Freedom of Speech Matters

Freedom of Speech Matters November 29, 2021

H/T to Salon Beige on a European freedom of speech ruling that’s being used by Algeria to justify to the UN the imprisonment of religious dissenters.  English language summary of the case is here.

Very short version:

I haven’t been able to dig up a copy of Algeria’s statement yet, but the reputed contents are indeed consistent in kind, though not in degree, with the ruling on the case in Austria:

The woman in her late 40s, identified only as E.S., claimed during two public seminars in 2009 that the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to a young girl was akin to “pedophilia.” A Vienna court convicted her in 2011 of disparaging religious doctrines, ordering her to pay a 480-euro ($547) fine, plus costs. The ruling was later upheld by an Austrian appeals court.

The ECHR said the Austrian court’s decision “served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace.”

What’s the difference between a western democracy and a theocratic despotism?  Less and less with each concession to utilitarianism.

Readers: Freedom of speech is worth preserving.  Yes, it means that wrong-headed ideas will circulate and gain adherents.  But without freedom of speech, you lose the ability to fight backYour ability to say what is true and good becomes dependent on how fashionable your message is and how neatly it fits with the interests of those in power.

That’s not a world you want to live in.

File:Save freedom of speech. Buy war bonds.jpg

Image: Norman Rockwell’s painting from The Saturday Evening Post of a man speaking from the audience at a town meeting in New England, used for a propaganda poster entitled “Save Freedom of Speech Buy War Bonds” circa 1943, via Wikimedia, public domain.  

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