German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given an unusually emotional speech about people having the freedom to articulate ideas she doesn’t like.
The German leader warned, “We have freedom of expression in our country. For all those who claim they can no longer express their opinion, I say this to them. If you express a pronounced opinion you must live with the fact that you will be contradicted. Expressing an opinion does not come at zero cost. But freedom of expression has its limits. Those limits begin where hatred is spread. They begin where the dignity of other people is violated. This house will and must oppose extreme speech, otherwise our society will no longer be the free society that it was.”
What Ms Merkel is cleverly doing is removing freedom of speech for unapproved opinions from German citizens and wrapping the tyranny in paper-thin assurances it will protect the freedom they once loved.
No one advocating for the natural right to freedom of expression has any problem living with the risk or occasion of being contradicted, which Merkel argues as if it will be revelatory to some. She added there is a cost. Right-thinking people will agree that the cost of free speech is debate and scrutiny. The natural solution to bad speech and ideas, or as leftists manipulatively describe it, “hate speech”, is their worst fears realised: contradiction, debate, more speech: free speech.
Liberal socialist Noam Chomsky explained, “If you believe in freedom of speech you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”
Merkel demanded freedom of expression be limited where “hatred” is spread. The pernicious problem is she has a very loose definition of hatred which would include criticism of her regime’s open border & mass immimgration policies.
The tired German Chancellor insisted that freedom is also denied where there is a risk to someone’s feelings being hurt. This frequently happens in the new era of identity politics wherever people choose to identify with their ideas or behaviours and believe any critique is violating their personal dignity and worth – which has become weaponised irrationality. They then demand all debate about their ideas be censored.
In a classic American free speech versus censorship case, Justice Potter Stewart found the speech in question “vulgar and unedifying”. Nevertheless he wrote, “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”
Yet again Germans are applauding state supervision of public opinion and an authoritarian regime.
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