Bewildering Stories Editorial
by Jerry Wright
A quote widely attributed to Voltaire comes to mind right now: `I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' This, at least in theory, has been a watchword among Americans in defense of liberty and the First Amendment to the Constitution. The concept becomes theoretical because it seems that there are many on both sides of the political spectrum whose reply is, "We don't like what you have to say, and we will do anything in our power to make sure you are not allowed to say it!"
Aside from this abridgement of freedom of speech, the vituperation and malice of those wanting to shout down ideas they don't like has become mindboggling. This vitriol is not limited to either those on right, or those on the left, those who feel they are Conservative, or those who feel they are Liberal. Again, the ability and desire to act in a mannerly fashion, respectful of a person, if not of his/her ideas, has gone by the wayside.
Crudity, maniacal stupidity, and viciousness seem to have become the watchword of those who feel they are the guardians of all that is right and holy. And make no mistake, whether these perpetrators are "religious" or not, their intolerance rivals that of the "Spanish Inquisition".
So, if you believe in "freedom of speech", if you believe that liberty is worth guarding with your life, your wealth, and your sacred honor, show some honor, allow some freedom.
Are freedom and liberty just words anymore? I am reminded of Cloud William's response to Kirk in the Star Trek Episode The Omega Glory when he says ”Freedom? That is a worship word. Yang worship. You will not speak it!” Have these become "worship words" with no real meaning, but certainly not meant to be used by those bad guys who say things we don't like?
Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Wright for Bewildering Stories