Anarchy is ideal for ideal men; passionate men must be reasonable. Like so many men have done before me, I examine the bases for a society of men and women who want to be free but who recognise the inherent limits that social interdependence places on them.-James M. Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan
Nowadays, specially in the western democratic societies, freedom of expression and speech are considered a given right and one of the pillars that sustains society.
With the signature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris 1948 by 50 member states of the United Nations, western societies were carved to this Declaration.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Upon this principles, we consider that it is our inherent right as Human Being to express and say whatever we want using whatever mean, and so when the unfortunate terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists was perpetuated, a rise of solidarity and firm conviction of the right to freedom of speech took place in France and in most countries of the western world.
However, though I strongly condemn any act of violence and it shouldn’t be used to justify what was done, I cannot stop thinking that with any freedom and right comes along a great responsibility sometimes or most of the times forgotten.
Does our freedom of expression include the right to cause pain on other’s minds? Even, as I have heard, that art by itself and due to its nature can sometimes offend and cause disturbing feelings on others, do we have the right in the “name of art” to do this? Aren’t we defending to an extreme an idea that causes pain on others even if not physical?
Do we have a human right to cause distress on other human beings even by words or drawings?
“In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When … the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.” – Sir Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)
I strongly believe, no matter the means, we haven’t the right to cause any pain on another person either through weapon or either through a pen.
“Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.”
― Edmund Burke
Freedom and Social Responsibility are two sides of the same coin. One should not exist without the other under the token of transforming gold into cheap copper .
Je sui Charlie and everyone else!