Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In Defense of Free Speech


Recently a film trailer has sparked protests, some though not all violent, around the middle east. In the name of diplomacy none of my elected officials have responded in the way I desire so I will now say what I wish they had.

We the American people since our founding have held sacrosanct certain rights. These rights run parallel to our cultural identity and determine who we as a people believe we are. Among these are freedom of speech.

While our government does have a voice it has no duty nor prerogative to police the speech of the individuals under its sovereignty.

This includes satirization and provocative speech. Verbal provocation does not completely indemnify someone against the consequences of their actions. United States diplomats are dead not at the hands of the filmmaker but at the hands of his murderers.

The threat of violence can not and shall not be used as a mechanism to force us as a country to retreat from our values. While we as a people respect the Muslim religion, and all religions we shall not police the voices of individuals who do not.

It is seldom that we need to protect non-provocative speech, and in surrendering provocative speech we cross a cultural line that we hold dear by creating another. By declaring what is alright to say and not to say in a legal context we are giving up one of our most cherished legal and cultural lodestones.

In summation, I do not agree with what the filmmakers said, but I shall fight to the death to defend their right to say it.

P.S. Further recent developments regarding Sam Basile seem to have to do more with previous issues than the current diplomatic quagmire. 

Note: A previous version of this post misspelled  Sam Basile's name.

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