Rex Murphy: We care nothing for free speech - Trudeau plan to regulate the internet is but a symptom

Freedom of speech is not the high holy ideal it once was. Freedom of expression, the wider concept, expression as thought, speech, art, performance and protest, is likewise no longer the clear and unchallengeable central core value of our democracies. They have, alas, often been broken, but until very recent days, whenever they were violated, especially by state force, a genuine, near reflex response was outrage and condemnation. As an ideal, free expression has been ever-present as a guiding star to the proper operations of any democracy.

The freedom of the individual, and thereby his or her dignity as a human being and citizen depends emerges only when these rights are seen as belonging to the individual human being, owned by the individual, are not never to be diminished or circumscribed by the state, or the mob. The state does not own the rights of its citizens. It’s an inversion of the relationship between citizen and government to think so. Citizens give orders to governments.

«Allowed» speech is the antithesis of free speech, and designated «spaces» wherein that allowed speech could be voiced, a surrender of intellectualism, and a woeful instance of the cowardice of elite institutions. It was the universities which played midwife to the new anti-intellectual doctrines such as «speech is violence» with its reverse twin dogma that «violence is speech.» They spread the intellectual acid of relativism. 

The 20th century in particular supplied horrendous illustrations of what governments who suspend or absolutely deny the right to free speech, thought, or gathering. A book they had not read and could not have read, But still they knew that it would be «traumatizing» and «offensive» and «hurtful.» Let us hope that none of these internet neurasthenics ever stubs a toe.

Source: Rex Murphy | NP 

Categories: NP

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