Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Freedom to Yell Fire

Free speech, rightly valued, has its limits. Of late several stories across the world have thrown light on that—in the United States constitutionally protected—right. Last month came the trial of members of a punk band for attacking the Putin regime from the altar of an Orthodox church. Yesterday came stories, repeated today, that next-in-line leader Xi Jinping hasn’t been seen in days, but China’s authorities are absolutely mum. Today comes an escalation of the 2005 Muhammed cartoon controversy: a film attacking the Prophet of Islam as a fraud. Ah, the Internet. Riots came at once in Libya and Egypt (one American died). In the realm we now inhabit excess of good produces the bad, excess of bad produces the good. In both cases the innocent are hurt—but then, who is really innocent? Paradoxical but true.

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