In response to this article on a very controversial, but relevant in light of the recent British, German, and American embassy attacks and general rioting in 20 North African and Middle Eastern countries in response to an Islamophobic video, opinion I reflected on this quote of Karl Popper this morning in my devotional.
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
-Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies
Quotation from Wikiquote page here.
As in Germany since 1945, should some “Free Speech” be considered illegal? As display of the swastika is illegal in Germany, should Islamophobic speech be made illegal for national and global security purposes? Anthea Butler is an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. This article poses the question. Part of me agrees with her. What do you think?
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