Sunday, 17 April 2011

If you offend me, I promise not to behead you.

That's my promise to you. No matter what you say, or how you say it, I give you my full assurance that I won't produce a sharp implement and slice through flesh, bone, arteries and cartilage.

Sounds rational enough doesn't it? Living in a democracy means that with the right to offend comes the risk of being offended. I might not like what you say, or respect it, but that's the trade off that comes with free speech.

Now I don't live by any holy books; and even if you burnt a copy of Sam Harris's The End Of Faith you wouldn't get more than a raised eyebrow from me. I might point out that you could probably have recycled it, but that's as contentious as I'm going to get.

I'll get to the point. People who harm others because they happen to disagree with them do not deserve a seat at the table. People who demand we submit to their dogma and take lethal offense if we decline automatically exclude themselves.

Free speech is a beautiful thing. Perhaps the closest thing we have to a sacred thing. We need to treasure it, and stand against those who would steal it whilst we sleep.

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