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Just Who (or what) Do You Think You Are?

Reader comment on item: White House Nonchalance toward the Middle East
in response to reader comment: The Myth of "good Islam". - Truth vs. reallity.

Submitted by orange yonason (United States), Mar 22, 2006 at 03:58


I Have To Disagree With Thomas, whose philisophical speculations sound more like they come from a student of the Koran than from a proud and free Dane. When he asserts that "The freedom of speech is a cultural feature, and not a - so called - universal value." I have to shout...

"No Way!"

The difference between mankind and G-d's other creatures is that we speak. Speech is what is meant when we say we are created "in the image of G-d." It is the essence of who we are, and as such it is the wellspring of all other values, freedoms and resoponsibilities.

"Freedom of speech" is integral to freedom of thought. Without Freedom to speak what we think, our thoughts become meaningless. Take away speech, which must be free to be purposeful, and humans are indestinquishable from a bunch of clever chimps. We must have freedom of speech in order to communicate ideas that are freely thought, because without communication civilization is impossible. It is not at all a "cultural feature," but the very thing that makes us human and the source of all our culture. (The cause cannot be an artifact of the effect)

Free speech is not just about the drivel that flows from unrestrained mouths. It is about the profundity of the loss incurred by attempting to legislate away the dross. True, with such a fundamental freedom comes awsome fundamental responsibility. But it is up to the individual to restrain him- or herself, not society, because without the tension between choices for which we are personally responsible, our free will would become bereft of meaning.

The fact that a devout Muslim, who has been raised in a world where only the elite are permitted even a limited degree of freedom while most of them have little or none, correlates well with the failure of Islamic "cultures" to make any significant industrial, scientific, literary, or other progress. while not at all with Thomas's alleged irrelevance of "freedom of speech" to civilization.

(sorry, it's late, but I hope this makes sense anyway)

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