Today on Neil Gaiman’s blog, he made this post describing why he believes in supporting Freedom of Speech. For those of you not familiar with the circumstances behind the original question, here is a very brief description: A man is being charged (? I’m not sure where they are at in the proceedings, etc, so don’t quote me on this) because he owns comic books (manga) of questionable content. The content (the actual content is hotly debated throughout the internet, and many in the anime/manga community question how much is actually inappropriate) is possibly (or actually, again, my following of this is minimal) lolicon (young girls represented in a sexualized manner) and perhaps shotacon (which is the male equivalent). So the question the person poses should make sense now.
I’m pretty sure I agree completely with Gaiman in his argument and reasoning. I liked especially how he pointed out that pornography that used real children was a different realm since those children were directly being injured. And the allusion that porn could be an outlet that keeps real people from being harmed. I think it’s well worth the read.
The most important point I think he makes: “It’s because the same laws cover the stuff you like and the stuff you find icky, wherever your icky line happens to be … because you only realise how wonderful absolute freedom of speech is the day you lose it.”
It reminds me of a poem by Niemoller that I saw in history class (all those years ago):
… they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
You have to fight for what is right, even if you don’t agree with it, because you’d want others to fight for your rights when it’s your time.