Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Free speech - the dilemma

I origionally posted this on my personal blog (where I just talk about non-gaming stuff, yes it does happen) and I thought it was relavent to post here.

The topic of free speech has been weighing heavily on my mind over the last few days. Being the son of a left-wing-Marxist-scholar-revolutionary has taught me a few things. One of those is to uphold the right to free speech. The reason I started this website is because the 400 character limit on facebook was restrictive to the point that I felt I couldn't make my point. That in some way my right to free speech was being impeded by not being able to rant on the internet.

I can't remember who said it (some french bloke I think around the time of the first revolution) but the saying is 'I disagree with what you say but I'll die for your right to say it.' I take that saying very seriously and as annoying as it has been sometimes, I've stuck to it.

Recently a very good friend of mine has come under fire for putting forth her opinion on an ad she found offensive. She stated her reasons and put forth logical and convincing arguments. To which in return she gets called a fat hairy lesbian among other horrible things. Oh and death threats, can't forget about the death threats. Now this is the kind of stuff I'd expect on 4Chan (A.K.A the arsehole of the internet) but not in the civilized parts of the world wide web.

I like to think that gamers are rather tolerant people. With games like Mass Effect where you work with (and if you are so inclined get freaky with) aliens how could you not. I still like to think that gamers as a whole are, but of course there are idiots in every bunch. It's these people that are making me question my belief in free speech. On one hand these people should not be allowed to say this kind of stuff, let alone be allowed to breed, but on the other hand they are well within their rights to say it. I'm feeling really conflicted on this issue and it is something that weighs heavily on my mind.

I feel like I should do something but what? I suppose all I can do is say 'hey... stop that, not cool dude.'

Actually I think I can.

There's nothing wrong with debate. Matter of fact it's great. Its how ideas are formed and forged and allow for people to think on a subject in a deep and significant way. But how are you making any kind of intellectual contribution by simply calling someone a fat hairy lesbian? If you disagree, fine but put forth an argument and make your reasons tangible. If you can read, spell and you are familiar with how to use a computer then it would stand to reason that you can make a counter-point. Because by just name calling you just make yourself look stupid. Like you're too stupid to enunciate how you feel about the subject. 

Think before you type.

Till next week, peace.

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