Thursday, March 30, 2006

Freedom of speech is a 2 way street

My libertarian streak makes it very easy for me to pick a consistent stance on freedom of speech issues. Freedom of speech is nothing if it isn't universal. There should be no limits on it. Obviously it includes the freedom to offend. I've spent many hours criticising angry Muslims who wish to limit freedom of speech, because they were offended by the 12 Danish cartoons offending their profit Muhammed.

Well now that an Indonesian newspaper has their own cartoon depicting the Australian PM and foreign minister as dingos having sex, I still say they have a right to draw what they please.

The opposition's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has rightly called the cartoons obscene. But then, he think the solution to all this is to limit freedom of speech:

"Certainly when I see the Indonesian ambassador next, when he finally returns to Australia, I'll be raising this in terms of what government can do in Jakarta to at least ensure that it's publications don't breach common decency standards."
On both sides of politics in Australia, there is a sick and power-hungry mentality. Whenever a problem is identified, their first and usually only response is to think "What can government do?"