Shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater

Just about everybody agrees that there ‘ought to’ be some limits on ‘Free Speech’.

One of the ‘classic’ examples is ‘Yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater‘: it is reasonable to limit Freedom of Speech to prevent someone from shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, thus causing a panic during which people could be hurt or even killed.  Most people agree that this is a reasonable limit.

So, what if the theater IS on fire?

Should people be forbidden to raise a warning in a theater that is actually burning?

When first formulated, this ‘reasonable limit’ on Freedom of Speech was phrased ‘it is reasonable to limit Freedom of Speech to prevent someone from falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater’.

In our eagerness to apply this limit on Freedom of Speech, we have forgotten the ‘reality check’ bit!  Truth has now become irrelevant.

We have become extremely adept at prosecuting people who are figuratively ‘shouting fire’ by criticizing the failures of our current social policies which ghettoize citizens based on cultural or religious grounds and create multiple classes of citizenship.  Any time a person speaks up to criticize social policies which contain principles of ‘culture’ or ‘religion’, or the faulty implementation of these social policies, or their negative impacts – we prosecute them for ‘Shouting “Fire!”‘

Everyone gets all righteously indignant, points fingers at them and condemns them.  These people get dragged through the mud (the courts) and, too often, they get convicted of ‘shouting fire’.  After all, they did!

Our courts – both legal, kangaroo and the ‘court of public opinion’ – have forgotten that  ‘shouting “Fire!”‘ in a burning theater is not only acceptable, it saves lives!  In fact, shutting up the very people who give a true warning – that is what puts us all in serious danger.

Geert Wilders

Ezra Levant

Mark Steyn

Sussane Winter

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Kathy Shaidle

… and many, many more.  The list is getting dangerously long.


add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank