Freedom to be nice?

Here’s the crux of the matter, in a Dutch official’s warning about anti-Muslim film whose showing is expected to cause rioting:

‘It is difficult to anticipate the content of the film, but freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Minister, who was in Madrid to attend the Alliance of Civilisations, an international forum aimed at reducing tensions between the Islamic world and the West.

How so?  Because freedom to offend is at the heart of free speech.  Rubber does not meet the road when no one’s offended, no one objects, only when someone objects.  Else it’s meaningless.

If he had talked up “fire” in a crowded theater, there would at least have been arguments to make.

There’s hope for us all

A fellow in England got put in jail for saying this at a pro-hunting rally and spent five years getting the charge thrown out, in the end receiving 2G lbs (money) for his trouble:

“If you are a black, vegetarian, Muslim, asylum-seeking, one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you.”

So.  It pays to be persistent, even with fanatical hate-crime believers.