Freedom of speech is, and must remain absolute, in our Western culture.
Because it is the foundation on which our culture is built!
Sure, other cultures are not – but giving in to them and limiting free speech in our society…in no uncertain terms, this undermines the very premise without which our Western culture will wither and die.
All this means that the more we disagree with something someone says, the more vigorously we must defend his/her right to say it unmolested.
Sure, individuals may choose not to associate with them based on their views: but governments must not be permitted to censor speech, no matter how dispicable.
I hate anti-Semites. Deeply and thoroughly – even when they masquerade as ‘anti-Zionists!!!
Which is why it pains me so much that France, by arresting him for ‘speech’, is forcing me to stand up for and defend the right to free speech of a vile anti-Semite, Dieudonne.
As in, the father of the Quenelle.
Had France (and other countries) not criminalized gestures, symbols or questioning of the Nazi regime and it toll on humanity, people like Dieudonne would not be martyrs and political prisoners – they would just be loosers that are easily dismissed as their nonsense can be countered with actual evidence!
But no, France has to go arrest him for nothing more than speech: making him as much of a Martyr as the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who gave their lives for our freedoms to criticize that overinflated nonsense called ‘faith’.
That makes me very, very, very angry!
Freedom of speech is for everyone – and must remain so.
It is difficult to stand up for vile vipers like Dieudonne….but, if we don’t, we will be setting up a precedent which will, eventually, muzzle us all!
Let’s hope that day never comes. Which is why even vipers like Dieudonne must be granted freedom of speech!
January 20, 2015 at 13:02
For my part I find it more difficult to stand up for Charlie Hebdo than for Dieudonne. Perhaps that is a character flaw on my part. I don’t see much point in hating anti-Semites, much less anti-Zionists. In my defence, this is not because I see much merit in the ideas of anti-Semitism but because in our country it was in the name of combating anti-Semitism that all the harm was done to freedom of speech by the Liberal Party’s “hate propaganda” laws in the 1970s. It was during my high school and college years in the 1990s that I first learned how precarious freedom of speech had become in Canada due to the prosecution of men like James Keegstra, Ernst Zundel, and Malcolm Ross. I could see that the precedent set by these prosecutions would be used against other people, starting with traditional Catholics and evangelicals over orthodox sexual morality, and am glad to say that I spoke out in those days, against what had been and was being done to men like Zundel, even though it caused me some grief with the officials in my college.
I agree with you, of course, that those of us who believe in freedom of speech must defend it for everyone, including those we disagree with and dislike. In that latter category I would place, for myself, the cartoonists and staff at Charlie Hebdo. In part, this is because the newspaper does not believe in freedom of speech for anybody but itself. Ironically, the main target of the newspaper’s satirical ire has always been the Front National (this is ironic because this party’s platform consists solely of opposition to the liberal immigration and multiculturalism to which the newspaper has just fallen victim) and it supported a campaign to have the party banned. Mainly, however, I don’t like the magazine, because I am a conservative. As such, while I may see much good in liberal – well, classical liberal at any rate – concepts, such as freedom of speech, I see that good as being dependent upon liberalism operating within the context of a cultural framework that rests upon foundations other than liberalism itself – foundations which liberalism, to the detriment of its own good as well as that of our larger civilization, tends to erode. One such foundation is the concept of the sacred, that which is apart from and transcends the mundane, providing us with the meaning that we simply cannot find in the hurly-burly of the temporal. Charlie Hebdo has made it its mission to attack the sacred, and the institution which is the meeting point between the sacred and the mundane, the transcendent and the temporal, religion, in every form it takes. I will defend the newspaper’s freedom of speech and condemn, as any sane person must, the murderous terrorist attack on its staff, but I will hold my nose while doing so. For over a thousand years men like Charles Martel and Jan III Sobieski defended Western civilization from Islamic conquest. They did so, not out of a snarky, irreverent, rejection of religion and the sacred in general, but out of their Christian faith.
January 20, 2015 at 13:59
Thank you for your well thought-out comment.
I agree with much that you write, but I disagree with you regarding the concept of sacred: it is my deeply held opinion that whithout both the ability and practice of ridiculing the sacred (along with human institutions that claim too be based on it), there can never be freedom of religion.
Seriously. One man’s religion is another man’s blasphemy: without the ability to express that blasphemy in practice, this second person cannot, in a practical sense, have freedom of religion.
January 20, 2015 at 15:54
I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I can accept the idea of the freedom to ridicule and blaspheme as being part of the larger concept of freedom of speech. It is when we start to praise acts of ridicule and blasphemy as being intrinsically worthy that I think we are starting to tread on dangerous ground.
I would say the same thing about personal insults. It should not be against the law for one person to call another person a jerk, an idiot, and a coward. That does not mean that calling people jerks, idiots, and cowards is in itself a worthy and beneficial act. Of course there are people of whom these labels would be accurate descriptions. Even this, however, does not turn the insult into a positive good. Indeed, if we start thinking of insulting people as being intrinsically good this lends itself to thinking of being polite as being intrinsically bad (perhaps thinking of it in terms of self-censorship) and when this happens we have accomplished a moral inversion in which something that actually is good, politeness, is degraded and something that is at best an occasionally justifiable negative is elevated above it.
From my conservative perspective, the freedom of speech, including both the freedom to ridicule and blaspheme and the freedom to insult, is something that we have enjoyed because we live within a society and larger civilization the culture and tradition of which have provided a framework within which that freedom can flourish and function. Politeness and reverence for the sacred are both positive goods that are part of that cultural framework along with many other goods. I am not suggesting we abridge freedom of speech – merely pointing out that we can exercise it in ways that undermine the foundations of the framework that makes it possible.
January 20, 2015 at 16:40
When you said:
Politeness and reverence for the sacred are both positive goods that are part of that cultural framework along with many other goods.
I’m afraid that our difference of opinion boils down to this very statement. I do not, in the most vehement terms, think that ‘politeness and reverence for the sacred’ are in any way positive for our society, not part of the foundations of the framework that make it possible. Quite the opposite.
It is human nature that those who wish to hold power over others will most naturally abuse any such ‘reverence for the sacred’ by wrapping themselves in its garb so that their own evil actions cannot be criticized. From there, corruption starts and begins to rot the society.
And assuming to speak for ‘absolute authority’ corrupts absolutely!
Yet, out of defference fot the ‘sacred’, we permit a corrupt class of ‘sacredness hucksters’ to exploit people over and over and over. Only societies that have taken away the protection of these corrupt people who assume religious (theistic or not – I include the ‘priests’ of warm-mongering among them) roles be unmasked can progress take place.
It is not a coincidence that only when we began to ridicule the priests and preachers that we made great leaps ahead as a society. Let’s not go back to the pre-enlightment days!
January 20, 2015 at 17:29
I agree with everything you wrote, with one exception.
Liberalism does rest on a foundation of the sacred – by which I mean deep a reverence for the inherent value of the individual and the innate sense of right and wrong common to all people everywhere, underlying all culture, religion and society.
But it does not erode that foundation.
Cultural Marxism is what erodes that foundation, by using critical theory to appropriate and distort liberal concepts until they become horribly twisted parodies of themselves that lead to nothing but destruction.
Thus the principle of freedom of religion – the tenet that each one of us may approach the sacred however he chooses – is twisted into the corrosive idea that nothing is sacred, and becomes the tool by which all faiths are attacked and destroyed.
And the principle of equality of the sexes – the tenet that men and women have equal value as moral agents – is twisted into the corrosive idea that there is no essential difference between men and women, and thus becomes the tool by which all healthy aspects of masculine, feminine and family are attacked and destroyed.
Classical liberalism – the combination of liberal politics and Christian ethics, characterized by limited government, individual rights and natural sex roles – is precisely the so-called heteropatriarchy that created Western civilization and made it impervious to seduction by oppressive collectivist ideologies.
And that is why cultural Marxists are out to destroy it.
Their method is simple: take the best of classical liberalism and push it until it breaks.
And then use people’s resulting disillusionment to push the agenda of global collectivist totalitarian plutocracy.
So don’t fall for their tricks.
The problem is not liberalism, it’s cultural Marxism.
Classical liberalism is, always has been, and always will be the solution.
January 20, 2015 at 17:55
As usual, I agree with what you say, but with one really really fundamental exception: Christianity.
Our culture is not based on Christian ethics, nor is our society rooted in them: it is the rejection of Christian ethics that permitted our culture to form.
Christian ethics are burning witches at the stake and gloating as women die in childbirth because it’s their rightful punishment for ‘the woman’s original sin’. However you look at it, all of post Nicean Christianity is based on the deeply immoral principle of scape goating, because that is precisely what ‘vicarious redemption’ is.
Glorifying and basing a society on not being responsible for one’s actions – not what classical liberal principles are based on or rooted in.
January 20, 2015 at 18:15
Rejection of a fundamentalist caricature of Christian ethics is not a rejection of Christian ethics as such.
Indeed, the process of rejecting such travesties began with Jesus Christ, continued through the Protestant rejection of Roman Catholic (Nicean) dogma, and culminated in the enlightenment.
It is precisely this process of rejecting atavistic relics by which classical liberal ethics evolved from Christian ethics.
Thus it is indeed Christian ethics that our culture is rooted in.
January 20, 2015 at 19:00
You could not be more wrong.
Jesus Christ (at least, the Nicean version that most of us think of when we say that name) hiself said that he did not come to change the laws of the Old Testament. So, no pass on that: all the selling daughter into slavery and wife being equal to a donkey still stand!
Jesus himself was executed by crucifiction: a form of punishment the Romans reserved for terrorists and terrorists alone. (And, yes – had the Jews of his time wanted him killed, they had the power to stone him to death themselves and did not need the Romans to do it for them.)
So, from the Old testament you refine the message throught a terrorist who tells people that they must hate their families in order to follow him, stop supporting their children, sell all their possessions and buy sword, for he brings not peace, but war.
So far, he looks more like an ISIS guy than a meek and gentle lam.
If you take the most commonly known Gnostic Jesus Christ, you don’t end up with a crucified terrorist, but a terrorist who dies at Massada. A smart terrorist instead of an incompetent one. An improvement, I guess. And, the misogyny is slightly more toned down, too.
Ah, the Protestant Reformation: that sure didn’t cause wars and wholescale religious persecution! The only reason the Protestants and the Catholics stopped murdering each other in the streets was because Islam caused a greater threat…and even then did the Reformists in Germany and Czech try to make a deal with the Muslims to kill the Catholics together!
So much love and ‘classical liberal values’, it just makes one smile!
This is not a caricature of a religion, it is its legacy!
January 20, 2015 at 21:08
None of the blemishes you point out (which I don’t deny) invalidate my point.
I didn’t say the process of rejecting atavisms was complete with Jesus Christ, I said it started with him. To be fair, I should admit that the Jews before him had already started the process by rejecting human sacrifice. But with Jesus the process passed into Christianity and ultimately reached a peak with the enlightenment.
Since that peak, however, the ethical road has been mostly downhill.
I attribute this to the loss of religious archetypes amongst people who lack the sophistication to remain moral in their absence.
Some people, for example, hold the principle of intrinsic rights of individuals just as sacred as others hold the principle of God-given rights of individuals. But sadly, these people are a small minority. For this small minority, the intellectual form and content of the idea is sufficiently clear to make it compelling.
But for most people, the “God-given” part is the essential ingredient that makes it compelling.
And therefore, notwithstanding its potential for abuse, religion is a necessary part of a liberal society. Not as part of the machinery of state. Certainly not! But as part of the psyche of the people. Part of the set of archetypes forming the collective subconscious of the culture.
The absence of these religious archetypes leaves a void in the spiritual life of the people. A void which will inevitably be filled with something. And cultural Marxists are standing by to fill it with archetypes that support the global collectivist plutocratic agenda.
So you can either make peace with the survival of Christianity, or you can accept the victory of cultural Marxism.
It’s one or the other. In the long run, there are no other options.
The rationalistic derivation of rights and ethics, which you and I prefer, is just not emotionally compelling enough to most people to win the day.
January 20, 2015 at 21:57
No, no and no, CodeSlinger!
First of all, Jesus did not advance the moral teachings from Judaism to Christianity: to the contrary. Yes, the Jews were slowly but surely advancing, rejecting human sacrifice (well, sort of: I am actually currently looking into the different ways Jews, Christians and Muslims interpret ‘binding of Isic/Ismael’ ans so have just finished a lengthy discussion of it with a Hebrew scholar – sadly disappointing, just as bad as the Christians). Of course, some would say that the way they went about it was quite cowardly, but, I will be writing on this in an upcoming piece.
Jesus, however, (OK – the Nicean Jesus) was angered by cultural and moral progress of the Jews and fought very loudly and effectively to return Jews to their former observance of Old Testament Laws. That was a huge step beckward!
The Christian archetypes are no less flawed than those pushed by Cultural Marxists: both are deeply destructive of the human capacity for reason and actively harm the people whom they infect. Both are utopian, filled with destructive archetypes, autocratic and totalitarian: life under the tyranny of one would be no better – or worse – than life under the tyranny of the other.
We must work to demystify ‘the sacred’ as well as ‘the common good’: they are both tools of oppression and we must lead people away from falling prey to them and towards critical thinking.
January 20, 2015 at 22:41
Yes, theocracy is as bad as secular Edenist statism, the two are functionally equivalent.
I avoid the phrase “critical thinking” because it’s used by cultural Marxists to mean “thinking in accordance with critical theory.” I think what you mean is rational thinking, and I completely agree that this, combined with verified facts, is the best possible basis for one’s beliefs.
Most people just don’t find it compelling.
Presented with the choice of following the head or following the heart, they follow the heart. Even if the head tells them that the heart is leading them into sin (meaning moral crime).
That’s what archetypes are for. Properly formed, they influence the heart in a way that counterbalances the raw power of the base urges and gives the head a better chance of winning the day.
This is the point I keep trying to make, which you keep ignoring.
The glory days of classical liberalism were brought about by men who revered rational thought, but whose collective subconscious was formed of archetypes drawn from Christian teachings.
This combination lead to the freest, most prosperous society the world has ever known, and every step away from it, in every direction that’s been tried, has been a step for the worse.
January 21, 2015 at 14:11
I do not continue to ignore the archetypes of Christianity: I continue to call them destructed and twisted.
And, yes, archetypes are there to help us follow our head rather than our baser instincts as well as help us deal with the stress of everyday life. Which is why I object so strongly to have the destructive archetypes Christianity uses to hobble the minds of its followers.
I think I have listed a few of them before, but, just for completeness, let’s just put forwaqrd ‘the biggie’: the central tennet of the Nicean Christianity.
Yeah, scapegoating turned into a moral and sacred…
As for the founding fathers: the vast majority of them rejeced Christianity outright, fighting off the effects of Christian archetypes. Many were deists, some were somewhat openly atheist, some were even anti-theist (Thomas Payne).
January 21, 2015 at 18:41
The American founding fathers were exactly the sort of men I had in mind when I wrote:
The glory days of classical liberalism were brought about by men who revered rational thought, but whose collective subconscious was formed of archetypes drawn from Christian teachings.
To be fair, though, I should acknowledge that through Freemasonry these men were exposed also to archetypes drawn from the ancient Near Eastern mystery schools, but these were secondary, because exposure them came later in life. In any event, they are contained in esoteric Christianity.
January 21, 2015 at 19:53
The concepts of good and evil, reward and punishment, atonement and revenge are hard-wired into the structure of the human psyche. Similarly, projection and transference are fundamental psychological processes.
A culture doesn’t get to decide whether these concepts and processes are present or not; only the form they take.
In the Neolithic Near and Middle East, these ideas coalesced into original sin and human sacrifice. The idea of original sin is that to live is to sin, or, put another way, it is impossible to live without sinning. However, when we sin, we incur a moral debt that must be paid. Thus we are all born sinners, deserving punishment and needing redemption.
And that’s why bad things happen to us. But what is important is that the debt is paid, not who pays it. Therefore a group of people can ward off many small bad things by inflicting one big bad thing on one person. And thus they practiced human sacrifice.
The first step away from this brutish form of the archetypal story was taken by the Jews, when they replaced human sacrifice with animal sacrifice.
The next step was taken by the Christians, when they replaced actual sacrifice with symbolic sacrifice – that is, vicarious redemption.
Note that the structure of the archetypal story does not change in the course of taking these steps, only the external form. The structure cannot change, because it is part of what it means to be human. But with each step, the invariant underlying structure takes on a kinder, gentler surface form.
For some – those who are able to approach the archetypes on a more abstract level – an additional step is possible. That step involves understanding that there are only three players in all the archetypal stories, and they are Id, Ego and Superego.
For some, taking this step is freeing and enlightening. But for many, it leaves them feeling not free, but lost; it leaves them without a moral compass.
And thus this final step has always been reserved for the initiates of the mystery schools.
So far, every attempt to disseminate it to the masses has failed.
Well, cultural Marxists don’t consider it a failure. From their point of view, it is their greatest success, because it changes the surface form of the archetypal story into one of self-sacrifice to the collective.
So before you get too zealous about abolishing religion, it behoves you to find a way to prevent cultural Marxism from stepping into the void you create.
Good luck with that.
January 28, 2015 at 13:01
Vicarious redemption = evil.
No more needs to be said.
January 29, 2015 at 22:14
Redemption by mystical symbolic vicarious sacrifice is infinitely better than secular collectivist self sacrifice.