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View Diary: Free speech under attack in Denmark: Convicted for criticizing Islam (174 comments)

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  •  Very succinct and strong (4+ / 0-)

    I have a tenuous understanding of the principle of "minority rights" and feel that its meaning is counterintuitive. My first thought on hearing it is that it would mean that members of a minority group have the right not to be offended or criticized, but in fact I believe it means the opposite.

    I found this page that talks about it: http://www.democracyweb.org/...

    It says: "For the majority, ensuring the minority's rights becomes a matter of self-interest, since it must utilize the same rights when it is in minority to seek to become a majority again. This holds equally true in a multiparty parliamentary democracy, where no party has a majority, since a government must still be formed in coalition by a majority of parliament members." It also quotes what it says is the beginning of Roberts Rules of Order: "American Parliamentary Law is built upon the principle that rights must be respected: the rights of the majority, of the minority, of individuals, of absentees, and rights of all of these together."

    What I think this means is that the right of free speech protects "the rights of all of these together." If criticism of a single group is legally prevented, why not criticism of other groups, as the poster says?  And that is the slipperiest of slopes.  The protection of the right of unalloyed free speech for all is the only guarantor of free speech for one.

    Any attempt anywhere by Muslim groups (or any groups) to shut down free speech even if they find it offensive endangers their own rights at the most basic and dangerous level.

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