Supporting freedom of speech

The Danish Mohammed cartoons are currently starting off as a low-flame crisis again and countries like Egypt and Iran are actively fanning the flames. Sudan announced a boycott of Danish products, and Hamas children's TV is inciting children to go murder infidels who criticize Mohammad. There are protests in different Muslim countries and in Western countries are well, there are threats of more boycotts and burning of Danish flags, and all because a Danish cartoonist dared voice his opinion about Islamic terrorism several years ago, and Danish newspapers expressed their outrage at a Muslim plot to kill him a few weeks ago.

I do not support unlimited freedom of speech (as argued for in Islamists and Naivists), and I don't think John Stuart Mill imagined the freedom to express one's thoughts and opinions would be taken to the extremes of today. For example, I don't think a liberal country should allow people to incite others to commit murder or to undermine the liberal base of that country. I do agree with Mills, though, that freedom of speech is the basis of liberalism. Preventing one from expressing his opinion, no matter how hurtful it is, also prevents his listeners from responding. Protecting people from grappling with opinions they don't agree with not only prevents them from changing their opinions, but also prevents them from understanding their own truths.

What I haven't seen recently are protests to support Danish values. I don't believe that's due to the fact that people don't support Denmark or the values for which it stands.

Organizing a world-wide protest is not something one person can do, and so I have been thinking how a private individual could show his support.

My suggestion: Drop by your nearest Danish Embassy or Consulate, and thank them. If that is difficult, send them a token of appreciation - a letter, flowers, chocolates. I'm sure it would be appreciated, and it would serve as some sort of balance when that same embassy is visited by Islamists demanding Denmark curtail its freedom of speech.

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