Thursday, August 17, 2006
A real moral equivalency: freedom of speech vs. concern and respect.
This is why you have to be very careful when you start defending someone's "right" to say whatever the hell they like. Remember the whole Danish Muslim cartoons mess? And how many people piled on about "freedom of speech" -- ignoring entirely the basic moral responsibility to treat people with dignity and respect (even if their beliefs are weird)? And then how Iran started a contest on Holocaust cartoons? Well, a museum exhibit has just opened in Tehran of Holocaust cartoons. I'm sure they are all deeply offensive. However, the original set of cartoons were deeply offensive to Muslims. If cartoonists have a right to draw what they like, regardless of how offensive it might be, then this extends to offenses to non-Muslims and Muslims alike. On the other hand, if there's some sort of obligation to not offend others (on the basis that it tells against treating them with respect), then the original cartoons were equally wrong.