That Australia seriously considered demands that his visa be cancelled is the tragedy.
If hurt feelings, or being offended, is the test then I am offended by the implication that free speech needs a licence to offend, that there is someone who has the right to issue licences about what can and can’t be said.
Outrageousness in the pursuit of political and social discourse is inherently subjective. Those who are outraged can respond with the same tool – free speech.
Words do have consequences. They can be weaponised. Should they not be spoken? Maybe. But how does it avail the cause of civilisation to fight for democracy with silence? By silencing dissent? Why is it ok for people who have commented in way unacceptable to some religion to have to live under police protection and stay silent?
Who decides? Who do you appoint? Who have you heard of in history who can decide for us all where the line is? Does Islam respect my right to unbelief? Of course it doesn’t . Does it respect the right of a muslim to change belief? Of course it doesn’t. That is already a risky thing to say or do in a lot of places.
The mere fact that they have succeeded in debating whether freedom of speech exists demonstrates a tragedy, not a victory for free speech.
Gawler, South Australia