Does One’s Right to Free Speech End Where Someone’s Feelings Begin?


So in my last article, I suggested the importance of tolerance. I suggested that at the end of the day, this whole homosexuality and homophobia issue that seems to have rocked the world in the past week is really about tolerance. Well, on second thought I may have to take a pause on that. Most people have been tolerant of differences. I mean in reality people really just go about their daily normal lives and brush off things that upset them (after letting off verbal steam, perhaps). Sure we may hear rants and stupid remarks now and then. Except on rare occasions and except for militant fringe groups who go to further extent in doing some serious damage on those they hate, most people really just react in a non-physical manner. Even for folks who just ignore stupid remarks, it doesn’t mean that deep inside their hatred or anger or fear on those whom they do not agree with is gone. At some point this repressed sentiment is bound to blow up and that is probably why we get all these conflicts (and perhaps Donald Trump voters).

In a previous article I wrote for another publication, I touched on the issue of Islamophobia and political correctness. I agreed with political commentator and TV personality Bill O’Reilly that even though that not all Muslims in the world are terrorists, the peace-loving silent majority of the Muslim world does not seem to be doing enough to stop the extremists in their fold. Why is that? Writer Frank Gaffney Jr. has attempted to investigate that question with his “America at a Crossroads Series” documentary special. Gaffney Jr. said:

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The documentary makes clear why the moderates are not more in evidence. Observant Muslims who dare to challenge the Islamists over ideological agendas pursued in the name of religion are shown being subjected to ostracism, intense coercion to conform and, in some cases, death threats. As long as these anti-Islamist Muslims are rightly seen as isolated, vulnerable and powerless, it would be foolish to believe that many of their co-religionists will want to emulate them.

So it would seem that fear may be the major impediment of the moderate Muslims in trying to impart some sense into the bomb-strapped hijacking lunatics in their fold eager to decapitate and blow up infidels to get their hands on those 72 virgins in Paradise that await them. Who can blame the silent majority? I don’t want to blame them. I certainly understand their fear. But as clinical psychologist, Dr. Susan Berry, said:

Honesty with ourselves, our families and friends, our colleagues, our fellow citizens, and our political leaders is hard. It involves confronting fear. But, those who are slaves to the denial, rationalization, and overcompensation of political correctness are not solving the problem. Instead, they are contributing to its strength and power.

I think the whole idea can be applied to other “phobias” we are dealing with such as “homophobia” and even perhaps “racism”. Political correctness seems to have taken a lot of people hostage and instead of openly trying to get their message across so that difference in beliefs and opinions can be discussed, rationalized, and accepted, there is also fear of being ostracized or labeled as a “homophobe”, an “Islamophobe”, or a “racist” for letting thoughts known. Suppressing different opinions and beliefs for the sake of political correctness or civility will not solve the problem.

So we really have to lay off butt-kissing of certain privileged groups. With privileged groups I mean those who seem to think that they are entitled to feel offended all the time like militant LGBTs, people of certain color, and a lot of onion-skinned folks. I’m sure this butt-kissing may very well just be about staying away from confrontations and invoking “tolerance”. That maybe the fearful majority in the, say, Muslim world, is not really afraid but are just practicing tolerance? Maybe that is what butt-kissers are really into whenever they appear to be engaging in their butt-kissing. Oh, please stop the cheap sniping at Muslims! Oh, please stop denigrating the Muslims by positing that the Muslim nutjobs would act in a more vicious manner than their crazy Christian extremist counterpart! Oh, your religious basis for believing that homosexuality is unnatural is so out of touch with reality! I suppose the “cheap” criticism of Muslim nutjobs and their ridiculous beliefs and the critique on the vitriol of LGBTs against those who don’t agree with same-sex marriage make one more bigoted or more intolerant than they are with their ad nauseam bashing of, say, the Roman Catholic Church and anything else Christian under the sun?

So let us get into tolerance and what tolerance really means. From what I can see nowadays, a person seems to be tolerant if he or she would only shut up and accept (at least in public) certain narratives. Like, say, it is wrong to critique religion and it is wrong to believe that homosexuality is unnatural. The narrative also includes acceptability of condemning white people since they supposedly have done so many evils and oppression against people of color in the past. But wait, apparently not all groups can be bashed. It’s okay to spit on Christianity and Christians but not anyone else. God forbid that anyone would criticize the beliefs of militant groups such as the Black Lives Matter folks – that would be racist! So you don’t get flak for bashing Christians or white cops but you do if you critique Muslims or homosexuality or militant groups like the Black Panthers. Hmmmm, why does tolerance seem to have favorite groups and subjects?

Maybe this just means that tolerance is not really about favoring any particular groups or subjects but merely to live and let live. That sounds really good! I like that! But here’s a problem – the concept of tolerance is not always good and may very well be being dishonest to ourselves.

Comelec Chair Andy Bautista, in one of his commentaries in the Philippine Star when he was still writing for the paper, and when he was reacting to the bashing Mideo Cruz got after his Polyteismo artwork drew the ire of Filipino Christians, said:

Being “tolerant” is not always a good thing: to tolerate an alcoholic’s predilections is to enable him (who, himself, is a victim, partly, because of his “tolerance” for alcohol). There are those who would rather have “tolerated” this exhibit, with nary a peep, so as not to have drawn attention to the exhibit. That would have been far too convenient. Not expressing indignation, when the times call for them, is not an indication of “tolerance,” but of being a little dead on the inside.

If a person is offended with something but rather choose to keep his objections to himself so as to avoid confrontation or ugliness, he may be being dishonest to himself. Let me put it this way, does keeping quiet about something necessarily mean keeping judgment on it? No, it doesn’t! Some people may very well prefer to not say anything about folks holding beliefs different from theirs but deep inside they may still very well feel that those they disagree with are wrong or a bunch of morons. The author of the blog “CogitoErgoCogitoSum” offers an illuminating thought on this. He said:

Do you still consider yourself tolerant if someone pisses you off but you don’t act on your anger? I would argue that you are still intolerant because you still had a negative response, albeit emotional in nature and not physical. But in our society, for some reason, there must be physical actions for mentalities to be considered intolerant. Why? If you are so tolerant (accepting), why did you get angry in the first place?

The next time any of you have to count to ten (or some other technique) to get yourself calm and civilized… ask yourself if you’re really being the better person, or if you are just acting like it outwardly.

What moral virtue does tolerance in society have if you know those who tolerate you have a reason to need to tolerate you (I.e. they have a reason to dislike you but pretend not to)? The necessity for us to tolerate each other in order to function only proves what’s truly in our hearts, and just how small our hearts are.

Tolerance is our ability to “put up with others,” our ability to put on a show and act respectable. It says nothing for how we view them as a person.

I’m trying to suggest that our “tolerating” society has a lot of pent up emotions to deal with… because we, as a whole, are not an accepting society. We still acknowledge our differences, but law and social trends force us to “tolerate” those differences while they fail to provide an outlet for our true un-accepting emotional responses, which is quite literally why fights break out and hate crimes occur on occasion.

Mere tolerance, when left unchecked, can easily escalate to something far greater than a little under-the-breath huffing. How many “tolerating” people have had to apologize because they blew up at someone over what was insignificant in hindsight?

Tolerance is good if it keeps you bighting your tongue to prevent conflict, to be used circumstantially. But if tolerance is all you know then no issue will ever be resolved and bitterness grows.

That is the point of expressing ourselves against things we disagree with and against things that pushes our buttons. We are acting on our objections to whatever pisses us off! I would argue that expressing through words or other means like art on how we object to other beliefs is a healthier step than to keep the emotions merely inside of us. At least if our objections are out there, there will be a better chance to have our objections corrected or addressed and there will be a better chance to discuss and to proceed to what is more important than tolerance, which is “acceptance”. For CogitoErgoCogitoSum:

…acceptance is when differences come together willingly and coexist at least contently. Tolerance is when differences coexist, regardless of the friction, and maintain peace only for the greater good of societies survival… The inability to act out is helplessness… the fear to try is cowardly. Choosing not to act out negatively for logical, worldly, or even empathetic reasons is tolerance. But acceptance is not feeling any inkling to act out in the first place because your heart feels no emotional burden to tolerate, conflict, or retreat.

As SCOTUS Justice Jodie Ginsburg said: “The right to free speech means nothing without the right to offend”. A person’s words may be deemed offensive but this shouldn’t be used as an excuse to shut down one’s right to free speech. An opinion piece from the publication The Guardian discussed about this right after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last year. I think they are correct to say that taking away the right to free speech is exactly how millions of people are silenced and how repressive regimes thrive. What protects people’s rights to say things others may find objectionable is precisely what protects one’s rights to object.

(Image taken from Rifology)

21 Replies to “Does One’s Right to Free Speech End Where Someone’s Feelings Begin?”

  1. “So you don’t get flak for bashing Christians or white cops but you do if you critique Muslims or homosexuality or militant groups like the Black Panthers. Hmmmm, why does tolerance seem to have favorite groups and subjects?”

    That’s because things here in the US are dominated and controlled by anti-white anti-male anti-Christian forces led by Zio Marxist Jewry.

    1. Staser
      That was the story here in Eastern Europe for 40 years. Sadly we have first hand historical experience with communism and progressive socialism. We also have bloody experience with Nazism and Islam. All the tragedies in our history were committed in the name of those three. That is why Eastern Europeans have no problem with freedom of speech because we know and understand them. We really don’t give a flying rat’s ass about political correctness. This phenomenon affects mainly Western Europe and North America and were created by the neo-communist aka progressive liberals. Sad to see how the West is falling apart by these progressives and anti-white haters.

  2. WTF, Staser? Who said something about anti-white male or anti-Christian?!? Intolerant christians should not be tolerated as much as intolerant atheists. Things in the US are dominated by anti-white male and anti-christians? WTF?!? If what you say is true, how come white people is the wealthiest among racial groups? How come you are free to practice religion in the churxh of your choosing? How come most of the senators and congresspeople christians and white? When was the last time you saw a white kid being gunned down by a cop even if he is unarmed or do not pose a threat that warrants a clear and present danger to the cops?

    Oh, you poor white christian man you. You are so oppressed and non-christian non-whites are discriminating you and are persecuted for being a christian. Would you like me to play the violin? Zio marxist Jewry? LOL. Are you a neo-nazi or a member of the KKK? Damn, you poor racist bigot! Why don’t you get an education intead of parotting sean hannity, alex jones, michael savage, ann coulter, or even David Duke. Damn, you ignorant cry baby bigot!

    1. I don’t know nor care about any of those people you mentioned. I follow Kenneth O’Keefe, Joe Cortina, Mike King, Gilad Atzmon, Nathanael Kapner, and the late great Bobby Fischer, guys who know what’s going on. Three of the those guys I mentioned are Jews by the way, so your silly tirade of accusations isn’t going to hold up here.

    2. Hungarians and most of Eastern Europe suffered the worst atrocities by non-whites. The Ottoman Muslims that were made up also by people of color inducing blacks and the Mongols who almost managed to exterminated us all. Add the Muslims to this blood algebra with enslavement of 3 million Hungarians who were dragged as far as Nubia now called Sudan. The descendants of those Hungarians slaves are still living there. We never slaved and colonized others but sadly we were colonized and slaved by non-whites and Muslims. Since whites are generalized all over the world then should I as a Hungarian white also hate the Mongolian race for their crimes? Hey but that would include the Pinoys? They are also part of the Mongoloid race. Should I do what progressives and anti-whites are doing?

  3. most countries that still have monarchs seem to have a sense of humour in that whenever their head of state is made fun of, they don’t straightaway go into an Alice in Wonderland Red Queen mode (“off with her head”) or jail the perpetrators for life or the equivalent thereof;
    enough said.

  4. great insights, for me though the root of all evil is ego, if you detach urself from it, u’ll understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you on the other hand won’t enforce it on others- then you’ll practice tolerance and shrug off all the insecurities

  5. Islamophobia is another word for anti-Islam. Therefore anti-Communism is Communism phobia and anti-Nazism is Nazism phobia. I guess I suffer from all these phobias because these are the three ideologies that I and most Hungarians do not want. We just want to live in a society that is free of them. Did I mention that we built a fence to keep the Muslims invaders out? The EU is labeling us as Islamophobic but I encourage all our critics to also label us also Nazism and Communism phobics because we hate them all equally. We also hate the anti-white progressive liberals so that makes us liberalism phobics as well.

  6. To all you G-D-SOBs Failipinos in the Failippines…

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

  7. “What protects people’s rights to say things others may find objectionable is precisely what protects one’s rights to object.” Man, that was beautiful, poetic even. The whole Charlie Hebdo thing started with the Mohammed carricatures. Muslims got pissed because to them, depicting Allah nor Mohammed is totally forbidden. But some danish artists got this idea that this hinders their right of free speech, so they drew and mocked the prophet and the god anyways. So, by practicing your right of speech, you also, in a way, disrespects anothers right to their religion. Who’s “more” right then?
    I, myself, am deeply conflict-shy. I justify this by saying that I weigh and choose my battles well. My wife says I’m just too lazy to care and get engaged (she, on the other hand won’t give it a second thought before she throws a mean comment to anyone or anything that enfuriates her, but that’s just how she’s wired I guess). Tolerance is a curious thing, we all have different levels of it but we can’t force it on people. Respect, in contrast, is something, I think is a better compromise and option. Just because I think someone is a dick doesn’t necessarily give me the right to call him one, unprovoked.

  8. To quote something I’ve read somewhere:

    “It is dealing with distasteful, even hateful speech, that the maturity of a society can be truly measured. It is all about the wisdom and maturity of the audience. Children need protection but adults don’t. Of course, some societies have a big problem telling the two apart.”

    Most Filipinos both lack maturity and wisdom. They act like children and this is what happens. In addition, with”political correctness” being all the rage now, it becomes much worse. It is just that some people seldom realize that their reactions to situations like these will determine how it will grow, which is either positively or negatively.

    Look at it this way: Sure, Manny Pacqiuao did indeed give an insensitive statement. But one must realize that this did bring up an avenue for discussion regarding the issue. However, rather than using this chance to prove Manny Pacquiao and those that agree with him wrong through proper reasoning and discussion, many Pro-LGBT just got all angry and butthurt. How does that ever help? They just dug their own hole deeper. This is usually the case with many politically incorrect™ stuff. Everybody burying themselves in their own butthurt and rage.

  9. “Cogito Ergo Sum”…”I Think, therefore, I am*…I am a person who speak his mind, sometimes, brutally frank.

    If we keep, the “sama ng loob” , inside us…we will end up, with “heart disease”…So, we have to speak up our minds.

    If the other person is truly a “son of a bitch”…then, frankly , tell him, “You are son of a bitch”…

    The Pacquiao – LGBTQ confrontation, brought a lot of shouting on both sides. However, it taught Filipinos, to speak up their minds. Not just take anything dished out to them. And, retreat in their little corner of their worlds.

    If I say: “Aquino, Abad and Mar Roxas”, are thieves , incompetent and liars. My statement may hurt their feelings. However, It is the truth, as I see these buffoons. If I say: “Aquino, Abad and Mar Roxas”, are good people. My statement may not hurt their feelings. But, I would be dishonest to myself. I would hide my true observation and feelings, in order to please these people.

    I believe in the Ancient Greek Philosopher’s words: ” Be True to Yourself”…

  10. I like that quote from Jodie Ginsburg because I believe in freedom of speech so much. I just kept wondering who Jodie Ginsburg is? The only SCOTUS justice Ginsburg I know is Ruth “Darth” Bader-Ginsburg and her uncanny ability to sleep at every State of the Union speech president Obama has made of late, love her btw, but I am not sure about her stand on the first amendment, since she is liberal and will probably agree with hate speech laws a la Ilda with her, quite frankly, overly imaginative panic about Manny Pacquiao if elected declaring an open season on gays. Anyway, I agree with it because it goes along the lines of what esteemed author George Orwell that “if liberty is anything at all it is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” So feel free to quote this rather the one from this Jodie Ginsburg lady. One more thing, this also reminds me of Carlos Celdran and his disturbance (bible study meeting) and stealing private property (banners against RH bill) but I was quite surprised that the case was about “offending religious feelings” to which Ely Buendia of the Eraserheads tweeted and I agree: “Feelings, nothing more than feelings…” I can lay out my reasoning on why I don’t agree with hate speech and hate crime laws and anti-discrimination laws (which sadly, Manny Pacquiao said he agrees with, he clearly isn’t thinking critically about what he’s supposed to do as a lawmaker, he needs to get clear on many issues before he gets my vote, and it looks like he hasn’t got much time and his record is dismal as a congressman). Basically these kinds of laws inhibit free expression and has a chilling effect much like libel and that it elevates status of certain groups of people (minorities) unnecessarily (and it doesn’t really help them) I kept warning Ilda about thinking about rights in groups that it is false. Individuals have rights and equally so, but you don’t get special treatment just because you’re Muslim, LGBT, Christian, Jew, woman or what have you. I can discuss these further if necessary. Thanks Hector!

  11. Hi pepe,

    Thanks for pointing it out. Jodie Ginsburg is the CEO of the Index on Censorship. When I was writing the article I must have switched to Justice Ginsburg because she’s the more prominent of the 2 Ginsburgs… at least here in the States. 🙂 So please disregard my reference to Ruth Ginsburg and please accept my correction to refer to the corrected Ginsburg, instead – the CEO of Index on Censorshop.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂

  12. Hi pepe,

    Thanks for pointing it out. Jodie Ginsburg is the CEO of the Index on Censorship. When I was writing the article I must have switched to Justice Ginsburg because she’s the more prominent of the 2 Ginsburgs… at least here in the States. 🙂 So please disregard my reference to Ruth Ginsburg and please accept my correction to refer to the corrected Ginsburg, instead – the CEO of Index on Censorship.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂

  13. About the Celdran case, well unfortunately for him the Philippines does have a law against offending religious feelings. He could have gotten away with it had he done his stunt outside of the church premises and had he done it when there was no church session going on. I think the law ought to be repealed but judges shouldn’t engage in legislation on the bench. That is still the role of the legislature and not the judiciary.

    1. Yes I’d agree. We do not need that provision. I also agree that any constitutional amendment must go through congress and not the Supreme Court nor the President. Thanks man!

  14. It is our basic right not to tolerate the intolerant and those who do not practice the moral imperative of not doing unto others what we do not what others done on us.

  15. It is our basic right not to tolerate the intolerant and those who do not practice the moral imperative of not doing unto others what we do not want others done on us.


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