After the recent terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters, I recall a Muslim lady interviewed on the street say on TV news: "I am using my free speech to condemn the publishing of the offensive cartoons."
To put it another way, she was basically saying I will use my free speech to condemn the free speech of others. Sure the cartoons were not tasteful, and frankly offensive, but the point of the cartoons was to simply exercise one of the fundamental freedoms that she afforded herself. It is hypocritical to claim and exercise the right to free speech while essentially seeking to deny that right to others.
This is a form of arrogance or hubris but it is very common. When the shifting winds of majority political opinion favour certain views, people with an imposing self-righteousness take advantage of this favour to abusively pursue public conformity by removing their opponents' right to disagree and hold different views.
When there is consensus by nine out of ten people on a matter, it becomes ever more crucial to find out why the last person disagrees -- to hear his reasons, otherwise a crucial key to learning and discovery might be overlooked. Discovery itself rests on those individuals who separate themselves from the crowed to explore different ideas and try new things. To oppose freedom of speech, to raise and express one's own ideas or view, is to oppose truth and knowledge itself and the foundation for acquiring it.
Political cartoons such as the Charlie Hebdo cartoons have at least a vestige of truth behind the satire and ridicule, and thus the unpopular opinion should never be silenced, because of its potential to carry some important truth that the majority are overlooking.
In my perception it seems only people who are insecure about their views, and who might hold them for non-rational reasons, have a stronger penchant for resisting free speech and expression.
Such people probably know their views are false or mixed with half-truths, but because of some irrational or unhealthy desire and agenda, they hold to them anyway. Thus it is in the interests of these people to suppress the truth because when it comes to light, and is explained, it holds more weight and persuasive power than a fabrication. Paul said that many people suppress the truth due to the evil in their hearts, and this is the sort of duplicity and cunning we live with today.
Political correctness is the manifestation of this duplicity. Not offending others has become more important than the truth. Emotions and feeling good psychologically in our culture trump the cold hard truth. Identifying the root causes of many social problems might offend people so they are never addressed, i.e. truth is left to the way side in exchange for sentiment that feels good, and is easier to hear.
One of the major threats we face today is a totalitarian form of law and tyranny that many extremists amidst us and in the Middle East seek to impose over the world. They require our forced submission to their false god -- which includes blasphemy laws or the western equivalent of hate speech laws.
This dogma of forced submission to religious laws and their brutal enforcement is directly opposed to democracy and free speech, and thus needs to be resisted. But because of the Politically Correct (feel good over truth) mentality, those who cause offence by speaking out (Charlie Hebdo) are bullied into silence. We must raise our voices and resist the bullying (in this case terrorism) into silence.
Inevitably as this clash of the Western and Middle Eastern civilisations escalates, each party will either hold or loosen its grip on their defining principles: Submission and adherence to fundamentalist Islam, or liberty and democracy. When the terrorist strikes increase in number, will we give in to our fears and silence material that offends them or will we stay true to our defining values and speak out to defend them?
Amos is an evangelical conservative, who cares about where the world is going, and seeks to understand why it is happening, especially in light of prophecy and the spiritual powers behind the scenes. Amos currently lives in Auckland New Zealand. Amos pursues salvation for the lost, and considers himself a defender of traditional Christian values, liberal democracy and the historically unprecedented freedom and liberty established and defended by our forebears – which unfortunately, is gradually being eroded.
Amos Sale's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/amos-sale.html