Politically Correct Thinking And The Threat To Free Speech

Ian R Thorpe By Ian R Thorpe, 8th May 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/eztjs4oh/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

When I heard that the actor, writer, wit and raconteur Stephen Fry faces prosecution in Ireland for an alleged blasphemy contained in what seem to me fairly innocuous remarks, it reminded me that recently an anti blasphemy law was enacted in that so called liberal utopia, Canada. Blasphemy a crime in this secular century. What's going on?

Why Is Free Speech So Important?

British comedian and actor Stephen Fry, an intelligent and fair minded man, is in trouble for alleged blasphemy. Following complaints from some viewers about remarks made by Mr. Fry on the subject of religion, he is now the subject of a a criminal investigation by Irish police for alleged blasphemy.

During an edition of the talk show The Meaning of Life, hosted by veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne, in February 2015, the comedian was asked what he might say to God at the gates of heaven.

Fry, who is not a religious man, answered: "How dare you create a world in which there is such misery? It's not our fault? It's not right. It's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?"

He went on to say "the god who created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish".

He has explained that he was not directing his remarks at any particular religion and was simply stating his own opinion. The criminal status of blasphemy was revised in Ireland in 2009, presumably to accommodate the extreme views of Muslims on the subject of questioning faith.

Same Rules Must Apply

When the law forbids us to insult or offend somebody, to insult or offend a religion, race, skin colour or sexual preference, free speech and other important democratic rights are under threat.

When the law then goes on to say that anyone accused of these offences has no right to defend themselves and the word of the accuser is sufficient evidence on which to obtain a conviction, which was the norm in medieval Europe, and still is in many Islamic societies, then we have abandoned justice and returned to the law of the medieval witch hunts.

These stupid laws insult the public and threaten free speech

Beware the siren voices of the left who hide their abhorrence of freedom and individuality behind a mask of political correctness. "Oh but we must be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims," such people will claim. Why? And why do I never see or hear any of those politically correct whiners talking about "hate speech" when some fundamentalist Imam calls on followers of Islam to "rise up and destroy the infidel."

To be honest, such talk does not offend me, I regard it as ridiculous. But why can I, or another white male, say "Lets kick Muslims up the arse," by way of response. Why are we required to tolerate one but not the other? As Cicero said two thousand years ago, "Since our ancestors came out of the hills to live as civilised people, it has been understood that there can only be one law and it must apply equally to all."

Everything we say and do could be interpreted by somebody as aggressive or insulting. There have been cases of a look being deemed racially or sexually harassing.

It is time we stood up for the right to express our opinions, and urged others to deal with it by being grown up enough to ignore things overheard or seen in print that are not directed at a specific individual or group by are merely the opinion of some individual, stated in a way that suggests the comments were part of a private exchange, or were a general, abstract statement.

Nobody promised life was fair. And making life sterile by imposing conformity on everybody will not actually make life any fairer. All it will achieve is the suppression of a very important type of diversity, not the diversity of colour the politically correct lobby make so much noise about, but which is really only skin deep, but diversity of ideas.

So come on Ireland, get off Stephen Fry's case, he was only expressing his own doubts about God, not trying to tell everybody else they had to believe as he does.

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Meet the author

author avatar Ian R Thorpe
Born Manchester UK, 1948. varied early career from clerk via construction site worker and street trader to I T consultant. Performance poet, broadcaster, fiction writer and essayist on many topics.

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