Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Collision! Free Speech and Religion" examines a moral dilemma in Europa; pitting individualism against tribalism

Danish human rights lawyer Jacob Mchangama narrates his short film (19 minutes) “Collision! Free Speech and Religion” (2013) from “Free to Choose”.

The documentary traces some specific controversies:  the persecution of the Baha’I after the Iranian Revolution (I used to live right next to a Baha’I center in NYC) over the idea of the finality of a Prophet; demonstrations by Westboro Baptist Church in the US at military funerals over allowing gays in the military (“don’t ask don’t tell” repeal in 2011), and particularly the Jylland- Posten Cartoon Controversy in Denmark in 2005, which Flemming Rose has written a lot about ("The Tyranny of Silence", Books, Feb. 3, 2015). 

European governments in the past ten years have tightened the legal climate clamping down on hate speech against religious groups, including especially Muslims.  The moral justification might be that many people have little individual opportunity and have only their tribalist associations to live for;  libertarian individualism leaves a lot of people out.

Mchangama (along with Russell Miller) spoke on a Cato forum today on the situation in Europe with limitations on free speech, which I will cover soon on Wordpress.  One shocking revelation at the end was that in some countries, it is possible for a citizen in that country to be prosecuted for insulting the head of state of another country!  Erdogan of Turkey has already attempted one such prosecution in Germany!
 Here is the link for the entire short film. 

No comments: