com