Are we really ready for freedom of speech?

There has been much said since the attacks against Charlie Hebdo in France on Wednesday and I don’t want to go over the same old stuff.  What I would like to do is look at the deeper question that I think needs asking.

The way I see the recent attack is there are 2 completely separate issues at work here.  Pretty much everyone is talking about how freedom of speech is important and must be upheld. People should not be cowed into silence or be killed for what they say.  There is no argument there.

However, the deeper question that many fail to ask is why do people want to offend in the first place? 

It seems not only are people rushing to defend their freedom of speech but they are desperate to be able to offend people; to be able to find that one thing that will upset large groups of people and shout it from the tallest building, just because they can.

Why do people want to do this? And why are some people saying that we SHOULD do this? “Because we can” is simply not a good enough answer.

People often argue that there will always be someone that is offended, but by saying this they are missing the point.  Yes, it’s true, you will always risk offending someone while you speak your truth.  The difference is that some purposely choose to offend, it’s not some accident, it is purposeful.  And that is the problem.

Of course, when they have succeeded in their goal and people get upset these people often then go on to ridicule and offend people further

If this happened in a school it would be considered bullying, but somehow when we become adults we are allowed to intentionally upset people.  How is this ok?  

I believe we are being given an opportunity to ask this question and find a better use for these amusing artists. Why, rather than strive to upset people, can they not work to bring people together?

We are intelligent enough to know that these terrorists are evil people that have chosen a particular religion to use as a cause for their evil acts, whether they are aware of this or not is unimportant.

These are not the Muslims you meet on the street, so why do the satirists make such an effort to lump them together and upset them all? I am guessing because they are not intelligent enough to see the difference between the radical extremest and people trying to get on with their lives peacefully. 

Is this idiocy something we should celebrate and even encourage?
 
Although I deeply condemn the gunmen, I don’t think satirists are free from blame. The sooner we are able to ask these deeper questions the sooner we can work towards peace.

The sooner we learn and accept that with freedom of speech comes with responsibility the sooner we can use it for the betterment of all.

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