Sunday, January 11, 2015

FREE SPEECH IS ABSOLUTE!

Hold on there! Not so fast!

As it turns out, a quick peek into the history books tells a different story and has more to do with who the target(s) are.

Take, for example, a group who's speech offended most Europeans (and the US) back in the 40's;

Nazi Julius Streicher never pulled a trigger in the Second World War. He never ordered anyone to die. He was a soldier in the First World War, not the second. But Nuremberg judges found him guilty of crimes against humanity and saw fit to sentence him to death for what he had written during the war. American soldiers carried out his execution in 1946.
The largely forgotten execution of Streicher serves as a reminder that Western society also has set limits on what is deemed acceptable speech.

 Wartime England heard regular broadcasts from American-born fascist William Joyce, who was raised in Ireland and England. The Tokyo Rose of Europe, Joyce emigrated to Germany in 1939 and broadcast radio messages urging Britain to surrender. He was found by British forces in March 1945 and returned to England for trial.

He was found guilty by a jury of high treason, and the penalty was death by hanging.


The United States has its own grim precedents, predictably during war. The 1918 Sedition Act led to the imprisonment of several anarchists, particularly women. But none was threatened with death.

In September 2011, the drone strike slaying of militant propagandist Samir Khan was explained as an opportune moment: The main target was terrorist suspect Anwar Awlaki, and Khan was nearby. 


They were American citizens, but Khan, 25, wasn't suspected of planning attacks or shooting at soldiers. His crime was publishing Al Qaeda's Inspire, a digital magazine written in Khan's American vernacular, preaching the undoing of the U.S government.

These examples of speech was deemed offensive and punishable by death by approximately 500 million (give or take a million) inhabitants of Western countries; many of which claim to be proponents of "free speech." and make boisterous claims about defending it to the bitter end.


Now, let's compare this with speech that defames (and is considered blasphemy) by Approximately 23% of the world's population which is Muslim. Current estimates conclude that the number of Muslims in the world is around 1.6 billion.

How is that not more or less as serious of an offense (a crime against Muslims) and deserving of similar retributions?