Chapter 21

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I'm not that big a believer in Freedom of Speech. Simple-minded people think that freedom of speech is an absolute right*, but anything in the extreme will be turned to evil, and I'm not a big fan of evil, either.

This is a crucial point: There are two kinds of offending people.

One is to offend people as a regrettable byproduct of telling actual truth about actual facts.

The other kind is to offend people because it's fun to hurt people, as those French cartoonists were doing in 2014.

Pretty much nobody makes a distinction between the two, and people's blindness to the distinction prevents a clear view of the situation.

If you are innocently presenting unpalatable data, and people get offended, that's unfortunate. But, the alternative is to never expose unpalatable data, to keep all the bad news hidden. That would cause bad things to happen.

If, on the other hand, you offend people because you think that it's fun to hurt people's feelings, like political cartoonists and artists in general do, it would be perfectly reasonable for you to be arrested and imprisoned. You are not doing good, you are only doing bad. You are hurting people.

Heck, if deliberately hurting people is your regular job, I don't even mind if crazy fundamentalists shoot you. Hurting people is just what you do, shooting people is just what they do. Good for them.


*We speak elsewhere about a “right” being nothing but an arbitrary, imaginary construct that has no special reason for existing