Sometimes I wonder if politicians should be allowed completely free speech.
Do we judge an act based on the intention or the consequences? The legal practice is frustratingly inconsistent.
If someone attempts to kill me, for instance, the intention of murder is obviously there. But if the murder fails, he will get a minor sentence for attempted murder, even if it was me who stopped him from killing me. This would suggest that the consequences matter.
But if you take hate speech (incitement for violence that will then be carried out by someone else) the legal practice seems to be that we only look at the intentions. They were just saying things, the violence was not intended (or at least we can’t prove that). The violence is carried out by someone other than the speaker and therefore the consequences of speech don’t matter.
While I am firmly on the side of free speech, I often wonder if politicians should be allowed to have the same amount of free speech normal people do. It deserves some thought. Politicians’ influence is not only abnormally large, having replaced the clergy and thus god, the field in which they intend to influence is politics itself: a matter of life and death. That ought to come with increased responsibilities.
Even a law that aims to “protect” “our children” “from homosexual influences” implies so many things, it is hardly a surprise that aggressive lowlifes take the cue and feel entitled to carry out the violence themselves. Entitled by the politicians.
The two most obnoxious examples from last week are beating two gay doctors unconscious in broad daylight and hitting and spitting on two German med school students at the football championship for wearing rainbow color face painting.
The incidents came after Orbán loudly protected football fans from having to endure an anti-racism act from foreign footballers (kneeling) because “our culture” is apparently so enmeshed with racism that kneeling would destroy it. Or something.
And of course, the incidents came after the “pedophile law” that was written to target LGBT people instead of pedophiles and was loudly defended by Orbánists as some kind of cultural self-defense. Orbán’s deputy called homosexuality a sin, other members of government expressed a do-it-at-home bigotry, even though probably none of them is actually homophobic, just political religionists trying to harness the power of irrationalism and removing the separation of state and church by enacting laws dictated by dogma.
In the end, Orbán chickened out of attending an all-important football match (!!!) in Germany, where he potentially had to face some booing for enacting the homophobic law. (In the end the stadium was not allowed to be lit in rainbow colors thanks to the consistently corrupt force for evil, UEFA.)
Meatheads took the cue.
The two attacks are just the ones that got reported. And those who reported had a more difficult time with the authorities than their attackers. The girls who tried to report the attack were shrugged off by police, who are firmly on the side of blaming the victims in this case. Apparently there were many noble football fans involved in the confrontation on the side of the attackers, but only two, father and son, actually hit and spat on the women.
This is when people start bending their own opinions and say things like why did they go there. Why does anyone who is not racist and homophobic even go to a football match? Or anywhere else, for that matter, where they might provoke the oversensitive racists and homophobes, and then poor racists and homophobes can’t be blamed for lashing out, can they? It’s like provoking a dumb animal – always the human’s fault.
The feeling that anyone with a rainbow-colored piece of clothing might be attacked is omnipresent. Just yesterday I saw a guy in a “no one is born gay” T-shirt with the national flag on it, grumbling menacingly because there were so many girls with rainbow-colored tote bags walking around us (because of Pride) he could not take the time to harass all of them. But he made sure they all heard him.
And then there is self-censorship. A university’s Psych department’s completely boring #MentalHealthMonday post was removed from Instagram because it dared to share such “provocative” wisdom as always calling people on their names, i.e. the name they have chosen even when their gender identity doesn’t match their birth sex. The dean himself ordered the removal and defended the self-censorship because 1) the angry, homophobic lynch mob is a very loud minority and it is also 2) supported by the government.