Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Slippery Slope on the Way to Losing Free Speech

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Slippery Slope on the Way to Losing Free Speech

Article excerpt

THIS issue of free speech, raised in the story "Turning in their graves" (QT 18/03), is one we all need to consider very carefully.

I personally do not agree with a lot of what people say, but I will defend their right to say it without fear or favour.

As far as I was aware, all the wars Australia has been involved with have been around the issue of remaining free, being free, speaking freely and having the blessing of the freedom of the press (media).

If someone has the courage of their convictions to stand up and give their opinion, then challenge them if you disagree by intellectual discussion and play the game, not the man.

If we lose the right to free speech because someone may want to shut that free speech down, then it is a very slippery slope to where we end up, as German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller illustrated when he wrote World War II:

"First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.

"Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.

"Then they came for the Jews and Muslims, and I did not speak out, because I was neither a Jew or a Muslim.

"Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me."

Everyone has something to contribute, so let Australians hear all the viewpoints and remember hate and ignorance generally rise out of a state of fear.

With open source media such as Facebook and others, the issue of abusing our right of free speech by name-calling and bullying (forms of fascism) is reason enough for the deleting of the post.

This is not restricting anyone's right to free speech but is a softer option than suing someone for defamation.

As far as the writer of the opinion piece having concerns about fascism now finding its way to our fair shores, well it might be a bit late to worry about that. …

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