dimanche 17 avril 2011

Deo gratias

Thank God that there are, as yet in our country(ies), no laws against thinking and speaking one’s mind.  Don’t know why but I woke up this morning reminiscing about some of my past postings here and elsewhere.  It dawned on me that in several countries I would already have been arrested and thrown in jail for insulting the leader or spreading negative things about the Nation.
Mind you I also could have accompanied some of you since, at times, I was merely supporting your own posts.  We would have committed the crime of “dissidence” (:»)

7 commentaires:

  1. Oh what a great reminder Paul! Thank God, indeed. And in the meantime, let's continue to stand up for what is true and right while we still have those rights.

  2. We must never take these rights for granted. In the U.S., Canada and elswhere some are trying to erode them...and may succeed if we lower our guard.
    Those guys are active on the far right and on the far left ends.

  3. Thanks for noting that the "correct speech" crowd are essentially the same in effect whether "right" or "left" wing (enantiodromia seems to be the word again; in the end it's all the same).

    It scares the (*& out of me that a doctor in Bahrain can be arrested for weeping at the bedside of a protestor killed by government troops, and the US has not yet severed all connection whatever for that government.

  4. Certainly, we in in the Western democracies have freedoms of speech which we should not take for granted. We stand on the shoulders of those who went before us, and who were incarcerated or killed for saying things which the government didn't like, but whose courage brought about the changes which allow us free speech today.

    But, what really is free speech? Isn't it the right to say anything without losing one's livelihood, or being jailed or killed?

    In our Western democracies, freedom of speech is usually thought of in terms of freedom to criticise the government. But what percentage of us exercise this freedom? 1%? 0.5%? In any case this percentage is tiny, and is so because most of us don't feel oppressed by government.

    However, those of us who are aren't retired, and who therefore have to go out to work every day, feel oppressed by our bosses, because all private corporations, or businesses, are de facto dictatorships. Criticise your boss, and, while you won't be thrown in jail, you will lose your job, and therefore your livelihood.

    In the Western democracies, we can criticise the government only to the extent that it doesn't threaten the economic and social status quo. The laws of Treason and Sedition are there to take care of anyone who says anything too threatening. Say or write or publish something that does threaten the economic and social status quo, and you'll soon find yourself in jail. Just ask Julian Assange.

    While we don't have too much to fear from government in times of peace as long as we don't say anything too far out of line, think about what happens in times of civil unrest and war. Always, a State or Emergency is declared, or a War Measures Act is imposed, under which the outwardly democratic government restricts freedoms of speech to what they are under an out-and-out dictatorship.

    But, it is precisely in times of war or civil unrest when the freedom of speech is most important, because governments in these times have dictatorial powers.

    I must end this now, for I can see a police car outside, and there's a loud and authoritative rapping on my front door............

  5. Philippe, we will send you oranges in your jail cell. Of course you live in Harperland so you may be more at risk than us in Blockland.
    Sledpress, I'm a centre man so I could not do but mention the two extremes. "Les extrêmes se touchent", goes the saying.

  6. Well put (as usual) Philippe.
    Paul, what is Blockland? Is this a Canadian inside joke that only you and Philippe might understand?
    Or is this a reference to the Blocks about whom I know a great deal?

  7. It's a reference to the "Bloc Québécois", a separatist party that fields, in Québec only, candidates in federal elections to protect Québec interests against the Rest of Canada (R.O.C.). At dissolution it held 51 of Québec's 75 seats in Ottawa.
    It is the federal brother of "le Parti Québécois" a provincial party working toward the secession of Québec from Canada. It is currently the Official Opposition in Québec City.
    Your family was not concerned.