"If you want freedom…" Q&A: Passion no defence of freedom.

January 17, 2008 by  

Some folks are apparently unhappy that I have criticized the logic and effectiveness of Ezra’s argument for freedom of speech.

The general thrust of some responses has been: “Look, the fact is that he’s exposing the Human Rights Commission, and defending himself from a bully when others would not do so. That makes him a hero. Who cares about egghead analyses of the foundations of freedom?! Shut up!!”.

And that is precisely my point. If you want freedom, the one thing you simply cannot shut up about is: a rational defence for freedom. The freedom to live a rational life cannot be achieved by whipping up a crowd into an anti-intellectual, anti-state passion. Such behaviour can only achieve the opposite: the glorification, and justification, of the anti-intellectual and the anti-rational.

None of this is an attack on Ezra. It is an attack on his arguments for freedom. If those arguments are not identified as flawed and ineffective for the purpose of achieving freedom, we will continue to rely upon them to the demise of freedom.


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