Inciting violence


altRecent announcements from the UK's Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith caused some controversy when she released a list of the 16 people banned from the UK. The main reason why these people had been barred from entering the UK was due to what they had said on a variety of issues. One of those on the list, Michael Weiner (Savage) a radio DJ in the US, is now suing the Home Secretary for damages reasoning that he has been defamed.

The majority on the list are there because their speeches on a broad swathe of issues have been judged to be offensive. Not by society, not by single individuals who have complained, but by a clique within the Home Office. They are now the arbiters of taste and decency, the 'philosopher kings' that rule our society and the firewall that protects us from harm. We are seemingly incapable of acting in a rational way. The Home Office has failed to understand the cornerstone of liberty: free speech.

We all have the right to say what we like, even when the language can cause harm to someone; the rational person though tempers their speech so as not to cause harm. But when we pronounce on issues directly to an audience, we do not know how that audience will react, even when we charge them to act in a certain way. The state can, and should, only step in when actual physical harm is pertained to be about to take place, the state cannot assume that inciting violence through others via speech is in effect threatening a specific person. It is not. The lumpen assumptions the Home Secretary makes is one that slices society into sections pitting them against each other. She and her minions are the ones who are inciting violence and we should begin by ignoring them, as any rational person would.