Right to Free Speech or the Right to be Offended?

So in the last week two news items have got me bothered and had me in debate with people over the right to say what we please against the right to be offended. Firstly this isn’t really the question! It’s like the abortion debate: Right to Choose or Right to Life- let me declare right now I’m in the first camp firmly!! But that debate much like the free speech/ offence debate is not actually framed correctly. The right for woman to decide what happens with her body is not anti-life, the pro-lifers are simply ANTI-CHOICE. The right to free speech is essential in all healthy societies as is the right to be offended, what is not correct is to say you have the right not to be offended by someones views.

First the British Boxer Tyson Fury opens his mouth to the press expressing some of the most backwards opinions in recent memoryUnknown (Donald Trump excluded but I’ll come to him). Any person expressing opinions that include- “I’m not sexist. I believe a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back. That’s my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe.” And “There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one’s pedophilia”. In the great scheme of things those comments are no more offensive than usual nonsense that prejudice and ignorance unleashes.

The problem occurs when tax payers money (mine being one) is being used to provide a platform for this fool. BBC Sports Personality of the Year is not just about sporting excellence it’s about the person too i.e. the Personality part. Something which Mr Fury could spend time working on in my opinion. He should’t be on the ballot, his remarks show him to lack the vital assets that make someone a role model for our country. His views on women and homosexuals are backwards but he claims they are only for his woman and his Traveller Culture. Well that may be but not so long ago it was the culture in South Africa to deny the vote and other basic human rights to the black majority. Thankfully South Africa moved forward, there are still some who haven’t but as Darwin put it ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’. The same applies in this case, he can keep his views and shout them out loud, doesn’t mean that the rest of society has to accept or accommodate them.

The BBC should dump this man in favour of someone more deserving, but either way the man is getting no more of my attention. Moving swiftly on to the moron that is Donald Trump.images All I can say is thank god his family moved to the U.S.A because otherwise we in Scotland might have had to deal with him. That said his recent remarks about a shut down of muslims entering the U.S.A is completely unworkable. Does the man not realise that Islam is a religion and not a race. Not all followers are identifiable on first glance so what is he suggesting- at immigration stations- passport please and declaration of religion. Bizarre in the extreme. The man must have been ignored as child to be so attention seeking now. Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals and women pigs- he’s really wooing the voting public! If he gets the republican nomination they can kiss goodbye to another four years, because he’s offending everyone in the home of the brave and land of the free (except women, mexican’s and muslim’s of course they’re free under certain conditions in his book!)

Also feel I need to point out a couple of parallels between Trump and Hitler; divisive rhetoric, mega dodgy hairstyle and his views on muslims are akin to Hitler’s views on jews. Is this man really the best the Republican Party can offer? Do people actually want to live in a country where he would be President? I’m grateful to live in this country where Trump is not an immediate danger and yet can we imagine a world were he has access to nuclear weapons. Personally I think the American people of all races and creeds are smart and will eventually see past this man and his bluster and see him for the wig-wearing fool he is.

I close with Voltaire he said it best and it remains the cornerstone of humanity today- ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’! The right to be offended is as important as the right to Free Speech however, the right to not be offended should never even be contemplated!!

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Just the Worst!

I am a big bad blogger- I’m idle and guilty of self pity. But after what can only be described as a difficult year here I am trying again in the spirit of Robert the Bruce. Enough about me…

In a year where we have all seen the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the beach attack in Tunisia, the bombing of the Russian airline and then the Paris massacre; amongst the countless atrocities in the Middle East. The question put to British Parliament on Wednesday was to Bomb or not to Bomb those Terrorists in Syria. I refuse to give name to this group, they are just the worst example of the human race and fly in the face of all that Islam stands for. But for the British Parliament to ask the question again; just makes me wonder what these people who want to bomb think it will do! Bombs no matter what any military person tells you, do not win a war. Boots on the ground do that!

Have the British Government learned nothing in the 14 years since 9/11, violence begets violence. We make ourselves more unsafe in the short term by bombing a country to dust along with its citizens. The sabre rattling does nothing to stop the funding of those terrorists nor does it stop the radicalisation of British Muslims. I am by no means a pacifist sometimes military action is not only the last means but should be the first resort especially in cases like Bosnia and Rwanda. Where we in Europe failed, as did the United States to respond adequately and quickly enough to stop genocide.

In the case of Syria, to stop the maniacs you need to take the fuel from them. That is money and the civil war! Assad fuels the fire by his undemocratic rule and war crimes against the opposition but while chaos reigns in Syria terrorism is a threat to us all. And money from oil, taxes, ransom, donations, selling of antiquities and robbing banks will not be completely stopped by bombs. Bombs only work in conjunction with effective ground troops and intelligence otherwise you are bombing almost blind and thats when innocence is lost. We then become the crusading anti-islam western forces. The terrorists portray us as! I wish people in Parliament put as much effort into humanitarian efforts and cutting off the money; as they do with the rush to bombing.

I am pleased my local MP voted against the bombing. But my heart breaks for those people in Syria, living in what can only be described as hell on earth made no safer by British Bombs. All we can really hope for is that Governments around the world agree on workable future for Syria, the way they joined together for bombing. That way we can all go about our daily lives free of fear of lone wolf killers stalking our streets.