Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free Speech, an Absolute?

I just heard a different slant on why the pastor in Florida is going to burn the Koran on September 11th. He thinks this will underwrite his Constitutional right to "free speech".

The radio commentator also said that he was to do this to show his right in the face of decency, tolerance, sensitivity to religious plurality, etc. He uses the same argument that is being used to defend the Mosque being built in NYC.

Recently, there has been a urgent outcry against such an action due to the probable "costs" of American lives. The value of "making a statement" or "taking a stand on freedom of speech" is at odds to the possible reactions of radical Muslims.

While I may not agree that this action is politically sensitive, which value is more important? And more patriotic? Is it the value of individual life, or the value of individual liberty? Freedom of speech, or fear of retribution? Freedom of individual expression, or political correctness?  Some would believe that life is always of ultimate value, but then at what costs? Our military has been known to be upholding the value of liberty, as this is an ultimate American value.

 Political correctness, means that someone has decided what another should "stand for", and what their expression is allowed to express. This is what has hindered scientific understanding in the past. The Church was at odds to what scientists discovered. Should we continue to discriminate against "free thinkers"?

(post-script) I do believe there are boundaries to liberty, and these must be weighed by a wider context of values....

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