In Defense of the Offensive

Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Of late, it seems that the way one expresses themselves online must follow increasingly restrictive guidelines. Certainly it has always been more acceptable to maintain good etiquette whilst posting content, but ideas that are deemed less savory also have an important role to play.

The internet has always been home to “trolls” and general rabble-rousers, due to its largely anonymous nature. This is truly a sign that online speech is still free; when the most offensive and least etiquette driven among us can voice their opinion, you know that you are still able to spout your own philosophies and ideas.

For some reason, the new trend is that these offensive thoughts should instead be hidden and silenced. Unfortunately racism, sexism, (insert-here)ism cannot be solved with an “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy and I feel that the path to their censorship is one that leads to much darker places.

I implore you; who deems this content unfit to be heard and do they have the same opinion as you? The replies to these questions are “somebody” and “maybe,” answers that instill a sense of threatening oversight, rather than freedom. Am I not able, as a human adult, to make value judgements for myself, deeming right and wrong? Indubitably I will come across something I find deeply offensive, but should I remove this content for the mere crime of being thought? It may trigger my innermost despair but it remains a thought, not an action.I seek only to make you aware of what you are asking for. If you ask to see no “evil,” and hear no “evil,” remember that YOU can also speak no “evil” and chances are that you won’t be the one deciding what “evil” is.