Friday, May 01, 2009

Watch your blarney!

Oh Ireland, Oh Ireland, why are you forsaking the civilised world?

The irony was again just dripping from this story in the Irish press last week, see here and also here; justice minister Dermot Ahern thinks that Ireland should have strong blasphemy laws; miscreants would be subject to a maximum fine of 100,000 euro and confiscation of the "blasphemous" material.

Just wow! How on earth can thinking people believe that this would be a good idea, this would mean that peoples computers, books, music and other cultural currency could be taken away from them simply on the whim of a piece of random religious dogma, there is no definition of which particular religious dogma provides the test against which the criminal words would be measured so who is the arbiter here, who decides what is blasphemous and what is not?

The thought experiments that could be played with this are mind boggling, for example if I was a Jew living in Ireland then I could simply point at the Koran and claim it contains anti-Jewish sentiment and should be banned, similarly an atheist could claim to be offended by all religions, Mormons could sue the Government for not allowing them to hold many wives, never mind important social issues like the rights of women to have abortions, homosexuals to exist at all and the rights of children to receive a proper science education.

Can anyone else see the problem with this picture?

Freedom of speech means (by definition) that no individual or organisation is protected from being offended, it represents the only "fair" position for any society, we all have the equal right that if we don't like something we don't have to read it, watch it or listen to it!

The following text is taken from the UN universal declaration of human rights; it would seem that some Irish people wish to opt out of that?

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Your posts are so interesting & I must thank you for the fab comments you leave on my blog. They always make me think & laugh (if you have skewered one of the religious posters). thanks!