February 05, 2006

Freedom of speech

Thomas Szasz writes this in the introduction to his The Untamed Tongue:
Indeed, faced with the pretentious solemnity of official Nonsense, evidence and reason are helpless. Our only effective weapon against it is laughter, especially the laughter of ridicule. "Nothing," observed Voltaire, "is so effective in crushing superstition as mockery. . . . Ridicule gets the better of anything; it is the most powerful of weapons."
It is refreshing to read this while several European and North American officials express their discomfort with freedom of speech. Voltaire also said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

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