A simple statement that, I hope, defines humanity. It is, of course, a quote from Rene Descartes, a French philosopher in the 17th century, somewhat appropriate given recent events. Well, I can’t answer for everyone else but it certainly defines my own view of myself; the ability to think. What my wife calls “my insatiable quest for knowledge.” That quest, of course, carried out through reading and analysing the resultant information. Something that, in certain areas, some people would like to prohibit. I think not.
Now, if you are going to curb freedom of speech, on what basis do you justify your actions? Well, very few actually and, certainly, the fact that it might offend someone should not be among them. After all, who knows what might offend some people? Yes, Mr Angry of Tunbridge Wells, I’m talking about you! So, how do you make your own judgement about what you should and shouldn’t say?
Well, when I first joined the army at 15, among the things we were told was that we shouldn’t argue about politics and religion. Something that I have been doing for much of my life. Such censorship has, of course, a rationale behind it. If you don’t argue about such matters, then little changes and the status quo is maintained. The latter, of course, being precisely the point. My own guidelines, for what they are worth, are that the only comments that are subject to restraint are those related to circumstances under which those experiencing them have no control. Thus, women, people of different skin colours, those who are gay and lesbian, people with special needs shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their circumstances. All else is up for debate. In these times, we all need to be Charlie.