it’s not about free speech

David Irving and Nick Griffin want to speak in public, and when someone tries to say no, they play Dennis the Peasant (Help! Help! I’m being repressed!). But it’s a lie, and they know it. They’re just using our own rhetoric against us. You think, if they were in power, you’d be free to call bullshit on them? Here’s a hint: their sort have been in power before, and no. Dissenting opinions were not tolerated.

Griffin and Irving and their stupid ilk are not interested in healthy debate. Quite the opposite: what they want is to stifle debate by dragging it back to the starting point over and over again. If you have to keep explaining over and over again why racism is wrong, the discussion can never move forward. It’s a hoary old trick that any feminist will recognize: we get it all the time.

Telling these people to shut the hell up is not a violation of their rights – rights, I might add, that they want themselves, but are not willing to allow the rest of us to enjoy. The right to free speech does not include the right to falsely yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. And that is exactly what they are trying to do. They shout their bigotry from the rooftops in hopes of inciting something, and then refuse to take responsibility for it when they succeed.

Freedom of speech is both a right and a responsibility. Like any other, if you abuse it, you deserve to lose it.

So there.

Song du jour of the day: Shut Up, by the Black Eyed Peas

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