Saturday, 21 February 2015

Free speech tussles. "Offensive free speech can cause misery"

South China Morning Post today, letter writer attacks me:
Offensive free speech can cause miseryI refer to the letter by Peter Forsythe ("We should not give in to the 'but brigade'", February 10).His claim that "Those who claim they denounce terrorism and support free speech 'but...' must acknowledge that... they implicitly support the murders" [of staff at Charlie Hebdo] is ludicrous and insulting.He goes on to say that "there would be nothing to discuss if they had not gone on their rampage." Nonsense, of course there would.Free speech and its limits are ongoing issues quite separate from terrorism.Unchecked, free speech can cause misery and/or incite others to violence; does Mr Forsythe defend such offensive free speech? I continue to denounce it.There are on this planet those who are determined to offend; there are more who are determined to be offended; and, probably worst of all, there are those who go out of their way to persuade others that they should feel offended.I would like to see the first category ease up, the second grow up and the third shut up; but I accept that for some in the second category it is not that easy.These have been my views for a very long time and will remain so. If this puts me in Mr Forsythe's "but... brigade" then, so be it.Peter Robertson, Sai Kung