Monday, September 24, 2012

UN Sec Gen has a problem with freedom of expression

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General has some thoughts on freedom of expression, and they aren't very friendly to those whose speech offends others:
[...] Freedom of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose. When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way.[...]

Now to follow the SG down the rabbit hole: How would the SG treat Islam and Judaism, both of which deny the divinity of Jesus, and therefore offend a couple of billion Christians, seems clear in light of his sentiments.  Same for Jews and Muslims being offended by the Christian claim that Jesus was the messiah.  This is doubtless offensive to them.  Simply celebrating Christmas must provoke and offend a great many others' values and beliefs.

Rather than seek to limit our freedom of expression, the thing to do is strengthen our freedom to provoke and humiliate others.  If we deny protection, we've agreed to a system that favors the least tolerant among us and encourages ever more violent and destructive protests. Better by far to tell these folks to grow up and not worry about how others view their religious beliefs.