Freedom of speech and our right to offend

In this era of over-political correctness laced with exaggerated sentimentality we find ourselves tip-toeing around sensitive issues trying not to come across as ignorant or bigoted. One blog post, status update, or even comment can have you facing social extermination. While we are to maintain a certain level of courtesy to decrease the chances of causing offense, keeping silent or lying should never be an option.

What this new style of communication has done for us is drive serious issues underground. In our bid to live in harmony we have opted for pretend harmony instead. If Nigeria for example, showing any support for gay rights or having any opinion that doesn’t sit well with religion can get you in more trouble than you can imagine. Ironically in the West the opposite is the case, but the thinking is the same. If people do not agree with our opinions we take offense and instead of engaging in educative and informative conversation we are quick to throw logic out the window flying into fits of rage.

In the words of Voltaire: ‘I might not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’. There is no censorship as dangerous as social censorship because it is imposed by the society hence it cannot be lifted even with a change of government. This stifles free expression and encourages blind conformity while forcing the young through psychosocial influence to adopt ideologies that might be false.

I have always said the greatest hallmark of freewill is the freedom to be wrong. How do we expect people to learn or grow if we expect them never to be wrong? Let us learn to cool our heads and engage in intelligent exchange before lynching people with ideas that do not sit well with us. Dialogue where it can exist is always far superior to force.

P.S This also extends to less serious matters like rating movies, albums, and other things as such. If I don’t like it, I don’t like it, it doesn’t mean that I’m hating.

Written by William Moore - secrat.org
Written by William Moore – secrat.org

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