Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Free speech, useful, as well as desirable.

You may see by looking at my header that I'm a pro free speech kind of guy. But free speech is useful, in terms of the positive outcomes that follow, rather than just being desirable as a pillar of the basic freedoms, as this article points out. ( 'Free speech is truth's best hope'; James Allan - 'The Australian' 26 Sept 2006).

"...As the great US Supreme Court judge O.W. Holmes more or less put it: "We don't really know what the true position is. Whatever it is, though, it has a better chance of emerging in the marketplace of competing ideas where everything is open to criticism, even offensive criticism..."
"...Are they (societies which value free speech) more likely to achieve scientific advances, medical breakthroughs, containment of epidemics, higher levels of wealth, more responsive political leaders: in short, societies that are attractive to would-be immigrants around the world? It seems to me that the answer to all these is an obvious and resounding "yes"...".
James Allen puts the case for Free Speech on the table very well. It has been under incremental attack via the vehicle of political correctness for decades, and under full blown attack for some years (examples, Salman Rushdie, the Mohammed cartoons, the reaction to the Popes comments, etc etc).

I do take heart when I see the basic foundations of Liberal Democracy - the fruits of The Enlightenment - defended so articulately. There is yet hope for our civilization.


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