I Was Wrong

censoredI guess it’s not often that people admit that they are wrong, but I’ve thought about this, and I have realised that a careless tweet that I made actually went against my own principles and I’d like your thoughts on it!

So this was the tweet I was talking bout:

I got some typical responses back (won’t name any of my awesome tweep friends here, you can go see it yourself if you want) but it wasn’t till I was chatting with my boss later on (disclaimer, I work for a human rights organisation!) when he remarked that my feelings were a bit archaic. I was no better than those people who clamp down on freedom of expression worldwide.

These people weren’t presumably hurting anyone by peacefully protesting on the cnr of an Auckland intersection. (While I was there some lady approached them, broke down in tears and they gave her hugs, I don’t know what the context was, but I’m guessing some kind of triggered feelings from their message)

Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" (or did he?)

I always thought I lived by this quote from Voltaire*

But I guess it is harder than I think. It’s easier to accept freedom of expression and freedom of speech if you, personally, are happy with the expression or speech!

SO, this is the blog post that rants around that. I do want to live by that quote, within reason. If, indeed, the free speech isn’t hurting someone (there are so many examples of hate speech which incite hatred and nastiness which definitely doesn’t qualify here) then yes, I do think that you should be able to say it in this country.

Thanks @grantbayldon for reminding me why I work here, and why it is so important for people to have free speech in a free country.

* Turns out Voltaire didn’t even say it! but meh, if the internet says so