Democratic countries often put the right for freedom of expression on a pedestal. But what if that right is used to spread hate; is it still permitted then? Many countries in Europe guard free speech with champions of liberal ideals, and Charlie Hebdo magazine is one of them. Yet, since human nature is filled with hate, when you let people express themselves without constraints, they express hate. When freedom of speech means freedom for hate speech, then freedom of speech must be restrained. Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of Mohammed constitute hate speech, and must therefore be banned. Nothing justifies murder, but at the same time, an institution that systematically spreads hate should be shut down; it has no right to exist.
Whether we realize it or not, humanity is one entity. The various religions, belief systems, races, and cultures are all organs of a single being, and each organ expresses a different facet of that entity. Although the organs of this entity detest one another, they are still connected. In fact, the whole purpose of the hatred is to impel us to consciously build care and love for one another, and come to want to be one entity. Therefore, spreading hatred amidst the organs of humanity is tantamount to poisoning the body. If one organ spreads hatred, it does not justify other organs doing likewise.
When we mock someone else’s belief, we do not contribute anything to humanity; we only increase disunity, hatred, and violence. And more than anything, we expose our own makeup. While it is no surprise to find that we are hateful of each other, boasting about it doesn’t help mend it. Since the purpose of the hatred is to impel us to build the opposite, intensifying the hatred between us is counterproductive to our whole development as human beings.
If we want to live in a sustainable democratic society, we must make it a law that hate speech against anyone, a nation or a person, is strictly forbidden. Currently, even where there are such laws, they are not enforced assertively, and they must be; they are imperative to the stability of society. If you want to express love, express as much as you want. But if you want to express hate, keep it to yourself, society has plenty of it already. And worse yet, you are only fueling the hatred of your enemies for you. Nothing good will come out of it; only pain, death, more pain, and more death.
In today’s world, only those who rise above their hatred and strive to love will win. We are in an era where everyone is connected, and only positive connections last. Negative connections disintegrate and fall apart. If you wish to win, win people’s hearts. This is all we need today.
[Reuters: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he respected Muslims who were shocked by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad but that was no excuse for violence, as his officials ramped up security after a knife attack in a French church that killed three people this week.]