“The Secretary-General strongly believes that freedom of expression should be exercised responsibly and in a way that respects all religious beliefs” – Marie Okabe, spokeswoman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Two years ago the Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan: “believes that the freedom of the press should always be exercised in a way that fully respects the religious beliefs and tenets of all religions.”
So, what if my religion demands that I disrespect other religions? What if my faith necessitates a lack of respect for other faiths? If you respect my faith, doesn’t that mean I’m allowed to do whatever my faith expects of me, even if that means disrespecting others? This is, of course, a paradox.
Implicit in statements like these are several politically-correct assumptions:
1. That everybody’s beliefs must be respected
2. That offending somebody is virtually a crime in and of itself
3. That freedom and responsibility can conflict
Dealing with the latter two first: freedom and responsibility do not conflict – ever. Rights are moral principles sanctioning your freedom of thought and action in a social context. All Rights are corollaries of your Right to Life. Human beings must be free to think and do anything they believe is in their self-interest – with one constraint: that they do not violate the rights of others. Freedom of speech, of expression, is a means of human flourishing. The Right to free speech never conflicts with anybody else’s Rights – because no one has the right to NOT be offended by the words of others – no such Right exists. Rights merely mean that no one can use force against you, because the use of force negates morality.
On a similar subject, Leitmotif says: “When one claims that rights come with responsibilities, one is implying that one’s practice of a right could potentially conflict with the practice of another man’s rights. This is patently false. The moment someone has stepped outside the boundaries of one’s rights and has violated another man’s rights, his actions have initiated force and have become illegitimate. Insofar as this has not occurred, every man is free–without limits–to exercise his rights.”
Speaking about the pathetic Teddy-bear row that erupted back in November last year, I said: “If I want to say that Islam is an evil plagiarisation of the ramblings of ignorant primitive Jews, and not worth the paper it was written, that’s my right.”
Just as nobody has the right to do whatever they want on your property, so you have no right to tell them what to do on theirs or anybody else’s.
Remember, the legitimate rights of human beings do not conflict. If there is a conflict, then one party must not be claiming legitimate rights. Since freedom of speech is an undeniable necessary individual right, those who claim that it must be exercised with restraint are contradicting themselves – and are claiming illegitimate rights. “Limited free speech” is a contradiction in terms.
Offending somebody is therefore not a crime. It may be immoral, if it’s irrational however. But the immoral is not the illegal.
Finally, not everyone’s beliefs should be respected. To say otherwise is an egregiously nonsensical claim, and blatant contradiction. To quote myself here: “Moral subjectivism is an offshoot of relativism in general, another symptom of which is the insipid multiculturalism. Relativism in general holds that all opinions or cultures are of equal value. This is flat wrong: if one holds the opinion X that “all opinions are of equal value or merit” then my opinion that X is rubbish is to be taken with equal merit as X itself! Therefore the truth of X would require that we reject it. Therefore X is either false or rubbish.”
Not all cultures are of equal merit. Some cultures are backward, ignorant, superstitious, and just plain stupid. Some are blatantly evil. And if you disagree with me and think I am being offensive, then YOU are evil. Why? Because you have no moral standard from which to draw conclusions. Being a moral person means being intellectually honest and never equivocating on matters of truth or ethics.
The exact opposites of this are such ridiculous notions like political-correctness, fear of offending beliefs, and multiculturalism. The above comments from the UN Secretary General embody this attitude perfectly. But this is to be expected: morality is an individual matter, yet multiculturalism is based on soul-destroying collectivism, which organisations like the United Nations (or any democratic arrangement) exemplify.
“The moral distinction is clear: you are either a criminal or you are not. You are either within your rights, in which case you act freely, or you have initiated force, in which case you should be reined in. You either practice your rights legitimately–in which case, no one has a business telling you that you should be responsible in the practice of your legitimate rights–or you have stepped outside the boundaries protected by your rights and you are now a criminal.” – Leitmotif.
The comments from Ban Ki-moon are immoral are irresponsible. Free speech is non-negotiable, because individual rights are non-negotiable, because humans have a Right to Life. To deny total freedom to human beings is to deny the Right to Life. It’s as simple and as clear-cut as that.