Monday, 14 December 2009

Free speech? Which one...

This sad little tale epitomises the problem of free speech in a supposedly free society. We are all allowed to express our opinions, and encouraged to tell the truth as we understand it - unless it's inconvenient for any reason.

By all means say what you think about foreign affairs. Oh, but wait a minute! For goodness' sake don't criticize our fine government, or show disrespect to our brave lads, or risk "giving comfort to the enemy".

Certainly give your free and open views about business and the economy. Oh, but we are facing a recession and huge government debt - so be sure not to "talk Britain down"!

Please of please engage in politics it is for the best of our society. But when talking about what most concerns people, immigration one is screamed down for being a dissenting racist scum.

There's always a reason to avoid upsetting people, implying criticism of the great or the good, or lowering public morale. And that can be used as a pretext to prevent the uttering of vital facts and figures.

I prefer the healthy attitude of the American Major General Carl Schurz: "Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right, when wrong to be put right." To respect your enemy is the first step to victory. How could you possibly win against an adversary which you thought inferior to yourself? Every military campaign in the history of military campaigns has stumbled on this lapse of megalomania; Napoleon, Hitler, Vietnam, Stalin, White's vs. Red's and so on and on...

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