Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Is it time to redefine Freedom of Speech it in terms of our changing political morality?

Asks Cath Elliot in a column in the Guardian's online CommentIsFree interesting as much for some of the comments, as the article itself. To quote her:
The laws on hate speech, discrimination, libel and harassment were introduced for good reason. Would the so-called libertarians who defend Nick Griffin's right to call Islam a "wicked, vicious faith" also have defended Hitler's right to say of the Jews: "the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew"? When faced with the reality of the Holocaust, and with the Rwandan genocide, which was encouraged and fuelled by radio propaganda, would these same libertarians be quite so keen to maintain that words alone have no power to corrupt? Do they honestly believe that no one needs protecting from vile and pernicious racist, misogynistic, or homophobic hate speech?
In answer I would defend Nick Griffin's position and Hitler's, but not now. So, instead, I will point to Deborah Lipstadt, known for winning the court case against Holocaust Denier David Irving, who says in SpikedOnline
"When an editor at the Washington Post heard that I oppose laws criminalising Holocaust and, by extension, genocide denial, he observed: ‘Now that’s a “man bites dog” story.’
All in all, the latter is a better article.


Hellbound Alleee said...

What in the world is "political morality?" I'm convinced that it has very little to do with actual morality, which changes only in politicians' storybooks.

Also, one can only "redefine" freedom of anything in those same political storybooks. We already have freedom. The redefining part means that certain people feel we are afforded those freedoms at the end of a gun. Fairytales.

martino said...

Yes what is political morality indeed?. I think the lead article I quoted was poor but since the comments were open I wanted to draw attention to it as comments could still be made. My real reason for this post was to point out the second article, which is not so fresh but interesting nonetheless.

I am trying a new style of blogging, at least for me, short snappy responses to news alerts I get. Might still need some tuning :-)