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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When Speaking on Sensitive Topics

This post  has been moved. It can be read here.


  1. Isn't all this just another slippery slope?

    How can free speech be deemed 'free' when it is
    limited by X, Y and Z? Does not the term 'freedom of
    expression' mean I can express myself freely -
    full stop? Otherwise we better be honest and put
    a 'conditional' before the 'free' part.

    Once we start legislating limitations and
    conditions on a freedom, it ain't a freedom
    no more. Only when you can say what you think
    is right, no matter whether it upsets me,
    we still enjoy freedom of speech in our society.
    If in turn I think you have been telling
    malicious lies, I can still sue you for
    defamation. For this we need no
    Orwellian blasphemy laws.

    But if my conditional freedom of expression finds
    its limitation when someone in earshot can drag me
    before a tribunal by claiming that my words raised
    bad feelings in him - where does it stop? How will
    His Honour establish beyond reasonable doubt
    whether I spoke those inciting words in good faith?

    In the 1960s one could stand in front of
    Buckingham Palace and proclaim Prince Phillip
    is XYZ or on the steps of St Martins declar
    Jesus was a ZYX, some may have looked a bit miffed and given me a verbal, but that would have been the end of it.

    But try similar today with Muhammed in front of
    Lakemba mosque or merely quote some passages
    from the Koran in a mixed congregation, and sure
    there will be a law that you have broken and some
    culture-enricher will be dragging you before the
    next thought crime tribunal.

    Once we allow politicians to mess
    with this basic right of a free people,
    there is no end to it. This is why need need to
    get rid of the RRTA and similar unjust laws on
    a federal level soon.

  2. Ralph - I completely agree with your criticism of the RRTA and laws like it in other jurisdictions, and have consistently spoken against that law for years. However my issue here is how to speak responsibly about sensitive topics. There are lots of good reasons for doing this, one being that you are more likely to get hearers! As it happens, careful speech can help give a measure of protection against bad laws, but that doesn't justify or excuse the laws even to the smallest degree.

  3. I forgot to write:
    An immature comment could be just that: an immature comment. An opinion is nearly always legal even though you disagree. You should not fire of accusations e.g. about racism just to show how tolerant you are...

  4. Great post Mark. And good advice about victims. If only more Australians would take the time to listen to the Southern Sudanese, they might learn a thing or two about Jihad and what is coming our way if we do not wake up soon.


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