Thursday, 15 January 2015

On freedom

Last week wasn't exactly a great week for me so sorry in advance for this being a bit later than usual.
The weeks international events leave me thinking very much what is the meaning of freedom, how that ties into responsibility and so on.
Freedom as a concept for me can take on two differing angles, the first being the freedom to do that which isn't prescribed and the other is the freedom from certain conditions such as poverty, discrimination and needless offence.
One thing that most of us living if not raised in the West  take very much for granted is the proposition we have the right to express any opinion on any subject be it face to face, online or in the media usually subject to some rider such as not inciting riot or hatred against those that are the subject of them.
That may still leave a large swathe of opinion that some may feel insults them, their institutions and beliefs and poses the question "What is the the appropriate response?" if you feel that's so.
We can express our disapproval in the form of reported interviews outlining where we feel we've been misinterpreted or portrayed offensively or write letters to newspapers.
We have the right to protest such views, publications and  programs provided it is peaceful, being within the law.
We have the right to request something be withdrawn or removed because we find it offensive although I would stress that not only isn't something we can just demand as of right in a free society as it weakens our collective freedoms if exercised frequently.
Do we have the the right to injure or kill those who offend us? My answer is a categorical no no matter how angry we may feel because we disrespect the freedom that allows us our own right to live our lives only subject to the Laws that apply to all.
As the mayor of Rotterdam, himself from an immigrant background put it more colourfully than I would , if you so dislike living in the free society you came to wishing to remove much of it, then perhaps you're in the wrong Country because you cannot expect to change any Country whose people you joined their fundamental values just for you even if you were right.
It's why we came.

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