Why Do You Hate Freedom?
Where #JeSuisCharlie Went All Wrong
With the world transfixed to their TV screens watched coverage of the events in Paris as Islamic terrorists brutally murdered the cartoonists of the prolific satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who published a controversial image of the prophet Muhammad. Though images of Muhammad are not explicitly banned, prominent Islamic views have long opposed human depiction. Some Muslims take the view that the satire of Islam and the Muslim prophet is blasphemy and forbidden and that it can be punishable by death, worryingly these views have gained traction among many militant Islamic groups.
Following an extensive manhunt which culminated in a hostage situation, the terrorist threat was extinguished with military precision. What resulted however was something I and many others did not expect, the birth of #JeSuisCharlie. Lovers of freedom celebrated as this may be the moment where the world would recognise the right to a fundamental right of freedom of free speech after it was savagely attacked. However we got out hopes up far too high and far too quickly.
#JeSuisCharlie, was twisted by those claiming to defend the intrinsic freedoms we have and are now too scared to exercise through fear of reprisal by a heard of angry keyboard warriors. They believe they are defending peoples sensibilities but were in fact doing great harm to the very essence of freedom that we must defend, I call them faux-liberals.
There was a worrying string of thought creeping into the zeitgeist not long after the manhunt had ended. I first noticed it on CNN’s coverage then on the BBC’s own dissection of the terrorist assault, that it was somehow the fault of Charlie Hebdo for publishing the ‘blasphemous’ cartoon. That by publishing they were responsible for the attack that culminated in the deaths of twelve people and the deadliest terrorist attack in France. The chain of thought centred on the premise that they had insulted the terrorists beliefs and were therefore culpable. Whilst this is not only a horrible way to view terrorism and an insult to those who lost their lives, it is an affront to those of us are true lovers of the freedom of speech.
We must however remember this is not the first time a cartoon has sparked such outrage. The Jyllands-Posten cartoon sparked controversy on an international level with the world pulling itself apart over something as nonsensical as offence. It seems today that everyone wants to stop pictures, thoughts or comments if they have hurt their own or someone else’s feelings. Everyone seems to be easily offended, whether it be through race, sexual orientation or religious inclination — which seems to be the touchiest of all. Our faux-liberals have stolen the issue of causing offence by claiming anyone who dares to descent against their political correctness crusade as some kind of untouchable who should be ostracised from society.
There is hope though, all is not lost, we can claim back our freedom . The faux-liberals say that speech is not free, that there is no freedom of speech because you can’t shout fire in a public place or hate crime legislation and that because of this we should just simply keep curtailing it. To the people who support this view we should ask them one simple question, why do you hate freedom? Is it that you are offended or think that what I have offend someone else and you see it an outrage?. The words you hear may be outrageous or indeed offensive but the very notion of outrageousness is ultimately subjective when it comes to political, religious and social matters. For when we exercise our right of free speech the listener or reader can exercise their same freedom to either denounce or support what they have just bared witness to. This freedom fosters a greater exchange of ideas. I have always believed that we our sovereign over our minds and entitled to express our own hearts and for human society to better itself, for us to learn, we must be able to express ourselves free of constraint or we will stagnate.
The faux-liberal scaremonger about the slippery slope to moral chaos if we quash the legislation on the suppression of speech. That we will descend into a lawless culture flinging nonsensical insults at each other. However whilst they fear the slippery slope they have neglected the greased precipice they have left us on, scrambling for footing against a greater peril. For once you start to regulate speech, you regulate thought and then you begin to regulate access to information, it is a quick decent to toward censorship and book burning. Yet what books should we be burning? How about the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, were there is frequent use of racist language, yet it is arguably the most renowned work on what it was like to be a black man in nineteenth century America. Should we burn Moby Dick, Catch-22, Fahrenheit 451 or Catcher in the Rye? As all of these use language our faux-liberals have campaigned vehemently against.
Now do not miss understand my view, I am very aware that words are loaded terms and that propaganda is not a game, with many sprouting hateful views on race and religion. Yet the faux-liberals have lifted up one form of this ‘hate’ speech above all others, Holocaust denial. They have elevated such idiotic speech to such an important role they have even, in a raft of countries legislated against such speech. Our faux-liberal friends have given a to people who preach such nonsense when no sane person can suspect that this is serious intelligible comment. In essence we are going to elevate Holocaust deniers in order to bring them down rather than simply ignoring them and dismissing them as backward fools.
The more pertinent question to ask ourselves is who gives the people who have set up a chair in the alcoves of our minds the right to sit and judge what we’re allowed to say and think? How does it avail civilisation to fight fascists with fascist tactics. I do not believe that if you let people run around loose they are going to have nice ideas and say nice things to each other because that is not what people do but the faux-liberals response is to cut out the peoples tongue and regulate what we should say, which we should all fear.
The faux-liberals seem to assume that it was at times ok to be racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic because such ideas are a thing of the past; we have rooted out such blasphemous thought from society. The presumption that they are the most civilised and therefore speak in the name of civility I for one think this is extremely dangerous. It returns to the point that because speech is limited we must put ourselves in charge of limiting it.
Those of us who don’t want to limit speech are not advocating it to insult people for the sake of insulting, we want free speech to avail ourselves of the people who say ‘I disagree with you’. Limiters of speech are deliberately obstructing the free exchange of ideas because they don’t want to listen to people who disagree with them. It is the vice of those who want to limit opinion make themselves prisoners of their own because they have denied themselves the means of changing it.
The fundamental freedom of choice must always prevail and be the freedom that gives birth to lifestyle we can enjoy. Our faux-liberal friends started with the best of intentions but got lost along the way and to paraphrase Nietzsche ‘whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.’
So you now must ask yourself are you strong enough to listen to something or read something and make up your own mind or do you want someone else to do that for you? Are you willing to open the door to censorship and if you are, who will you appoint to say I know how far is too far? With the faux-liberals infecting our university campuses, clogging up our Twitter feeds, demanding apologies and in some cases forcing the closure of businesses, are you willing to stand up and ask them, why do you hate freedom? Why do you support censorship? why do you support restricting the exchange of opinion? Who made you judge and jury of my thoughts? Will you stand up for freedom as it needs your help.