I’m offended by those crying they’re offended.
This is something that I’ve been saying for ages. In order for a free society to exist, people have to hear things that every now and then, they don’t necessarily agree with, and that at times even find offensive and repugnant. We already have laws on the books to handle cases of individuals slandering another, the bar is set rather high for the proof
Hate speech laws, that basically amount to state control of opinions that it finds offensive, and at time they really are repugnant, are actually counterproductive to the overall well being of the civil and free society. There are plenty mechanisms in place in the free market of opinion and ideas to relegate unsocial, unwanted attitudes and opinions to the periphery of mainstream thought.
The total freedom of the individual to discriminate against bigotry, racism and other unwanted ideas or mutterings, in the end, rests with the people themselves, individually. We the people are the sole arbitrators of what we want to hear on the radio or hear and see on TV. If it’s found to be offensive, it’s turned off, if a newspaper continues to promote a certain offensive agenda the subscription is terminated.
I for one regularly avoid the state news on the YLE, Finland’s state radio/TV broadcasting channels, due to its outright biased news reporting as well as in its regular TV programming. What bothers me the most about YLE, is that I am forced to pay by the state for its upkeep, around 250 Euros a year. That is the most offensive thing of all, and I have no say in it whatsoever. Pay up or else.
Taking offense: The right to free speech
If people want a free society and free speech, they must defend the right to offend
I want to be offended. Yes, you’ve read that right. I want to be offended.
As a white, educated, English male I sit here listening to the radio, waiting to be offended. I mean, why not? Everyone seems to get offended – be they black, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, gay, atheist, female, handicapped, or Liverpudlian. Have I missed anyone? Sorry to offend you if I have.
Everyone else seems to have the right to be offended. Why can’t I? I don’t seem to have the right.
Oh, I can be angry. I’m allowed to be angry about the state of the NHS, the ignorance of officialdom, the state of education, Europe, and tax, for example. But where’s my right to be offended? After all, haven’t we got free speech, or is it reserved for certain groups of people?
The problem with free speech is that you have to agree with all of it or none at all. Many like to pay lip service to free speech, but only on their terms.
Take the BNP. Now, as an individualist and a believer of free markets and a small state, that party is the antithesis of all I believe in. But, should it have its funding curtailed? Should it be banned from party electoral broadcasts (PEB)?
Of course not. Back in 1997 there were calls for the BNP to be banned from having a PEB despite qualifying as a legitimate party with the requisite candidates. In recent years, there were calls for the BBC to stop Nick Griffin from being on Question Time and now the European Parliament seeks to stop funding to ‘far-right’ parties.
Aside from the ludicrous claim that the BNP is ‘far-right’, and the idiocy of state funding for parties in the first place, it is fundamental to free speech that the BNP is treated like any other party. That is to say, take their policies, examine them, and take them apart. Show how their policies are wrong.
By removing its legitimate rights as a legitimate political party, not only do we create the martyr clause – victimhood seemingly being the only growth industry at the moment – but far more importantly we take yet another step to the removal of free speech.
People want the BNP banned because they disagree with the party. But where does it stop? The English Defence League, Ukip, the Tories? Hell, those Liberals look a bit dodgy with their orange book lot, don’t they?