I am an extreme moderate

December 8, 2011

Falkvinge’s speech on free speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — niezmierniespokojny @ 10:12 am

Yesterday Rick Falkvinge posted a piece advocating free speech. Mostly, he talked the usual stuff, importance of free speech, dangers for it, chilling effects and such.
But one statement turned me on.
“the public may be just as harsh a judge (…). In such circumstances, it is the role of government to suppress those people and activities who would make people feel threatened by stating opinions that are out of line with commonly held beliefs.
In other words, “Government should censor speech that makes people afraid of speaking”.
Actually I think that he meant something weaker like “Government should censor speech that makes people reasonably afraid of speaking”, but it’s not my main point.
It’s the “We need to protect our society from harmful forms of speech” argumentation that’s common for all forms of censorship, from China and Pakistan all the way to EU. In this regard, censorship is the same everywhere.
And it’s a funny thing to see in a post advocating for freedom.

To clarify one thing, I’m not against censorship in general. But I think it should be recognised as such and spoken clearly about. It’s the most healthy way.


  1. In France, we have a law which forbids free speech when it comes to “incite hatred, violence and murders”. This is clearly targeted at the more extreme racist leaders, which by the way are pretty rare. For some reason, i feel okay with this law, since i would feel even less comfortable if inciting weak minds to kill each other would be considered “rightfull”.

    We also have a law which forbids to NOT say that nazisms horrors during WWII were horrible. It is also forbidden to say anything kind of marijuana and other such drugs. It is also forbidden to Not acknowledge that armenian people were massacred in the early 20th century. And it’s forbidden to Not agree with such interdictions.
    This is not mere technicalities : we have seen publications removed and people trialed for standing against these positions.

    Even though i would certainly agree on above affirmation, on nazy, armenian and such, i nonetheless feel really uneasy that not even a mondane discussion can take place on these historical events. Here, i feel free speech is too much ‘torned’, and it seems a pretty bad precedent which can serve to further strengthen censorship on future issues.

    Comment by Cyan — December 10, 2011 @ 12:48 am

    • I agree with you, from your description it sounds like it goes really far.
      In Poland, we have similar laws,but I *think* it’s just about totalitarianism and hate speech (with hate speech laws limited, some reasons to hate are prohibited, others are not).
      I don’t like these laws anyway.

      Comment by niezmierniespokojny — December 10, 2011 @ 9:49 am

    • BTW, I think that reading through censorship rules could tell a lot about national fears in different countries.

      Comment by niezmierniespokojny — December 10, 2011 @ 10:04 am

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