This man is a cancer

I'm getting a bit fed up with all of the people who don't understand the concept of freedom of speech.

Yes, it's going to be one of those posts.

There's a couple of interesting incidents out in the wilds (I hesitate to say "hinterlands", but mainly because I don't think that way of Austria, and I don't want to lump them in with the rest of the places at issue) of the world. You may have heard of them. There's the (by now) infamous incident with the Danish editorial cartoons causing riots and bloodshed... Oh, sorry, no. Just to be clear, that bloodshed? Those riots? The threats? Those are the works of madmen, not cartoonists. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to differentiate the two.

Anyway... Back on track... There's the cartoons, and then there's this twit over in Austria, deliberately flouting their laws against Holocaust denial to promulgate bald-faced lies about the occurrence of the Nazi extermination of some large number of Jews.

So... What's the most common refrain? Well, on one hand we have people who are all for freedom of speech, and then on the other hand we have people who are all for freedom of speech.

What the fuck, you ask?

Well, see, that last group "believe in free speech, but..."

Beware of anyone who prefaces a statement with that line. They probably don't have your best interests at heart, and they're a liar, to boot.

Here's the skinny, and I know that this comes as no news to most of those that read here, but nonetheless: Free Speech means (and, in fact, rests firmly upon and is rendered meaningless without) the right to say things that terrify, disgust, demean, insult, and verbally violate all that you hold dear. The more offensive an utterance is, the more important it is that the speaker be free to say it, without fear of violence or of censorship. That isn't to say that they should be immune to censure -- that's how mind-blowingly stupid pronouncements like "Auschwitz's Crematorium Two, the site of half a million deaths, is 'a mere legend'" should be greeted. Ridicule is another good response. As is simply ignoring the speaker. But silencing your critics is... well, there's a couple of interesting 20th century events that might be informative on the subject. I leave that, too, as an exercise for the reader.

In short, freedom of speech is not just freedom to agree with the people who have more guns.

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