Freedom of speech is the concept that one should be able to express themselves, whatever opinion they may hold. It has never existed as an absolute, and generally the various Western philosophers and thinkers who developed the concept never considered it to be unrestricted – rather most have accepted that there have to be limits upon expression, in order to protect society. Every society has red-lines – limits upon what constitutes lawful expression – and these depend upon the values of that society, contradicting the idea of a universal absolute freedom of speech….
David Cameron’s statement regarding the killing of Moammar al-Gaddafi will go down as another piece of brash hypocrisy, which would be breathtaking if it was not so expected from the British premier. He mentioned that he was “proud of the role that Britain has played” in the uprising – intending of course the support given by NATO once it was clear that the Libyan people had risen up against the man en masse.
The Libyan situation poses very different questions as whatever regime Gaddafi was leading has clearly been removed by the revolutionaries, and hence the question of what will replace it is currently vexing minds in Libya and beyond.
Far from rising to the occasion of what has been labeled as the Arab Spring which is surely ushering in a new era of international relations, for all Obama’s rhetoric America has simply confirmed the viewpoint that led Bin Laden to launch his campaign back in the 1990’s –American interests trump values and the rule of law.