"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error." — John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." - Justice William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular." - Adlai Stevenson, American statesman, October 7, 1952

"I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - attributed to Voltaire, from S.G. Tallentyre (Evelyn Beatrice Hall), The Friends of Voltaire, 1907

"One of the few remaining freedoms we have is the blank page. No one can prescribe how we should fill it." - James Kelman, Scottish writer, The Guardian, October 12, 1994

"One man's vulgarity is another's lyric." - Justice John M. Harlan, Cohen v. California (1971)

For the past twenty years, Noam Chomsky has had a close working relationship with the French neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and with Faurisson's organization, La Vielle Taupe ("The Old Mole"). Chomsky has actively promoted Faurisson and La Vielle Taupe in France; he has publically defended Faurisson; in the famous preface to Faurisson's book (to which mat catastrophe alludes) he referred to Faurisson as "a liberal", and he has called the professional Holocaust denier Serge Thion a "libertarian socialist scholar". These statements are not even remotely accurate within the accepted meanings of "libertarian", "liberal", "socialist", and "scholar".

He has enthusiastically thrown the weight of his formidable academic reputation behind their "cause". It's one thing to tolerate such people and support their right to speak, but it's another thing entirely to endorse, advocate, and assist them.

Furthermore, Chomsky once used his influence to supress the publication in the US of an essay by the British linguist Geoffrey Sampson. The essay was about Chomsky; it spoke admiringly of much of Chomsky's work, but there was one sentence which was critical of Chomsky's support for the Khmer Rouge and his involvement with Faurisson et al. Apparently that doesn't count as "free speech".

Chomsky has some valuable insights in Manufacturing Consent and elsewhere, but when he gets down to specifics he writes not as an academic or an historian, but as a propagandist. He tells the side of the story that suits him. He's brilliant and entertaining, but nobody should ever use him as a sole source on anything in the political arena. Manichean reductionism is invariably disinformative and destructive. That's what makes it so entertaining. The truth is complex and nuanced, and when you've got an agenda to promote, nuance and complexity just get in the way. Think of Chomsky as a left-wing equivalent of right-wing "think tanks" like the Heritage Foundation: A generator of pre-packaged debating positions for people who are more interested in winning arguments on points than they are in the truth. He's a spin machine.

It's been pointed out that this really belongs in Noam Chomsky, not here. I agree, but that'll require some rewriting so it'll have to wait for a bit . . .


Source, as per request: Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers by Werner Cohn, Avukah Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995.
An ever increasing illusion of freedom, drawing increased fire from various organizations.

Free speech has been challenged time and again by many corporations who feel that censorship is a perfectly acceptable means to ensure financial stability; With no malignity, the corporation looks better than it really is. For further information on the definition of the word is, please consult William Jefferson B. Clinton in his recent scandal with Monica Lewinsky.
Free speech is often misinterpreted as meaning "I have the right to say what I want, wherever and whenever I want to say it." This is incorrect. Just because someone publishes a newspaper doesn't mean it's censorship for them to decline to print your letters to the editor; just because you have the equipment to broadcast a radio station doesn't mean it's legal to pirate any FM frequency you like; and just because someone lets you have an account on a public web site doesn't mean you can say whatever you like there and be guaranteed that it will never be removed.

What it does mean, however, is that you can print and publish your own newspaper, or your own web site, and say anything on there that you like, all without government interference. But it's ego to presume that you have the right to use someone else's media freely to speak your mind. Free speech does not mean you have the right to violate other people's property against the established rules.

When the rain came, the blood was washed into the filthy gutters, drained into the crumbling sewers, and soaked into the hungry ground.

When the rain came, the dry, cracked lips of the dying met water, and, between coughs, managed a smile.

When the rain came, old man Gonzalez came out of his shed for the first time in weeks. Kneeling next to a puddle, he spashed the water onto his face, wiping off the bootprints.

When the rain came, a small weed was spotted forcing itself upward through the concrete and metal.

When the rain came, the cameras were shorted out, the lights blinked off, and the microphones went dead.

When the rain came, there were reports of people walking through the streets unescorted. In one alley, there was an echo that could only be the laugh of a child.

When the rain came, a young man looked upward, and for the first time, saw clouds, sunlight, and water which fell from the sky. Now it would not matter if they fixed the roof of the dome; he now slept with the knowledge of existence beyond his experience.

Your voice matters.


By the way, I thought I should point out that Voltaire never said or wrote the words which you (and about a billion others) attribute to him. Do a little research and I believe you'll discover that the phrase was used about his attitudes by biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall in 1906. I'll look up the exact source when I have more time.

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