Freedom of expression?
Freedom of expression………. It’s an interesting phrase isn’t it? The right to express yourself anyway you like without fear of prosecution or intimidation.
America even amended the constitution to include this right. So there we have it nice and simple. I have a right to express any opinion I like to whoever I like. But it’s not that simple.
I have no right to preach racial hatred, for example I will be arrested for abusing an ethnic minority such as Asians or Indians. I will not sully the page with the myriad derogatory remarks available for this purpose. Suffice to say they should really never be spoken by anyone. Also given the expansion of Europe into the old Soviet states there has been an influx of eastern Europeans into the old member states.
Along with them came the usual racist abuse from people who felt their country and jobs were threatened. Again we have freedom of speech being abused by a small but vocal minority. The same situation has occurred in Briton when the first influx of afro- Caribbean’s arrived. Still the racist abuse continues.
Still the concept of freedom of expression is being abused.
We still have freedom of expression except for inciting racial hatred and abuse………..
I have no right to incite religious hatred. No right to abuse any one for the religion they follow. That is fair enough for the majority of people.
Except these days there is a big but. In these days of the “War on Terror” and the insane slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan we are faced with politicians preaching hatred and religious intolerance under the banner of world peace and democracy. For their own gains and to defend their little bit of the free world they twist the right to freedom of expression and dress up their hatred in perfectly sized sound bites for the pod cast generation.
So freedom of expression does it depend on who you are and how powerful you are?
If it is free should it be subject to status?
So far all we have dealt with is the vocal freedom of speech. What about the media?
I have the right since reaching the age of majority in my country to read and watch whatever I like. However as we all know this is not the case.
Its is illegal to read anything that is likely to be used in acts of terror (see there is that word again) or anything that is construed as propaganda for acts of terror. Or anything that incites racial or religious hatred, this is fair enough for any civilized person.
But what would happen if I was redirected to one of these sites by a search engine? Would I be tarred with the same brush as a suicide bomber of a member of the Neo- Nazi’s? This may be an extreme example but false imprisonment has happened many times in this country.
Still freedom of expression?
I have access to an entire world of information on the internet. A vast array of web sites to sate every interest and desire no matter how depraved or obscure the need. Therein lies the problem of course. If something is unregulated and in the case of the internet ungovernable given the size of the thing people will take it as there right to publish whatever they like. Even more depraved forms of pornography degrading women and children for the sake of so called entertainment and sexual gratification.
Rightly so most countries have strict laws governing what pornography is legal to import and own. Also access to it is strictly controlled outside of the internet. This is only sensible and proper. However we come back to the internet again unregulated and unmanageable. Access to sickening images is shockingly easy through search engines such as Google. Anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge can bypass any restrictions imposed and gain access to sites which are unsuitable to most decent people.
This is before we get onto the subject of child porn, which the purveyors would argue is a valid form of expression. The internet allows them a better means of spreading their sickening disease across the whole world with little risk of getting caught. Despite many high profile police clampdowns on pedophile rings there are many thousands if not millions still at large in the world still preying on children.
Although we pride ourselves on allowing freedom of expression in a visual medium there has to be some regulation and censorship to protect the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society. Those people who peddle their sickening filth causing misery and in some cases even murdering their victims should not be allowed free expression in any civilized country.
I do not wish to condemn all pornography as wrong, But wish to express the view that the concept of freedom of expression should not be literally applied to pornography.
Still freedom of expression?
As far as the written word is concerned again in terms of adult entertainment we have a right if we have reached the legal age of majority to read whatever we like. This is as stated before a quite acceptable rule. As long as controls are in place to ensure that children do not come into contact with anything they shouldn’t.
A lot of the responsibility falls to parents to ensure that they are aware of the sites their children visit and who they talk to in chat rooms. It is a common enough rote to ensure that the access PC is in a common area such as the living room so the parents can control access and be on hand if they see their children heading towards anything unsuitable.
Any sane minded parent would prevent their child from running out across a busy road or sticking their hand into a fire so why should the internet be seen as any less dangerous? There are dangers out in the land of cyberspace, sites and people who will suck in an innocent child and destroy their innocence for their own perverted ends.
Any adult would protect a child from being hurt if they are out in the real world even to extent of being accused of the most heinous crimes against that child if they for example picked up a crying child wandering lost round a supermarket. It is just the maternal/paternal instinct deep within us.
We should therefore extend this protection to the internet and guard our children well against the evils that lurk in cyberspace.
I will defend to the hilt the right to write and publish erotica; it is a natural expression of our sexual nature. We are after all on this planet to further the species without the drive to reproduce the human race wouldn’t have got past first principles.
As humans we have developed the means of expressing ourselves at first with signs and paintings then slowly vocally and through the written word. All this time humans have been drawing, writing and talking about sex. It is the single thing that drives us all deep within our natures.
So how can erotica be condemned as against freedom of expression when it is just an extension of an ancient ritual dating back millions of years. Even cavemen made erotic paintings on the walls of their caves alongside more mundane paintings of prey animals.
A lot of the perceived problems stem from a small vocal minority who seem to think that if they shout loud enough their views will be listened to and accepted as the norm. The danger is that in the current climate certainly in America this is very likely to happen.
Freedom of expression?
The religious fundamentalists on both sides of the current conflict seem to be vying with each other to condemn various parts of society as unclean, as sinners who are going to be condemned to the fires of hell for committing sins of the flesh and being unclean both in body and in thought. For having unnatural sexual relationships, same sex marriages same sex relationships, children born out of wedlock condemned to hell from the moment of their birth. Notice a theme developing?
I do not believe that God is going to condemn me for doing what comes naturally and for reading about sex. Sex is given by God to allow us to reproduce and enable us to make another person feel good physically. So if the gift of sex was given by God how can the religious fundamentalists condemn anything to do with it as a mortal sin?
While we are on the subject how many TV evangelists have been prosecuted for sex crimes, some involving children and animals?
This is not meant to be an argument about the existence or otherwise of God. I’m going to leave that to people who are far more eloquent and learned than me. What it is meant to be is a statement that although we claim to have freedom of expression there is an increasingly vocal minority trying to erode this basic right and they are using religion to achieve it.
Whether these people are Christian or Muslim does not seem to matter these days. Both sides are condemning themselves and others with equal hatred and bile. I realise that given the current climate certain people would expect me to come down on the side of the Christians being English born and bred and expect me to condemn Muslims as they are the enemy.
Freedom of expression anyone?
If we allow the vocal minority to further restrict our basic human right to express ourselves within the legal and moral guidelines I stated earlier then the state of affairs George Orwell foretold will have arrived.
Big Brother will be watching us, Big Brother will judge you on what you think, what you wear, what you write, who you have sex with. The erosion of our freedom is often like a large boulder being worn down by rain, you don’t see it being worn down bit by bit but over many years the boulder shrinks until nothing is left but sand……
Many millions died in the 2nd World War to protect our freedom from a fascist dictator and genocide. Young men gave their lives so I have the simple right to sit here and type my thoughts without fear of intimidation or imprisonment.
We have the right to freedom of expression and we should use that right and protect it always.
Freedom of expression anyone?
©Boneman productions 2008