Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From an article written by...

...Imam Zijad Delic in the Ottawa Citizen:
The limitless free speech model -- which posits that the solution to harmful and hateful speech is more and better speech -- does not work for minority communities, and our complaints illustrate that.
Too bad, Imam Delic. It works for me, and I'm a minority of one. What you propose doesn't work for me.

What your complaints best illustrate is that you are willing to use the force of law, and are ultimately willing to use "main force", to compel some level of obedience to your standards.

I object, and I refuse.

Quite frankly, I obviously respect you far more than you evidently respect me. Because: as long as you physically leave me and mine alone, I don't give a rodent's butt about your standards--except that you're welcome to them, and you are free to live by them. And that's not me giving you permission--that's me understanding your rights.

You are also free to offend me, to call me and the ideas I hold dear every and any name and insult you can muster, wherever and whenever you like, and you are free to tell people that you don't think they ought to support me in any way; you are free to tell people that they ought to dislike me.

As long as I treat you likewise, what you can't properly ever do is touch me, or tell others that they should touch me, in any physical, tangible way, ever, at all. And, consequently, you can't properly shut me up.

Your problem with the "solution to harmful and hateful speech [being] more and better speech" is actually only that you understand that accepting that definition requires more effort on your part than you are willing to provide; accepting such a definition requires skill and patience--and, ultimately, better arguments, and it requires a commitment not to coerce others. Simply, your abject lack in those areas is exactly why--and the only reason why--that definition doesn't work for you.

You wrote:
The fact is that a discussion of free speech cannot be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium.
Oh, horse puckey. Wrong. The fact, instead, is that a discussion of free speech must be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium.

In any case, as long as you have access to a working mouth, let alone a podium, a megaphone, a CB radio or a photocopier, you unarguably already have all the tools you need to express yourself.

If you want room in a national magazine, you are free to buy one or build one, and all you need then do is freely convince enough people to read it. That's what Macleans has already done; you just don't want to have to go to the trouble yourself. If I didn't know how hard you are working to take away my ability to speak freely, I'd have to say you were just plain lazy. As it is, you merely value expediency in getting what you want over principles. In other words, you are impatient and willing to push people around.

Besides, the fact I read your article is more than evidence enough that you have sufficient access to express your views. You plainly disagree with me and, yet, here you are: in the Ottawa Citizen, with a potential world-wide audience--and it didn't cost you a dime. Clue in, Imam Delik: you have the freaking Internet.

All of which are side issues.

Understand this, Imam Delic, my right to free speech is not up for negotiation in any case. It's mine, pure and simple--and no one except a band of arrogant, self-righteous, presumptuous thugs would ever consider curtailing it.

1 comment:

Mike said...

"I'm a minority of one"

If that doesn't make it on to a t-shirt or bumper sticker, there is something seriously wrong with the free market.

Bravo. As I read

"The fact is that a discussion of free speech cannot be divorced from a discussion of who in our society has the power to express themselves and through which medium."

My first thought was

"as you spew this from tha pages of the Ottawa Citizen, a pretty right-wing paper that also spews David Warren's bile"

Glad to see we wre on the same page.


To give the Imam a bit of the benefit of the doubt, he was probably raised in a country were only the iron fisted ruler did keep contrary opinions out of the papers and used violence to do so. He probably isn't used to the kind of freedom we have and is afraid to lose it.

Actually there are lots of Canadians that don't get it either.