Tuesday 9 August 2016
With the advent of a racist red-head and a human headline, together with other assorted prejudiced misfits being elected to the Senate, the subject of free speech has again entered the Australian political arena.
Both Pauline Hansen and Darren Hinch seem determined to raise the spectre of changing 18c.
Why you ask. Why indeed in an enlightened society would you enshrine in legislation the right to hate each other? If doing so demonstrates free speech in its extreme and purest sense then it cannot at the same time be enlightened.
It seems to me the opposite would be true of a truthfully enlightened society. An enlightened society is one in which the suggestion that we need to legislate one’s right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.
For me you cannot be an enlightened society and at the same time think that free speech allows everyone the right, in whatever medium of choice, to hate, demonise, slander, defame, libel, smear or whatever just because you have racist traits for example.
One Nations Malcolm Roberts said: “It’s very important to the country … because at the moment a lot of people are afraid to speak up.”
What absolute crap. As the law stands I know of no one who is restricted by free speech. The likes of Bolt, Jones, Hadley and others dispense their vile and nefarious spew on a daily basis with impunity.
I write almost on a daily basis restricted only by my sense of common decency and morality. I say what I think in a manner that I think is reasonable. I believe in fact and feelings and deliberately refrain from calumny.
So you have to ask yourself why Pauline Hansen, David Leyonhjelm and others want an expansion of free speech. Remember the Australian constitution only implies it. It doesn’t guarantee it.
Leyonhjelm, says he’ll push for the scrapping of the entire section of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to offend, insult or humiliate a person on the grounds of race.
“Free speech is free speech, there’s no qualification to it, let’s just remove 18C entirely and everything that goes with it,”
They can only want it because the existing law doesn’t allow them to demonstrate their hatred for others as much as they would like. They want more rope to be insulting, to be abusive, disgusting, and deliberately provocative.
The pity is that those who want it the most are those with the loudest voices, the largest pay packets, the biggest publishers, and the electronic media outlets with the resources to spread their odious loathing.
Those they attack have little capacity to raise their voice in self-defence.
Proof of it is when Leyonhjelm says “You have the choice of feeling another feeling. Offence is always taken, not given. If you don’t want to be offended it’s up to you, don’t be offended. We’re not responsible for the feelings of other people. None of us are.”
This is the same man who agrees with American gun laws and would like to see them duplicated here. That aside the last sentence of that statement both assaults and confronts the very essence of the principle of ‘’love thy neighbour’’ ‘’do unto others as you would have them do unto you’’
In reference to this statement Jenifer WiIson on this blog said; “I find this notion particularly quaint coming from Senator Leyonhjelm: if indeed we can choose not to be offended and insulted, why does he so frequently choose to be angry and aggressive in reaction to others he feels have offended him? Especially on Twitter. He can get quite foul in that medium.”
One Nations Malcolm Roberts also said that ‘’minorities wouldn’t be hurt or humiliated unless they chose to take offence’’
Both statements completely lack any understanding, any empathy for the human condition. That in the recipe of what we are, feelings, in whatever form, are as an important ingredient too our humanness as is our logic.
The fact is that we will never truly understand the effect Free Speech has on an individual until we have suffered from the abuse of it.
You cannot be an enlightened society and at the same time write into law the right to legally hate one another.
The pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded.
The original intent of free speech was to give a voice to the oppressed and to keep governments honest. In the United States, the first amendment is now used as a justification to incite racism, validate hatred and promote both religious and political bigotry.
In a democracy the right to free speech in given by the people through the government. Therefore, it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten both here and in the United States.
I have all the free speech I need. I have just used it.
My thought for the day.
‘Nothing matters in life so much as to live it decently.’