Justified
Limitations On The
Freedom of Expression in Society

Although months in development
and still requiring revision
this web site was put onto the web on
December 10th, 2005
in commemoration of Human Rights Day
and the work of the New Brunswick Canadian John Humphrey
who as Director of the UN Human Rights Division
was the primary author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
May Canada continue to lead in its contributions
towards world peace, human rights, and a universal auxiliary language.

Prologue:

"How can a global society be established to assure world peace? How can the freedom of expression be preserved within this more secure society? This paper will focus on an examination of possible limits to freedom of expression in order to develop unity and to preserve peace. It will also discuss how these might be properly implemented, modified, and controlled in the New World Order.

The present writer draws upon his philosophical background and formal training in the area of political theory but the main guiding source for his beliefs is his religion. Throughout the presentation the reader will find many unattributed quotes from the writer's religion but if they wish to identify the source they may easily do so using the Ocean program. The religion is not named throughout this essay because this essay is not intended as a polemic for a specific religion, and the quotes are given only so that the reader can know the source and definition of the writers view.

This presentation is seen as a dialogue or inquiry. Comments, observations, suggestions, and so forth are welcomed from any and all sources no matter what philosophical or religious background may prompt them.

The writer may be reached at:

DawnSayer@webpal.org

Table of Contents:

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A. The Need for Freedom

1. Preface and definition of purpose

This is an investigation
of the relationship of
Freedom of Expression to Freedom of Religion -
rather than the freedom of expression
within religion.

The first subject -
the relationship of
Freedom of Expression to Freedom of Religion -
has to do with governments of the world
and their relationship to religion,
and the impact on Freedom of Religion by the Freedom of Expression
or the individual's right to seek
what they consider to be
the 'right' or 'true' religion.

The second subject -
the freedom of expression within a religion
is a matter of individual religious conscience -
or to put it more correctly -
the collective conscience
of each individual's religion.

This search is dealing only
with the subject of freedom of expression
as a social freedom.
That is to say,
freedom of expression
as provided by government
and the attitude of society at large.

Indeed, the major concern
that it is intended to examine
is the appropriate degree
of freedom of expression
in the world at large
and the manner in which
it may be established
after the Great Catastrophe
of nuclear WW3.

2. My religion's view on freedom of expression in society.

At the very root of my religion

      "lays the principle of the undoubted right of the individual to self-expression,
      his freedom to declare his conscience and set forth his views".

One's views on these matters
arise out of a collective combination
of the cultural, religious, philosophical milieu
in which they have been raised
or unto which the have attained.

I am no different.
Consequently, you will find
within this discourse -
quotes from both the philosophical background
in which I was raised
and the religion which I adopted.

Throughout this examination
of freedom of expression within society
I strive to understand the view held in my religion
on the freedom of expression within society.
The reason for this
is that I obviously accept my religion
and therefore my understanding of its views on
the freedom of expression within society
are the predominant and underlying factor
in determining my views regarding
the freedom of expression within society.

      "... as with any exploration by ... (members of my religion) ... of the beliefs ... of their Faith, electronic discussion will serve the interests of the Cause and its members only as it is conducted within the framework of the ... (religion's) Teachings and the truths they enshrine. To attempt to discuss the Cause of God apart from or with disdain for the authoritative guidance inherent in these Teachings would clearly be a logical contradiction."

3. The view on freedom of expression in my religion.

A different subject would be that
of freedom of expression in my own religion.
This, however, is determined by procedures
within my religion
and is not the subject of this inquiry.
Nevertheless, I will briefly present
some statements from my religion
on the subject -
although I will not try examine
or critique them except
as they stand as examples
for society at large.

      "With regard to your question about review requirements for works related to the Faith written or published by ... (members of my religion), no decision has been taken as to when this practice will no longer be needed."

The matter of review requirements -
or what some see as censorship
is justified on the basis
that the religion is still
in an infant state
and that until its teachings become generally known -
and widely defended -
it is necessary to make sure
that they are correctly presented.

The Prophet of my religion
Himself, stated:

      "It hath been decreed by Us that the Word of God and all the potentialities thereof shall be manifested unto men in strict conformity with such conditions as have been foreordained by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. We have, moreover, ordained that its veil of concealment be none other except its own Self. Such indeed is Our Power to achieve Our Purpose. Should the Word be allowed to release suddenly all the energies latent within it, no man could sustain the weight of so mighty a Revelation. Nay, all that is in heaven and on earth would flee in consternation before it."
This concept of gradualism
along with the concepts of
balance and moderation
are major principles of my religion
somewhat associated with what we might call
'the golden mean'
and they are a theme
unto which we will return later
as we seek to define limits to freedom of expression
for society as a whole.

These concepts are ones
that I adopted but gradually.
Before becoming a member of my religion
I carried a Barry Goldwater placard
on the floor of the Republican National Convention
and saw great merit in his statement -

      "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice;
      moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
The Prophet of my religion
has however stated:
      "Consider the sun. How feeble its rays the moment it appeareth above the horizon. How gradually its warmth and potency increase as it approacheth its zenith, enabling meanwhile all created things to adapt themselves to the growing intensity of its light. How steadily it declineth until it reacheth its setting point. Were it, all of a sudden, to manifest the energies latent within it, it would, no doubt, cause injury to all created things.... In like manner, if the Sun of Truth were suddenly to reveal, at the earliest stages of its manifestation, the full measure of the potencies which the providence of the Almighty hath bestowed upon it, the earth of human understanding would waste away and be consumed; for men's hearts would neither sustain the intensity of its revelation, nor be able to mirror forth the radiance of its light. Dismayed and overpowered, they would cease to exist."
In practice
these principles
of gradualism, balance and moderation
must be applied with
patience, consideration, and prudence.
For example:
      "The use of email requires an adjustment of perception. In the past, discussions among ... (members of my religion) would take place orally among groups of friends in private, or at summer schools and other ... (events of my religion), or in letters between individuals. Inevitably, many erroneous statements were made; not all comments were as temperate as they should have been; many statements were misunderstood by those who heard them. After all, not all ... (members of my religion) have a profound knowledge of the teachings, and it is clear that even academic eminence is no guarantee of a correct understanding of the Revelation of God. Before email such extravagances had a limited range and were of an ephemeral nature. Now, the same kind of discussion is spread among a hundred or more people, who often do not know one another, is in a form more durable than speech, and can be disseminated to a vast readership at the touch of a button. A new level of self-discipline, therefore, is needed by those who take part. Such discussions among ... (members of my religion) call for self-restraint and purity of motive as well as cordiality, frankness and openness."

      "Thus, if any participant in an email discussion feels that a view put forward appears to contradict or undermine the provisions of the Covenant, he should be free to say so, explaining candidly and courteously why he feels as he does. The person who made the initial statement will then be able to re-evaluate his opinion and, if he still believes it to be valid, he should be able to explain why it is not contrary to either the letter or the spirit of the Covenant. The participants in such a discussion should avoid disputation and, if they are unable to resolve an issue, they should refer the point to the ...... (Supreme Administrative Authority of my religion) since, in accordance with the Will and Testament of ... (the Authorized Interpreter of my religion), "By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved..." and it has the authority to decide upon "all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure, and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book."

      "As you well appreciate, the extent to which such technology advances the work of the Faith depends, of course, on the manner in which it is used. As a medium for ... (members of my religion) to exchange views, it imposes on participants the same requirements of moderation, candour, and courtesy as would be the case in any other discussion. Likewise, those involved should avoid belittling the views of one another."

The Prophet stated:
      O people of God! I admonish you to observe courtesy,
      for above all else it is the prince of virtues.
In my religion it is felt that:
      "The exchange of ideas related to the Cause in electronic discussion groups is indeed a very positive development -- one full of great potential for a growing spread and understanding of the Faith... ."

4. Internal criticism in my religion.

My religion:

      "... provides channels for expression of criticism, acknowledging, as a matter of principle, that 'it is not only the right, but the vital responsibility of every loyal and intelligent member of the community to offer fully and frankly, but with due respect and consideration to the authority ... any suggestion, recommendation or criticism he conscientiously feels he should in order to improve and remedy certain existing conditions or trends in his local community'".

      " there are specific occasions for the airing of one's views in the community."

      "all criticisms and discussions of a negative character which may result in undermining the authority ... order ... itself will be endangered, and confusion and discord will reign in the community."

      "Clearly, then, there is more to be considered than the critic's right to self expression..."

This particular inquiry, however,
is not for the purpose of
"airing of one's views in the community."
as I anticipate that most of the readers
will not be members of my religion.

I do not intend for this discussion to hold any
"criticisms and discussions of a negative character"
about my religion" -
and indeed
it is not meant as a criticism of any particular system -
but is rather intended as an examination
of the challenges facing society as a whole
in the establishment of the freedom of expression.

I should also mention here
that this presentation is not meant to be
a presentation, explanation, summary
or other accounting of my religion's teachings
on the subject of freedom of expression.

That is because it is totally unauthorized and

      (no authorized presenter)
      "could ... be free to teach
      wholly independent of any advice or supervision."

This a reasonable position
that is necessary for any religion or sect
to have any sort of official position on anything.
Otherwise every religion's teachings would be just
whatever any of its members said that they were.
Many religions ordain
(the dictionary says this simply means 'authorizes')
its official teachers
and some permit authorized teaching
only by authorized teachers.

These again -
are only internal matters
to freedom of expression
within a religion
and are not relevant
to the subject of this inquiry.

5. Freedom of expression in society at large.

My concern is about
freedom of expression
and freedom of religion
in the New World Order -
and specifically how they may be instituted
after the Great Catastrophe.

My religion

      "... leaves no doubt as to the high importance of these freedoms
      to constructive social processes."

However, the Prophet of my religion said:

      "We approve of liberty in certain circumstances,
      and refuse to sanction it in others."

Still, He gave the assurance that,

      "Were men to observe
      that which We have sent down unto them from the Heaven of Revelation,
      they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty."

Specifically, He said,

      "Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it. Then and only then will it attain unto true liberty."

Many people are concerned,
about what life and freedom
will be like in the New World Order.

B. Definitions of Freedom

6. Infallible sources for the definitions of freedoms
      Galatians 3:3
      Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

      (King James Bible)

Human Reason is neither the sole source
nor an infallible source
of knowledge.
See the Four Paths to Truth.
I, like others in my religion,
take our supreme religious administrative authority
to be Divinely guided.
In fact - we take its guidance
to be infallible -
although infallibility here
may have a different meaning
than what some others may give to it.

Infallible does not mean
that the source may not change its
decisions, opinions, or guidance -
over time and with changing circumstances.
It may.

Within the Writings of my religion
there is mention of various degrees
of infallibility
such as the "Most Great Infallibility".
It is explained that:

      "infallibility is of two kinds:
      essential infallibility and
      acquired infallibility."

I will not try to explain all this -
because in the first place -
I am sure that I do not understand all this -
but I just mention it here
in case the term infallibility does not match
what others conceive as its meaning.

Some people perceive of infallibility
somewhat in the terms
of the young lady
who came to her father and said -
"Daddy, I am a little bit pregnant".

Others see
pregnancy, virginity, infallibility
as being an on or off thing -
or what we would call exclusive sets.

However,
we live in a relative world -
where perfection and certitude
can be of many degrees.

In point of fact -
if someone says to others today -
that such a lady is VERY pregnant
then they know what is meant.

The Writings of my religion state:

      "In using this word 'perfection,' for instance, the principle of relativity is recognized. Jesus' statement that: 'There is none good save God,' is understood as a scientific axiom: That is, perfection is seen as impossible except to the Unconditioned, the 'Self-subsistent,' all other perfection is relative. We speak of a perfect rose. We do not mean that a more beautiful, more satisfying one cannot be imagined, but simply that so far as our experience goes that rose, at that particular moment, strikes us as the most beautiful one, the most perfect one, we have ever seen. Nor do we when we speak of the rose as occupying that position contrast this perfection, or include it, with or in any category comprehending other objects than the rose, or even any other than that particular color, or type of rose. We may in the next moment speak of a perfect sunset, or a perfect baby, or a perfect action, but always with the same reservation of relativity.

      So when we speak of a perfect man. We do not mean, nor could we possibly ever mean, no matter to what heights of nobility he may have attained, that he could not be more noble, more 'perfect.' We simply mean that the heights to which he has attained, compared to the average standards of human behavior, are more nearly our ideal than we have heretofore met.

      So then it resolves itself into a question of personal and individual standards, or units of measurement."

So, I speak of conferred
or implied infallibility -
although there are those in my religion
who go into orbit
when they hear me speak of implied infallibility.

This is somewhat in the same way as many,
at least in the past,
viewed the US Supreme Court.
What it says the US Constitution says -
then that is what the Constitution says -
and there was no further level of appeal -
although the Supreme Court, too,
could later change its decision.

In my mind -
one aspect of
what we are really speaking of
in this case -
is final human authority
and in my religion
that is the Supreme Administrative Authority - which:

      "... under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One ... Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth ... not... them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth ... against them hath rebelled against God... whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God...."

The Prophet of my religion, said:

      The essence of belief in Divine unity consisteth in regarding Him Who is the Manifestation of God and Him Who is the invisible, the inaccessible, the unknowable Essence as one and the same. By this is meant that whatsoever pertaineth to the former, all His acts and doings, whatever He ordaineth or forbiddeth, should be considered, in all their aspects, and under all circumstances, and without any reservation, as identical with the Will of God Himself."

I relate all this -
not to convince you of my religion
but to let you know the source
of the concepts
- and the authority that I attach to them -
in regards to the topic at hand.

One might think -
that having such an authoritative source
that then for myself
all issues would be resolved,
but in fact the opposite is true -
because ideas are raised from that source
which I had not considered before
and which I do not at all pretend to comprehend.

Some would retort -
that then I should query the source
for clarification.
Would that it were so easy -
but the problem is I often don't
thoroughly understand the issues
or how one would properly frame the questions.

Anyway, my subject here
is not the issue of
freedom of expression
within my own religion -
for there are channels
for examining that subject
within the religion.

The subject here
is the issue of
freedom of expression and religion
within the New World Order
after nuclear WW3 -
and what guidance I can find
within my religion
for the Pattern of Future Society.

7. A philosophical basis for freedom

Dogmatic and authoritarian censorship of thought

in the religious sects of

  • Fundamentalist Hinduism,
  • Fundamentalist Judaism,
  • Fundamentalist Christianity,
  • Fundamentalist Islam,
in the intolerant political cultures of
  • John Bircher types of societies,
  • whether of the right or left,
and governments that are authoritarian
at the present time of this writing, such as,
  • North Korea,
  • China,
  • Saudi Arabia,
  • Iran,
  • and many other places -
have distressed me greatly.

At the opposite extreme from authoritarianism
there is what we call Post Modernism
whose roots stem from the concepts of
'enlightenment rationalism' and 'libertarianism'
epitomized in the writings of J.S. Mills,
to which I thrilled in the formative years
of my initial political concepts.

Today - holding to Mill's concepts
may bring the epithet
that one is a part of the 'cult of individualism'
but a balanced use of his concepts
may have a proper application
for the future
whereas carried to an extreme
as by many post-modernists
they would prove detrimental to society.

The following is what my religion has to say
about Post Modernism which it calls the Old World Order:

      "The models of the old world order blur vision of that which must be perceived; for these models were, in many instances, conceived in rebellion and retain the characteristics of the revolutions peculiar to an adolescent, albeit necessary, period in the evolution of human society. The very philosophies which have provided the intellectual content of such revolutions -- Hobbes, Locke, Jefferson, Mill, come readily to mind -- were inspired by protest against the oppressive conditions which revolutions were intended to remedy."

      "These characteristics are conspicuous, for example, in the inordinate skepticism regarding authority, and consequently, in the grudging respect which the citizens of various nations show toward their governments; they have become pronounced in the incessant promotion of individualism, often to the detriment of the wider interests of society."

The 'cult of individualism',
philosophically called Post Modernism
or sometimes 'Hyper modernism',
predominately espouses
authenticity and autonomy.

As a result of emphasizing
the 'authentic' 'or real',
Hyper modernism has found itself
in the scientific age of relativity,
without any guide posts
of absolute reality.

      "Religion as an institution is denounced."

      "Government as an institution is denounced."

      "Even marriage as an institution is denounced."

While the Hyper modernists
have gleefully pulled down
the historical guide posts
of social custom and cultural tradition,
they have had nothing with which to replace them.
For them the standard
of determining value for anything
is simply one's own self.

      "We make these observations not to indulge in criticism of any system, but rather to open up lines of thought, to encourage a re-examination of the bases of modern society, and to engender a perspective for consideration of the distinctive features of " ... my religion.

Revealed religion,
such as that to which I subscribe
takes the countervailing position -
of providing access to absolute truth
(although we may still have
only relative understanding of it.)

The second facet
of Hyper modernism -
that of autonomy -
holds that a person is sole judge
of what their actions should be -
so long as their actions harms
no one else.

This viewpoint -
particularly in its extremes -
rejects authority
and holds that the individual's sole concern
is the individual self,
with the caveat, of course,
that they are not harming others.
It is a philosophy of total selfishness,
seen for example in the writings of Ayn Rand.

From the completely opposite point of view
my religion holds:

      "No aspect of contemporary civilization is more directly challenged by ...(the Prophet of my religion's) ... conception of the future than is the prevailing cult of individualism, which has spread to most parts of the world. Nurtured by such cultural forces as political ideology, academic elitism, and a consumer economy, the "pursuit of happiness" has given rise to an aggressive and almost boundless sense of personal entitlement. The moral consequences have been corrosive for the individual and society alike - and devastating in terms of disease, drug addiction and other all-too- familiar blights of century's end."

      "Concern that each human being should enjoy the freedom of thought and action conducive to his or her personal growth does not justify devotion to the cult of individualism that so deeply corrupts many areas of contemporary life."

Two of the predominant supporters -
in the past century -
for the point of view
that the individual has
primary responsibility to society -
have been the systems of communism and fascism.
Some see a danger in this view
also being taken to an extreme
with the rights of the individual
being completely submerged
in the demands of the state.

To this point,  my religion states:

      "... concern to ensure the welfare of society as a whole (does not) require a deification of the state as the supposed source of humanity's well-being. Far otherwise: the history of the present century shows all too clearly that such ideologies and the partisan agendas to which they give rise have been themselves the principal enemies of the interests they purport to serve. Only in a consultative framework made possible by the consciousness of the organic unity of humankind can all aspects of the concern for human rights find legitimate and creative expression."

Most will readily agree that there are
limits and balances to all freedoms
and that freedom of speech
does not include a right to lie
on the witness stand,
to falsely shout fire
in a crowded theatre,
to publish pornography
wherever one wishes,
to incite to riot
and a dozen other such examples
as one might give.

Conversely,
there may be an equally applicable
right to not speak.
Some speak of 'self incrimination' -
as one of several examples -
but these too are with their limits.
In the past,
most Americans would have
at least drawn the line
at torture -
in forcing one to speak -
but that too has been changing.

JS Mills is said to have held
a philosophical concept of negative liberty -
which variously stated -
is the absence of coercion from others.

In this negative sense,
one is considered free
to the extent to which
no person interferes
with one's activity.

Obviously,
one's activity is interfered with
in all sorts of ways.
By natural 'laws' such as
the 'law of gravity'
by social and cultural laws
and customs.
By each person's needs
for interaction
with their employers, customers,
spouse, members of their family,
neighbours - and an endless list
of 'others'.

There are other concepts of
freedom or liberty.
In the religion of Islam
and in my religion
true liberty consists of
submission
to the will of God.

The imprisoned Prophet wrote:

      "The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty."

That is undoubtedly
the most important concept to learn
about the true nature of true liberty
but one that lies beyond the scope
of this inquiry.

What is being dealt with here
is the concept of social liberty -
particularly as it applies
to the subject of freedom of expression.

      "Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of action are among the freedoms which have received the ardent attention of social thinkers across the centuries. The resulting outflow of such profound thought has exerted a tremendous liberating influence in the shaping of modern society. Generations of the oppressed have fought and died in the name of freedom. Certainly the want of freedom from oppression has been a dominant factor in the turmoil of the times: witness the plethora of movements which have resulted in the rapid emergence of new nations in the latter part of the twentieth century."

8. United Nations as the source of the standards for freedom

      "Today, the agency on whom has devolved the task of creating this framework and of liberating the promotion of human rights from those who would exploit it is the system of international institutions born out of the tragedies of two ruinous world wars and the experience of worldwide economic breakdown. Significantly, the term 'human rights' has come into general use only since the promulgation of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights three years later. In these history-making documents, formal recognition has been given to respect for social justice as a correlative of the establishment of world peace. The fact that the Declaration passed without a dissenting vote in the General Assembly conferred on it from the outset an authority that has grown steadily in the intervening years."

Even as we accept the ideal presented in
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
as adopted on December 10, 1948
by the General Assembly of the United Nations
we will surely be concerned about
how poorly those principles were universally applied
prior to the Great Catastrophe -
and we may be even more concerned
about how they will be implemented afterwards.

If the two freedoms
that primarily concern me -
exist -
then I feel that all others
will eventually follow.

Once again - the two 'rights' or 'freedoms'
that concern me most -
are freedom of religion -
and freedom of speech or expression.

Regarding religion -
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
states:

      Article 18.
      Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
also mentions religion in relationship
to education:

      Article 26.
      (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory...

      (2) Education shall ... promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all ... religious groups...

      (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

This statement can be seen as both an
endorsement
of the freedoms of religion and speech -
in that it makes education universal
and gives parents the prior right
to choose the kind of education
that shall be given to their children
and also as
restrictive
in the sense that it requires
the teaching of tolerance
to be universal.

I see the freedom of religion
as being the most important freedom
because I see religion -
that is to say -
one's relationship to God -
as being the very purpose of life itself.

The reason that freedom of expression (speech)
is almost equally important
is because unless one has the freedom
to hear, read, examine, discuss, and express ideas
then they do not have the freedom of conscience
to search for and adhere to
what would be the highest religious ideals
that they can find.

This freedom of expression is described in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
as:

      Article 19:
      Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

This is further supported by

      Article 12:
      No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Presently,
the fact that these rights are provided for
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
does not mean that they are permitted even
in one's own country -
or even in one's own religion.

C. Philosophical Limits to the Freedom of Expression

9. The concepts of positive and negative liberty

The concepts of social freedom
in political thought
are often categorized as
falling largely into two main areas -
those of negative liberty and
those of positive liberty.

In their extremes -
the concept of negative liberty
is often identified with 'libertarianism'
and positive liberty with communism or socialism.
Most of us would apply
some of the principles of one
in some cases
and the principles of the other
in other cases.

For example of the extremes -
some would have all schooling done
by individual parents (home schooling)
which might be thought compatible
with libertarianism
and others would have all schooling
to be public schooling
which would be more compatible
with the views of socialism.

Many such issues
such as private medicine
versus public and socialized medicine -
and public health and safety issues
abound.
My own preference is simultaneous
decentralization
and the encouragement of cooperation -
as much as the two may sound
incompatible and inconsistent,
or that decentralized cooperation
may sound oxymoronic in nature.
Whatever.
The issue before us is simply that of
freedom of expression.

Negative liberty is said
to define a realm of zones
or a "zone" of freedom.
That is to say the area
both geographic and social
in which a person is said
to have freedom.
For example,
some would say -
that the government has no
responsibility
interest or
right -
as to what goes on behind
bedroom doors.

As an extreme view
that would include
the practice of polygamy, polyandry,
incest and pedophilia -
all of which most in society
would neither condone nor permit.

But the subject before us
is not the freedom to act -
but rather the freedom to
advocate
discuss
investigate
propose
oppose
and generally express one's opinion.

      "...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered.

      ...if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

This ideal principle regarding
the freedom of expression
is greatly ignored
in both public and private practice
in many nations in the world.

10. Categorization of 'harm' levels.

Mills said:

      "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
      (ibid.)

This "harm" issue
is often central to any discussion
regarding Mills' concept of liberty.

The no "harm" principle appears to be
embodied in the UN
Declaration of Human Rights
as:

      Article 29.

      (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

Popularly, it is often popularly expressed as -

      "my freedom or right -
      ends -
      where your nose begins."

In other words -
if what one does -
does not harm someone else -
or society -
then they are free to do it.

I would at least render the latter qualification
that it then becomes between them and God.

After studying Mills' philosophy -
from a social point of view
and the comments of others on it
I have categorized limitations
on the freedom of expression
as follows:

      1. Harmful
      2. Offensive
      3. Blasphemous
      4. Obscene
      5. Pornographic
      6. Immoral
1. Harmful

The first category
that of 'harm'
we have already discussed.
They are those things
which could immediately
and directly lead to harm
in society such as yelling fire
in a crowded theatre.

The latter categories
are somewhat more difficult
to deal with -
but deserve at least some comment.
Each of the lower categories
- by those who hold to the lower category -
are seen as being embodied
in those categories above it -
but those holding with a higher category
may not accept the extension of harm
to the lower category.

2. Offensive

An example of that which may be offensive
would be hate literature
or language that is intemperate.
Societies may determine where to draw the line.
For example -
there might be laws prohibiting
the spray painting of racial epithets
in public places -
that would still permit the same statements
in private forums
providing that they were not then considered
harmful to society -
or that there would be greater harm
in restricting that free expression in private forums.
There is no telling
what some people will find offensive.
There have been court cases
brought by non-Christians
that they find Christmas manger scenes
on public property
to be offensive.

Those who hold a particular thing
that is offensive to be harmful -
would therefore feel it should be banned -
(as explained above)
while others will say -
it is simply offensive to some -
without being harmful to society -
and therefore should not be banned.
For example, KKK marches
through Jewish and black neighbourhoods
may be (and actually have been in a real cases)
permitted by the courts to proceed.

3. Blasphemous

Expressions that are blasphemous
specifically involve
Divine or religious concepts
or expressions in a
profane or non-reverent way.
Blasphemous expressions are offensive
to some people
and there will be a difference of opinion
as to whether or not they are harmful
to society.
A recent case of some note
was the publication of Salman Rushdi's
"Satanic Verses".
Some societies considered it harmful
and others did not.

4. Obscene

Violence,
disrespect for human dignity -
in any form -
even of acts that would be necessary
or appropriate
in another socially acceptable setting
all may be obscene.
The use of socially non-acceptable words -
are obscenities although they may not be
profanities or blasphemous.

5. Pornographic

That which is pornographic
is always sexually based
but it must also contain an element
which is considered
obscene or immoral.
Otherwise the material is
simply erotic.

Society may legitimately impose
limitations as to in which forums
both pornographic and erotic materials
may be expressed.
The reason being the harm principle -
in that there may be some instances -
such as it's being shown to children -
that it may be considered as being socially damaging.

6. Immoral

Expression that depicts or advocates
immoral behaviour such as pornography
but also including others
such as lying, stealing, murder, adultery,
or even littering and any one of a thousand
of what may be considered immoral acts
may also be subject to social censorship -
always upon the basis of the harm principle.

There are many issues that enter in here.
The intended audience and or
the intended purpose would be two.
A book intended for censors -
might show examples of what is -
and what is not pornographic -
and as such would in itself
contain pornographic material
but would be legally permitted
for its social purpose.

A manual for bomb squad technicians
could very well show the techniques
that are used by terrorists
to construct bombs.

Medical manuals would show
sexual techniques and methods
of erotic stimulation
without having an intent
of being pornographic.

Examples of this sort are endless.
It comes down to
intended audience and purpose.
But -
it must also go beyond that point -
because there must also be
opportunity for advocacy
for those ideas that current culture
may consider to be immoral.
Thus there are people who wish to advocate
polygamy, nudism, pedophilia, drug usage,
abortion, euthanasia, genocide, terrorism,
and a wide variety of other ideas -
including pornography -
that may be abhorrent to many people
or society in general.

Mills expressed this idea
even more strongly.

      "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." (ibid.)

This is certainly
a grand ideal -
but whether in practicality
mankind will ever reach
the spiritual maturity
to be able to provide forums
in which every idea
could be appropriately expressed -
is another matter.

There is a difference between
advocacy
and incitement -
and certainly that of practice
but the ability to distinguish
what is socially acceptable
as scholarly investigation
or legitimate discourse -
and that where the latter
is merely being used as a deceptive cover
for what goes beyond social limits
can be a social problem.

11. Deficiencies in the views of libertarian thinking

Up to this point
the present discussion
of freedom of expression
has mainly focused upon
the concept of liberty
as expressed in current
appraisals of libertarian -
and what is often identified as -
humanist thinking.

While the ideals
associated with these schools of thought
have been attained through what was called
the 'age of enlightenment'
they have also become identified with
the philosophy of materialism
which humanity must now progress beyond
if it is to achieve the spiritual goals and nature
which is its true and natural destiny.

      "Whether as world-view or simple appetite, materialism's effect is to leach out of human motivation -- and even interest -- the spiritual impulses that distinguish the rational soul.
          'For self-love,' ...(the Authorized Interpreter of my religion has said)... 'is kneaded into the very clay of man, and it is not possible that, without any hope of a substantial reward, he should neglect his own present material good.'
      In the absence of conviction about the spiritual nature of reality and the fulfilment it alone offers, it is not surprising to find at the very heart of the current crisis of civilization a cult of individualism that increasingly admits of no restraint and that elevates acquisition and personal advancement to the status of major cultural values. The resulting atomization of society has marked a new stage in the process of disintegration ..."

      "To accept willingly the rupture of one after another strand of the moral fabric that guides and disciplines individual life in any social system, is a self-defeating approach to reality. If leaders of thought were to be candid in their assessment of the evidence readily available, it is here that one would find the root cause of such apparently unrelated problems as the pollution of the environment, economic dislocation, ethnic violence, spreading public apathy, the massive increase in crime, and epidemics that ravage whole populations. However important the application of legal, sociological or technological expertise to such issues undoubtedly is, it would be unrealistic to imagine that efforts of this kind will produce any significant recovery without a fundamental change of moral consciousness and behaviour."

The central question
and the issue that really lies before us -
is how the ideals expressed
in Article 19
and Article 28
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
are to be actually implemented
in the world.

      Article 28.
      Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

My religion states:

      "The responsibility resting on the individual to conduct himself in such a way as to ensure the stability of society takes on elemental importance in this context. For vital as it is to the progress of society, criticism is a two-edged sword: it is all too often the harbinger of conflict and contention."

      "...balanced processes ... are meant to prevent this essential activity from degenerating to any form of dissent that breeds opposition and its dreadful schismatic consequences."

      "How incalculable have been the negative results of ill-directed criticism: in the catastrophic divergences it has created in religion, in the equally contentious factions it has spawned in political systems, which have dignified conflict by institutionalizing such concepts as the 'loyal opposition' which attach to one or another of the various categories of political opinion -- conservative, liberal, progressive, reactionary, and so forth."

      "Content, volume, style, tact, wisdom, timeliness are among the critical factors in determining the effects of speech for good or evil. ... Just as this discipline applies to the spoken word, it applies equally to the written word; and it profoundly affects the operation of the press."

D. Social and cultural limits to freedom

12. Social limits to the exercise of the freedom of expression

Almost two decades ago
(29 December 1988)
there appeared in the writings of my religion
a paper on:
"Individual Rights and Freedoms".

The paper referred to:

      "... misconceptions of such fundamental issues as
      individual rights
      and freedom of expression ..."

It is my concern about these misconceptions
that has prompted this examination.

Now, almost two decades
of wrestling with the ideas
presented in that paper
have raised for me more questions
on the subject of
individual freedom of expression -
than I had before it appeared.

I have noted that effect
upon others who have read the paper -
so I take these to be thorny issues
for others as well as myself.

From my religion's

      "... point of view, the exercise of freedom of speech must necessarily be disciplined by a profound appreciation of both the positive and negative dimensions of freedom, on the one hand, and of speech, on the other."

The Prophet of my religion warns that:

      "the tongue is a smouldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison".

      "Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century."

      "Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to exert its influence and needeth moderation".

      "Also relevant to what is said, and how, is when it is said. For speech, as for so many other things, there is a season."

The Prophet of my religion states:

      "Not everything that a man knoweth can be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it."

In my religion it is stated that:

      "Speech is a powerful phenomenon. Its freedom is both to be extolled and feared. It calls for an acute exercise of judgement, since both the limitation of speech and the excess of it can lead to dire consequences. ...Does this mean that one may not express critical thought? Absolutely not. How can there be the candour called for in consultation if there is no critical thought?"

13. Cultural limits to the practice of freedom

As far as freedom of religion is concerned -
I suppose that I would impose on other's religions
practically no limits other than
prohibiting involuntary human sacrifice or
the killing of others (Jihad)
to enforce one's own beliefs.

However, there are lots of religious issues
that concern other people.
For example,
Christian Scientists refusing medicine
or vaccination
for their children
(as a danger to both
their children and society).
(Coincidently - I was raised
as a Christian Scientist).
Or Jehovah's Witnesses
refusing blood transfusion for their children,
or some religions
wanting to remove body parts
such as female circumcisum
(so you would forbid Jew males?)
But this list goes on and on -
and generally while I personally
would be quite lenient -
societies have
their dominant cultural values
and when they feel that
something like vaccination is necessary
to protect the whole society -
then their particular society's interests
will overrule.

14. Obedience to government

That the collective interest
always supersedes personal interest
is one of the principles of my religion.
Even as the Vulcan Captain Spock said:
"The needs of the many -
outweigh the needs of the few -
or the one."
This collective interest
is supposedly represented by
the authority of the governments
and governments are often one of the main
restrictions on the freedom of expression.

The Prophet of my religion has stated:

      "What mankind needeth in this day is obedience unto them that are in authority, and a faithful adherence to the cord of wisdom. The instruments which are essential to the immediate protection, the security and assurance of the human race have been entrusted to the hands, and lie in the grasp, of the governors of human society. This is the wish of God and His decree... "
This view is found also in other religions -
      "Thus continuing through all the following commandments towards our neighbor likewise, everything is to proceed by virtue of the First Commandment, to wit, that we honor father and mother, masters, and all in authority and be subject and obedient to them, not on their own account, but for God's sake."

(Martin Luther, Large Catechism)

      Romans 13:1-4
      "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil."
      Colossians 3:22
      "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

(King James Bible)

In the past
that latter scripture
has been taken as a justification
for slavery
something that is forbidden
in my own religion.

Issues such as this
create a great struggle for the individual.
Questions of justice
and dealing with governments that are unjust
are a great trial and spiritual test
because one is not permitted
to be disobedient to government
except in refusing to do that
which is forbidden by their Lord -
in which case they must be willing to suffer the human consequences.

From these circumstances
there will often arise martyrs.
Coincidently -
a martyr means one who is willing
to lay down their life for a cause.
It does not mean one who is willing
to kill for a cause.
The latter are terrorists - not martyrs.

It appears that my religion's position is
that its members should never
demonstrate, protest, strike, or resist -
the decrees of government.
Raised in the revolutionary culture
of what has been called "Bloody Kansas" -
this has been a considerable challenge for me.

Before becoming a member of my religion
I was quite active in the
US Black Civil Rights Movement
and later taught in Black colleges.

Peaceful Civil Disobedience
was the word of the day.
I marched with signs on Woolworth's
to get the coffee counters desegregated,
and even after becoming a member of my religion
was the NAACP representative
in the largest US city without a Black resident.
To tell of all the dramatic confrontations
that I was involved in -
factually even involving true potential
for loss of my life,
would be a very lengthy exposition.

More recently
I participated in Peace Demonstrations -
again marching about carrying a sign -
when there came down a directive
from the national administration of my religion
that we were not to do so.
Not that we are against peace -
but that we simply should not demonstrate.

So -
I laid down my sign
never to pick it up again.
Years ago -
some states in the Southern US
prohibited interracial marriages
and interracial social gatherings in homes.
Members of my religion pointed this out to me
at the time
and expressed the feeling that we should be obedient to the government.

If I were having a religious meeting
in my home (what we call 'firesides')
when a knock on the door came from a black friend
who said that he heard I was having such a meeting
and wanted to know if he could come in,
some felt I should have said -
"Nope - sorry - it is against the law."

The fact that they're lived in our home
one of the partner's
in the first interracial marriage -
in the fifth to last state
to outlaw miscegenation -
did cause some discomfort in our community.

My first born was Jewish -
(born of a Jewish Mother)
and if we had lived in Germany
I can imagine a knock on the door with Gestapo Officers saying -
"Send out any Jews that you have."
Hard to obey.
But then hard too for Abraham
to be obedient to God's command
to sacrifice his son.

Where do we draw the line -
in obedience to God's command
to be obedient to government?
There is nowhere to draw the line
in being obedient to God.
We can only pray to be protected
from such trials.

Members of my religion
are not permitted to be conscientious objectors.
Now, I spent eight honourable years in the military
before becoming a conscientious objector.
And then back to the other side
upon joining my religion.
The Prophet of my religion
permits the execution of terrorists
(what used to be called arsonists)
and I would extend this to cyber-terrorists -
so I guess I should volunteer
to pull the trigger.

In this world
difficult choices
never end.

      "Consider also what trials and difficulties arise for people. To prevent an act of cruelty, Moses struck down an Egyptian and afterward became known among men as a murderer, more notably because the man He had killed was of the ruling nation. Then He fled, and it was after that that He was raised to the rank of a Prophet!"

      "Was not God, the omnipotent King, able to withhold the hand of Moses from murder, so that manslaughter should not be attributed unto Him, causing bewilderment and aversion among the people?"

If it may appear
that I have gone off on a tangent -
I assure you that I have not
because the issue of freedom of expression
most applies in relationship to government.

When one is not permitted to possess a Bible
or teach about their religion
or display religious symbols
such as even wearing a cross
or to hold meetings
or to tell another person about their religion
or to even teach their own children -
then the significance of these issues
should become quite apparent.

In my religion -
the Prophet has commanded us to teach
the Cause of God.

      "Say: Teach ye the Cause of God, ... for God hath prescribed unto every one the duty of proclaiming His Message, and regardeth it as the most meritorious of all deeds"

      "The Pen of the Most High hath decreed and imposed upon every one the obligation to teach this Cause...."

      "God hath prescribed unto everyone the duty of teaching His Cause."

When one is faced
with two commandments
that appear to be in conflict -
such as the commandment to teach
versus the commandment to be obedient to government
then for them it may create a difficulty.
Some will choose one commandment -
and others -
the other.
Each may think the other
has their priority wrong.
God knows.

The Authorized Interpreter of my religion has written
that my religion has:

      "...no worldly object nor any concern with political matters. The fulcrum of their motion and rest and the pivot of their cast and conduct is restricted to spiritual things and confined to matters of conscience; it has nothing to do with the affairs of government nor any concern with the powers of the throne; its principles are the withdrawal of veils, the verification of signs, the education of souls, the reformation of characters, the purification of hearts, and illumination with the gleams of enlightenment. ...

      Under these circumstances a just government can [find] no excuse, and possesses no pretext [for further persecuting this sect] except [a claim to the right of] interference in thought and conscience, which are the private possessions of the heart and soul. ...

      [To insure] freedom of conscience and tranquility of heart and soul is one of the duties and functions of government, and is in all ages the cause of progress in development and ascendency ... till such time as they put away the strife of sects out of their midst, and dealt with all classes according to one standard. All are one people, one nation, one species, one kind. The common interest is complete equality;

      From whatever section of earth's denizens signs of contentiousness appear, prompt punishment is required by a just government; ... Times are changed, and the need and fashion of the world are changed. Interference with creed and faith in every country causes manifest detriment, while justice and equal dealing towards all peoples on the face of the earth are the means whereby progress is effected."

The Prophet Himself stated:

      "It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station, of all nations and just governments.

      This Wronged One hath forbidden the people of God to engage in contention or conflict and hath exhorted them to righteous deeds and praiseworthy character. In this day the hosts that can ensure the victory of the Cause are those of goodly conduct and saintly character. Blessed are they who firmly adhere unto them and woe betide such as turn away therefrom.

      Time and again have We admonished Our beloved ones to avoid, nay to flee from, anything whatsoever from which the odour of mischief can be detected. The world is in great turmoil, and the minds of its people are in a state of utter confusion. We entreat the Almighty that He may graciously illuminate them with the glory of His Justice, and enable them to discover that which will be profitable unto them at all times and under all conditions..."

It appears then
that the function of my religion 'collectively' -
that is to say
through its administrative bodies -
is to 'suggest' to governments
(in those cases where the government will entertain such suggestions)
as to what is the right course.

To say that my religion's institutions would 'recommend' or 'advocate',
might be a tad strong -
and they would certainly never
insist or confront the government in any way
- although they have been known to request and plea.

The individual on the other hand
has no recourse
(other than those legally provided
by the government)
but to obey -
or in those circumstances
which contravene the decree of God
to be obedient to God
and suffer the human circumstances.

E. Wrongful Applications of the Freedom or Expression

15. Erroneous ideas

There are those who feel
that erroneous ideas
simply should not be advocated.

At one time
the erroneous idea was thought to be
Material Scientism and Evolution Theory.
Today another segment of society
would ban
Creationism and Intelligent Design.
We never know how the pendulum may swing.

Emotional and non-logical irrationality
should never be allowed to
ban discussion
- nor -
should discussion ever be banned
because it is based upon
emotional and non-logical irrationality.

For example:

    a. The devotees of scientism
    would say that it is Emotional and non-logical irrationality
    that Creationists use
    to try to ban the discussion
    of Darwinism in the schools.

    b. At the same time the devotees of scientism
    would ban the discussion of Creationism
    because they say it is based upon
    emotional and non-logical irrationality.

(Advocates for each position
would of course permit 'discussion'
of the other side
from a negative point of view -
but that is not what is meant here by discussion.)

16. The failure of media

Much discussion about
freedom of expression
circulates around 'the media'.
In fact the media -
or what is often called
'the Fourth Estate'
has very often proven
quite disappointing in its service.

The Prophet of my religion has stated:

      "In this Day the secrets of the earth are laid bare before the eyes of men. The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing."

Professional journalism
has a well-established standard
for 'checking its facts'.
What is reported
most often has 'verifiable sources'.
The problem is -
often the veracity of the sources themselves
and more importantly
that the media quite often
does not seek out the true story
or 'the other side' of the story.

Media 'bias'
is reflective of two things -
one:
low individual standards
that many humans,
including reporters,
have for seeking and determining truth -
and two:
the prudent self-interests
of the publishers for whom they write.

Reporters or writers
who stray very far a field
from their publisher's philosophy -
are soon out of a job.

Publisher's philosophies are determined
by what they call 'responsible journalism'.
They must stay fairly close
to the cultural views
of the society in which they write.
This applies equally to
publishers in government controlled
totalitarian societies -
and to those which consider themselves
to be in free 'open' societies.
There is direct control in the former -
and in the latter control by

  • loss of advertisers,
  • loss of banking credit resources,
  • loss of information resources -
    • from the industry, clientele, or government -
      upon whom they are reporting -

    and last, but not least,
  • loss of readership.

The argument is that publishers
must not be held accountable
if they do not tell the truth
because otherwise they would be fearful
of mistakenly publishing
and would therefore be restrained from publishing.
This is then extended to the point
that freedom of expression means
that they are free to tell lies
if they wish to.

17. The failure of the Internet

The Internet has proven
very much a challenge
for those who would control
freedom of expression.
Some of the more totalitarian countries
have more or less risen to the challenge
but leaks occasionally appear even in their control.

      "The opportunity which electronic communication technology provides for more speedy and thorough consultation among the friends is highly significant. Without doubt, it represents another manifestation of a development eagerly anticipated by the Guardian when he foresaw the creation of 'a mechanism of world intercommunication ... embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity'".

The internal problem of the Internet
is the very fact that it is uncensored
and consequently requires
a considerable degree of sophistication
upon the part of the reader
to sort out that which has merit
from that which is meaningless froth -
and worse yet -
that which is totally misleading.

There is that about the Internet
being uncontrolled
which is disastrous.
I have received hundreds
of email scams
and while I have never lost anything to them
there have been collectively
many millions of dollars lost by others.

I have received thousands
of email spams.
The total collective cost
in time wasted on them
in analyzing and removal
has been a great many multiple
of the benefit
that any have received from them -
including their senders.
The punishment for those sending them
should be at least some multiple
for that which we would bestow
for the anti-social activity of
littering in the streets.

I have received email viruses
that have cost me days
to repair the damage.
The millions of human days
that they have destroyed
are more than the human days
that have been destroyed by any terrorist.
The punishment for the perpetrators
should be equally great
to that for terrorists.

The random purveyance of pornography -
the nuisance of unsolicited advertising -
the plethora of anti-netizen behaviour -
all should be controlled.
But enough of my rant.
For conversely -
I fear that the control
will mean loss of essential freedom.

What the future of the Internet is -
remains presently undetermined.
It is a very recent phenomenon of the moment
and while I personally hope
that it may long endure
and become ever more valuable
as a source
for the rapid acquisition of truth -
the fact remains
that it both entirely lacks
in self-discipline
and responsibility of action
towards those powerful institutions
that may curtail it.

18. Courts and formal argument

The practice of freedom of speech
takes some peculiar forms.
Not just in the arts and drama -
but also in the business community
and courts.

In the business community
there is not only the intentional deceptiveness
and unwarranted emotional motivation
of advertising
there is also the funny business of contracts.

Sit down to negotiate any substantial piece of business -
such as the purchase of a house
or the taking out of a loan -
or any one of a hundred filings
that you may be required to make with the government -
and you will find yourself presented
with a mountain of paper
that no reasonable person could wade through.

Even the purchase of a ticket
at an airline counter
or the leaving of your car on a parking lot
will find you confronted
with the acceptance of some legal document
in fine print
that you obviously can't refuse
and have no way to negotiate.

But this is the way of the law.
And lawyers.
Everything that you are presented
is meant to protect their client
and to provide them with many 'loopholes'
to wiggle through.

Should you ever end up in court -
you find that
in their freedom of speech
they have defined words, phrases and meanings
in ways that you couldn't have imagined.

But take courage,
they will tell you -
because you can hire another lawyer
to defend you.
And now the real fun begins
because you will find that the rules of the game
are not to find the truth or achieve justice -
but rather to win the argument.

Adversarial law it is called.
Argue anything you wish.
The one who can put up the best argument wins,
no matter how ridiculous
the answer may appear on the surface.

Better yet -
if the lawyer can show
that others have made the same argument
then that is called precedent or 'stare decisis' -
and he wins all sorts of extra points -
justice often in the meantime - being ignored.

Adversarial law
is a form of playing what is called -
the 'devil's advocate'.
Truth being ignored -
it is all based upon suppose -
and the best supposer wins.

If you have enough money
to hire a better supposer
than the other person -
then you win -
and the best supposers
can even get you free of almost any crime.

All in the name
of a form of free speech -
which isn't really that free
because unless you have the money
to pay for it
you - yourself may not go free.

Other cultures have practiced
an alternative to devil's advocacy
or adversarial confrontation
in conflict resolution.
My own religion recommends consultation.

The Prophet stated:

      "The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion and the canopy of world order is upraised upon the two pillars of reward and punishment."

      "Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding."

The Authorized Interpreter
of my religion
stated:
      "When meeting for consultation, each must use perfect liberty in stating his views and unveiling the proof of his demonstration. If another contradicts him, he must not become excited because if there be no investigation or verification of questions and matters, the agreeable view will not be discovered neither understood. The brilliant light which comes from the collision of thoughts is the "lightener" of facts."
The methods for developing
the skill and techniques
of consultation
is beyond the scope of this presentation -
but it is a subject that needs to be
investigated, studied, and practiced
at all levels of society.

19. Behaviour in government and legislatures

As ridiculous as may seem
the cultural practice
of intentionally contrived and misleading argument in courts
even more astounding
is the behaviour in legislatures.
There if you ask a member
their position on anything
they may truthfully reply
that they can't know
until they know the position of the opposition -
because whatever the opposition's position -
theirs is the opposite.

Add to that the visual image
(in what should be solemn debate and consultation)
of behaviour in the legislatures of democracies
where grown men
are whooping and hollering
banging on desks and making catcalls
in a manner that would not be permitted
in any fourth grade class of children.

Add still beyond the circus of the procedure
that the legislation passed
is generally drawn up by lawyers
in the specialized terms of bureaucratize
that hides within its depths
the publically undeclared special interests
of its proposers,
however very often, concealed by some fine sounding title.

Not only does the public not read these tomes
but neither do the members of the legislatures
who vote for them -
votes actually being determined by loyalties
to the sources of their election funds.

All of this
in the name of freedom of expression
for the public will -
but in actuality controlled
in far too many parts of the world
either by direct bribes -
or by class and private loyalties.

The present attainment
of freedom of expression
and freedom to act from considered conscience
in the world's legislatures
is quite minimal when one considers
the centuries of struggle that have gone into
that supposed attainment.

20. Behaviour of the public

In many ways
the practice of the freedom of expression
and commitment to following true conscience
is reflective of society as a whole.

The masses of society -
even in the supposedly democratized societies -
both in their private and public discussions
show little of the tolerance, understanding,
restraint, and courtesy necessary
for the practice of freedom of expression.

Aside from riots
and the burning of buildings and vehicles,
confrontations with law enforcement personnel,
and the general trashing of public and private property
the emotional chanting and yelling,
in demonstrations conducted to provide
the intentional disruption of civic affairs -
far from being an instance of
freedom of expression -
actually curtails it.

When speakers try to dialogue
with such groups
they are often drowned out.
Groups such as these
even intentionally disrupt
special forums and meetings
that have been established
for the speakers to express their views.

These again are examples opposite
of the support of freedom of expression.
Admittedly -
sometimes (perhaps oftentimes)
(and this a point that can hardly be OVERSTRESSED)
these groups are acting out of frustration
that they have no
legitimate forums or avenues
for effective freedom of expression
of their views.

However,
sadly,
even when those forums and avenues exist -
there are far, far too many instances of behaviour
that do not evidence a general willingness
to be respectful, courteous, tolerant, understanding,
or open to meaningful dialogue.

Caricature, ridicule, parody
are all very power instruments of expression -
and political cartoonists
and political humorists
have been potent forces in forming public opinion -
and there may be proper forums for such antics -
but with these -
as with all other mediums of expression
there is a proper balance
and a proper time and place.
That time and place certainly isn't
when one has the listening receptive ear,
of the party being characterized.

While I characterized the behaviour
of the members of legislatures
as being that which wouldn't be tolerated
in a fourth grade class -
the behaviour of many public crowds
is more like that of badly behaved two year olds.
Such is the sad state of humanity
to which we would like to bring
freedom of expression.

Where between these poles
of the behaviour of political leaders
in never justly and evenly praising their opponents
accompanied by the shameful example of behaviour
that they set in the legislatures
as to how debate, discussion, consultation
should be conducted -
and the mass attitudes
shown in student and public demonstrations,
union strikes,
and even in riots
can we find a legitimate field
for freedom of expression?

F. Freedom of Expression in Practice

21. Legal restrictions to freedom of expression

The right to freedom of expression, even as expressed in the UN Statement of Human Rights, is not considered unlimited; governments may still prohibit certain damaging types of expressions. Under international law, restrictions on free speech are required to comport with a strict three-part test:

    1. they must be provided by law;
    2. pursue an aim recognized as legitimate;
    3. and they must be necessary
      (i.e., proportionate)
      for the accomplishment of that aim.

Amongst the aims considered legitimate are:

    1. protection of the rights
      and reputations of others
      (prevention of defamation)

    2. the protection of
      a. national security
      b. public order
      c. health
      d. morals

The rub of course comes
with the question of when -

    a. national security
    b. public order
    c. health
    d. morals
need to be protected.

Governments are very good
at saying that everything and anything
is a matter of national security.
There may be
"Freedom of Information Acts"
but it is almost impossible
in terms of
time, effort, monetary,
legal expertise, and other resources
for an individual to obtain
any information
such as the three video tapes
that the FBI confiscated
of whatever it was
that flew across the highway
and into the Pentagon on 9/11.

When governments get into the area
of protecting the nation from
insurrectionists,
terrorists,
spies,
anarchists,
or whoever is not popular -
the lines become even more nebulous.

22. Civil Society and religious NGOs

There is much talk today
in academic circles
about Civil Society.

A google search on the term
brought up 116,000,000 hits
which is the most that I think
that I had ever seen it bring up
on any subject.

I did then try 'love' and 'God'
and found considerably more -
but still 116 million
is an awful lot.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:

      Civil society or civil institutions refers to the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations or institutions which form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force backed structures of a state (regardless of that state's political system).

This may seem to be a jump
in the thread of thought -
but in actuality it is the role of
NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations)
and specifically that of NGOs
that are religious -
in establishing the New World Order -
and their attitude
towards freedom of expression
that should perhaps most concern us.

There appears to be a counterpoise
in regards to freedom of expression
between the NGO members of civil society
which are humanistic
and those which are of a
religious nature.

Many religions are specifically concerned
with their own particular religion's dogmas
and the advancement of their own religion
rather than the universal enhancement
of spiritual values
in all the peoples of the world -
no matter what their religion.

However,

      "The spirit of liberty which in recent decades has swept over the planet with such tempestuous force is ..."

seen in my religion
as a manifestation of the vibrancy of the Revelation
brought by my religion's Prophet.

On the other hand there is no clear support
for universal freedom of expression
by many other religions.
Indeed, there are presently
numerous religious groups in North America
that are opposed the UN itself.
Many of their members support the slogan of:

    Get America out of the UN
    and the UN out of America.

There would seem to be a contradiction
in this non-participative point of view
with the complaints lodged by them regarding
the 'humanistic' philosophy of the UN.
If they are not there and participating -
then obviously the UN will instead
express the philosophy
of some of those who do participate.

Many and varied are the reasons
by these religious groups
for not participating.
They give reasons
all the way from that the UN
is a representative of the anti-Christ
to that they are expecting Jesus
to come down on a cloud
and establish a just world
without any effort on their part.

While my religion feels
that it requires the full effort
of humanity to build a just world,
nevertheless, in my own religion
I can see somewhat of a parallel
of the attitude of not participating
in certain areas.

For example -
we are all very concerned about
the immorality that is expressed
in the movies and TV.
Yet, the Guardian of my faith said:

      "with regard to your question relative to the advisability of having ...(members of my religion) join film companies. Although on principle there is no objection if any believer wishes to become a cinema actor, yet in view of the excessive corruption that now prevails along such a line of occupation, the Guardian would not advise any believer to choose this kind of profession, unless he finds this to be the only means of earning his livelihood."
This is undoubtedly good advice
for the individual today
and we may well hope for a better day
when the world is more moral.
However, one may wonder
if those with high spiritual values
do not try to educate the public
through these avenues of entertainment
then how the industry will ever change
of have the resources
in spiritually minded personnel
to better itself.

Perhaps, as a religion -
we should leave this to others
in the same way as we do politics -
an arena in which members of my religion
are strictly forbidden to participate.

Cinema,
Politics
Protest
and revolutionary organizations
have certainly had a dramatic effect
upon the evolution of society
but as individuals -
the members of my religion
are either cautioned (in the first case)
or absolutely required
as in the latter cases
to not involve themselves in those activities.

The alternative for individuals -
in my religion
indeed - their duty
is to expend their full effort
both by precept and example
in the moral and spiritual education
of all with whom they come in contact.

      "The quality of freedom and of its expression -- indeed, the very capacity to maintain freedom in a society -- undoubtedly depends on the knowledge and training of individuals and on their ability to cope with the challenges of life with equanimity."

As mentioned several times -
on the other hand -
the administrative bodies
of my religion are quite supportive
of the United Nations
and do make 'suggestions' as to
its policies and operations.

While many religious based NGOs,
(my own religion being one of the exceptions)
do not show strong support
for freedom of expression through the UN
there does seem to be strong support
within the philosophy of Post Modernism
reflected in those NGOs that are not religiously oriented.

The result is that -
the idealistic postmodernist NGOs
seek for more and more
materialistic betterment
of the Third World countries
while almost completely ignoring
any spiritual concerns.

      "Material civilization, driven by the dogmas of consumerism and aggressive individualism and disoriented by the weakening of moral standards and spiritual values, has been carried to excess"

      "Concern that each human being should enjoy the freedom of thought and action conducive to his or her personal growth does not justify devotion to the cult of individualism that so deeply corrupts many areas of contemporary life."

We must also consider one alternative to the 'cult of individualism'
that affects great masses of the peoples of the world -
and that is the alternative of 'statism',
most often expressed in the form of fascism,
but a concern most usually identified in the West
with 'communism'.

In its extreme form
the alternative to deification of the individual
is the deification of the state.
My religion's

      "... conception of social life is essentially based on the principle of the subordination of the individual will to that of society.

However,

      It neither suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society. As in everything, it follows the 'golden mean'."

      "This relationship, so fundamental to the maintenance of civilized life, calls for the utmost degree of understanding and cooperation between society and the individual; and because of the need to foster a climate in which the untold potentialities of the individual members of society can develop, this relationship must allow 'free scope' for 'individuality to assert itself' through modes of spontaneity, initiative and diversity that ensure the viability of society."

      "Nor does concern to ensure the welfare of society as a whole require a deification of the state as the supposed source of humanity's well-being. Far otherwise: the history of the present century shows all too clearly that such ideologies and the partisan agendas to which they give rise have been themselves the principal enemies of the interests they purport to serve."

It is this concern
about the deification of the state
that brings me to the next topic.

23. Freedom in China

Because of my great love for China -
and because of my close connection
to that country that will play
a predominate role in the future of mankind -
I most wish to examine
how the principles of
freedom of expression
and freedom of religion
may apply there.

Actually the principles will have to apply
to the world as a whole.
My religion's writings state:

      "The world is in greatest need of international peace. Until it is established, mankind will not attain composure and tranquillity. It is necessary that the nations and governments organize an international tribunal to which all their disputes and differences shall be referred. The decision of that tribunal shall be final."

My religion has formally recommended
(actually 'suggested')
in the UN:

      "The establishment of a social order, at the local, national and international levels, in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be fully realized is the responsibility of everyone."

It states:

      "...the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ... shines as a beacon of hope to millions of human beings languishing under the yoke of racism, religious intolerance, and other forms of oppression inflicted by one group against another."

      "The idea and the fact of freedom pervade all human concerns in an infinitude of notions and modes. Freedom is indeed essential to all expressions of human life."

From all this we can see that:

      The "... freedom of expression, (is) a fundamental principle of ..." my religion.

24. The individual versus the atheistic state

But first -

let us examine one alternate 'statist' view
purportedly made in 2005
by China's former Minister of Defense -
Chi Haotian:

      ... in the political report of our Party's Sixteenth National Congress, we established that the national revitalization be our great objective and explicitly specified in our new Party Constitution that our Party is the pioneer of the Chinese people. All these steps marked a major development in Marxism, reflecting our Party's courage and wisdom. As we all know, Marx and his followers have never referred to any communist party as a pioneer of a certain people; neither did they say that national revitalization could be used as a slogan of a communist party. Even Comrade Mao Zedong, a courageous national hero, only raised high the banner of "the global proletarian revolution," but even he did not have the courage to give the loudest publicity to the slogan of national revitalization.

      We must greet the arrival of the Chinese Century by raising high the banner of national revitalization. How should we fight for the realization of the Chinese Century? We must borrow the precious experiences in human history by taking advantage of the outstanding fruition of human civilization and drawing lessons from what happened to other ethnic groups.

      ...Ostensibly, in comparison, today's China is alarmingly similar to Germany back then. Both of them regard themselves as the most superior races; both of them have a history of being exploited by foreign powers and are therefore vindictive; both of them have the tradition of worshipping their own authorities; both of them feel that they have seriously insufficient living space; both of them raise high the two banners of nationalism and socialism and label themselves as "national socialism"; both of them worship "one state, one party, one leader, and one doctrine."

      ...Our theory of the shifting center of civilization is of course more profound than the Hitler's theory of "the lords of the earth." Our civilization is profound and broad, which has determined that we are so much wiser than they were.

      ...Our Chinese people are wiser than the Germans because, fundamentally, our race is superior to theirs. As a result, we have a longer history, more people, and larger land area. On this basis, our ancestors left us with the two most essential heritages, which are atheism and great unity. It was Confucius, the founder of our Chinese culture, who gave us these heritages.

      These two heritages determined that we have a stronger ability to survive than the West. That is why the Chinese race has been able to prosper for so long. We are destined "not to be buried by either heaven or earth" no matter how severe the natural, man-made, and national disasters. This is our advantage.

      ... What makes us different from Germany is that we are complete atheists, while Germany was primarily a Catholic and Protestant country. Hitler was only half atheist. Although Hitler also believed that ordinary citizens had low intelligence, and that leaders should therefore make decisions, and although German people worshipped Hitler back then, Germany did not have the tradition of worshipping sages on a broad basis. Our Chinese society has always worshipped sages, and that is because we don't worship any god. Once you worship a god, you can't worship a person at the same time, unless you recognize the person as the god's representative like they do in Middle Eastern countries. On the other hand, once you recognize a person as a sage, of course you will want him to be your leader, instead of monitoring and choosing him. This is the foundation of our democratic centralism.

      ... The bottom line is, only China, not Germany, is a reliable force in resisting the Western parliament-based democratic system. Hitler's dictatorship in Germany was perhaps but a momentary mistake in history.

      Maybe you have now come to understand why we recently decided to further promulgate atheism. If we let theology from the West into China and empty us from the inside, if we let all Chinese people listen to God and follow God, who will obediently listen to us and follow us? If the common people don't believe Comrade Hu Jintao is a qualified leader, question his authority, and want to monitor him, if the religious followers in our society question why we are leading God in churches, can our Party continue to rule China?

This view -
that the individual
is to be completely subordinated
to the atheistic state
is of course not the view of my religion.

My religion states:

      "... while the individual will is subordinated to that of society, the individual is not lost in the mass but becomes the focus of primary development, so that he may find his own place in the flow of progress, and society as a whole may benefit from the accumulated talents and abilities of the individuals composing it. Such an individual finds fulfilment of his potential not merely in satisfying his own wants but in realizing his completeness in being at one with humanity and with the divinely ordained purpose of creation."

25. The individual versus the theistic state

What then -
about the subordination of the individual
to a theistic state?

When there is an alignment
between philosophies or religion
and the government powers -
then all sorts of questions may arise
such as to whether the word "God"
should appear on money -
or be spoken in ceremonies
in public schools -
or whether or not women should be
required to wear a veil.
Whatever may be one's views
regarding the subject
of separation of church and state -
what is being discussed here -
is the right to discuss it.

Religious organizations often require
complete devotion -
complete unquestioning acceptance of ideas -
complete submission to authority.

Unquestioning acceptance and
complete submission may be fine -
within the religion -
but how that might be
a pattern for society as a whole -
is a matter we must consider.

To take just two examples -
members of the Catholic Church
may see the Church as having been established
by God in direct lineage of authority
bestowed upon Peter -
and as such any disobedience
to Papal Authority
is the same as disobedience
to God Himself.

Thus the Church
may pronounce against abortion
and Catholics are therefore required
to not practice it
or to even advocate it
in society as a whole.
However, if society as a whole
continues to permit its practice
then they would have to allow that freedom
to others.

Similarly,
in the Muslim Faith -
there may be some sects that feel
in direct lineage of authority
from Muhammad -
that Caliphates, Imams, Mullahs
or others with spiritual authority -
have ruled
that they should not permit
their daughters to be educated.

Again, those who practice this
may even advocate the practice
to society as a whole.
But once again -
should society as a whole
prefer to follow some other standard -
then those religionists should not
be able to force their views upon the others.
More adversely -
a conflict may arise
where the society at large
decides to impose its view upon
the specific religionists.

What we may have here
are two different standards.
One for the individual -
as expressed in the following
by the Prophet of my religion:

      "the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal";

      "liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety,
      and to infringe on the dignity of his station";

      "true liberty consisteth in man's submission unto My commandments".

Thus it is that
those freedoms that one may accept
for society as a whole
are not necessarily freedoms
that they will accept for themselves
or that are accepted within their religion.
Therefore, whereas a society might
permit the use of alcohol or drugs,
the practice of abortion,
the equal education of women with men,
the use of doctors or medicine,
the reading of pornography,
or the free examination and expression of ideas -
one's personal standards -
or their religion may forbid it.

Freedom of expression,
freedom of thought,
and what I think to be
a basic principle of my religion -
the independent investigation of truth -
have always been extremely important to me.

I have heard some argue
that independent investigation of truth
applies only until one accepts the religion
and then from that point forward
they are to accept without question
the teachings of the religion
as determined by its administrative authority.

I have difficulty with that point of view.
While I too accept the revealed Scripture
as being infallible -
I leave room for pleading ignorance
as to always fully understanding its intent,
and feel that one needs to continue to
examine and dialogue with society at large
as regarding the nature of reality.

There are many proponents of a theistic state
from the Hindu, Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions.
It would be overly exhausting
to examine even a fraction of those views
but one of the most dominate at the moment
is that of those who are called Islamists.

Islamists feel that it is impossible for a Muslim
to live in a society where secular law,
not Shari'ah (Islamic jurisprudence),
is in force.

In this extreme Islamic point of view
those countries where there is
secular government
are regarded as part of the Dar al-Harb
(the House of War),
because political power is held
and exercised by the infidel (kuffar),
and the Islamists see it as their duty
to overthrow those governments -
by whatever means,
including Jihad (Holy War).

More moderate Muslims prefer the label
Dar al-Sulh (House of Conciliation),
for describing the relationship to secular governments -
implying a conceptual no-man's-land
between war and peace.

Still others use Dar al-Dawah
(House of Propagation),
which means that the Muslims
have the responsibility to convert the nation.

Many religions,
including mine
see as their goal -
the converting of the whole of humanity
to their religion.
The issue is by what means.

The Prophet of my religion stated:

      "That which God hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith."

      "We have erewhile declared -- and Our Word is the truth -- : 'Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.'"

      "The unbelievers and the faithless have set their minds on four things: first, the shedding of blood; second, the burning of books; third, the shunning of the followers of other religions; fourth, the extermination of other communities and groups. Now however, through the strengthening grace and potency of the Word of God these four barriers have been demolished..."

Specifically to this end,
the Prophet of my religion declared:

      "O people of the earth! The first Glad-Tidings which the Mother Book hath, in this Most Great Revelation, imparted unto all the peoples of the world is that the law of holy war hath been blotted out from the Book."


G. Freedom in the New World Order

26. Is the world ready for democracy?

I look about and I see
that Saddam was keeping the lid on
a lot of problems in Iraq.
As Powell told Bush -
he might break Iraq and
and not be able to fix it.
I didn't have the wisdom to see that.
Most certainly the same concerns exist in China.

Turns out -
that perhaps a large part of the world's population
is not ready for democracy.
They have no attitude of permitting everyone to vote.
They have no attitude of accepting majority decision.
They have no attitude of majorities providing tolerance of other ideas.

Indeed -
one can even see this as a growing trend
in North America -
which already had Democracy.

Much of humanity
does not seem to be able to listen courteously
to other people's ideas -
and to make a real effort to understand them.

Indeed -
this discourteous expression of opposition -
seems to be increasing with the Internet.
At least that is the impression
that I am getting
from discussion boards that I visit
(even though they are monitored)
and the emails that I receive.
I now hear MUCH MORE expression
of hatred, prejudice and intolerance,
than I ever heard 40 years ago -
during the days of segregation
and before we even heard of Muslims
in the rural community where I was raised.

All this when -
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states in:

      Article 1.
      All human beings ... are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Much / perhaps most of humanity -
presently does not really want to understand
alternative social and spiritual concepts.
They prefer to be emotionally involved in their
sports activities
music and entertainment
religious dogma
political party dogma
media generated current events
and every other diversion
rather than trying to truly and sympathetically understand
abstract social or spiritual ideas
as expressed by others.

Indeed -
with the freedom of the Internet
in North America
the concern with frivolous ideas
seems to have increased
as much as any true insight
into social or spiritual wisdom.

If this is true -
I can see how there may be
considerable concern on the part of many leaders
regarding the extension to the masses
of democracy
and the freedom of speech.

Sadly,
it is not just the masses of people
that exhibits these backward tendencies
but they are prominent in the leadership themselves.
Not only do we often find intolerance there -
but also favoritism to members of their own
families
clans
political supporters
culture
class
countries -
and most sadly of all
even entrenched customs of
direct outright bribery.

In such a situation
it seems impossible for a just system
to arise
where there will be either people worthy of
freedom of expression
or leaders that will assure it.

For this reason I have undertaken
for myself
to re-examine how and in what stages
universal freedom of expression
may be established
in ideal and practice
in the New World Order
after nuclear WW3.

27. Freedom and future society

Given the immediately preceding pessimistic view
regarding the present state of the world
in regards to freedom of expression
then we must ask -
what in this regards is
mankind's destiny?

      "The conception of civilization's future course laid out  ...(in the writings of the Prophet of my religion) ... challenges much that today imposes itself on our world as normative and unchangeable. The breakthroughs made during the century of light (the twentieth century) have opened the door to a new kind of world. If social and intellectual evolution is in fact responding to a moral intelligence inherent in existence, a great deal of the theory determining contemporary approaches to decision-making is fatally flawed. If human consciousness is essentially spiritual in nature - as the vast majority of ordinary people have always been intuitively aware -, its development needs cannot be understood or served through an interpretation of reality that dogmatically insists otherwise."

Therefore, my religion holds
that contrary to the pessimistic view
held in the previous section -
that humankind can progress
but that it needs to take a different tack
than it has so far.

      "The task of freeing humanity from an error so fundamental and pervasive will call into question some of the twentieth century's most deeply entrenched assumptions about right and wrong."

      "What are some of these unexamined assumptions? The most obvious is the conviction that unity is a distant, almost unattainable ideal to be addressed only after a host of political conflicts have been somehow resolved, material needs somehow satisfied, and injustices somehow corrected. The opposite, ... (the Prophet of my religion) asserts, is the case. The primary disease that afflicts society and generates the ills that cripple it, he says, is the disunity of a human race that is distinguished by its capacity for collaboration and whose progress to date has depended on the extent to which unified action has, at various times and in various societies, been achieved."

While for a century
humankind has seen its foremost need
as being 'peace'
in fact its real need has been for 'unity'.
Conflict and lack of peace
has grown out of the lack unity.

      "To cling to the notion that conflict is an intrinsic feature of human nature, rather than a complex of learned habits and attitudes, is to impose on a new century an error which, more than any other single factor, has tragically handicapped humanity's past. "Regard the world", ...(the Prophet of my religion advised elected leaders), "as the human body which, though at its creation whole and perfect, hath been afflicted, through various causes, with grave disorders and maladies."

It is the need and challenge
that humanity must meet
to identify and implement those features
that will bring about unity.
First and foremost among those
is the need for justice.

      "Intimately related to the issue of unity is a second moral challenge that the past century has posed with ever increasing urgency. In the sight of God, ...(the Prophet of my religion insists),... justice is the "best beloved of all things". It enables the individual to see reality through his or her own eyes rather than those of others and endows collective decision making with the authority that alone can ensure unity of thought and action. However gratifying is the system of international order that has emerged from the harrowing experiences of the twentieth century, its enduring influence will depend on acceptance of the moral principle implicit in it. If the body of humankind is indeed one and indivisible, then the authority exercised by its governing institutions represents essentially a trusteeship. Each individual person comes into the world as a trust of the whole, and it is this feature of human existence that constitutes the real foundation of the social, economic and cultural rights that the United Nations Charter and its related documents articulate. Justice and unity are reciprocal in their effect.

      "The purpose of justice", ... (the Prophet of my religion wrote), "is the appearance of unity among men. The ocean of divine wisdom surgeth within this exalted word, while the books of the world cannot contain its inner significance."

The spiritual progress of society
begins with the spiritual progress of individuals.
The task that lies before the stewards of society
is to inculcate into the masses
the elements of spiritual qualities.

      "As society commits itself - however hesitantly and fearfully - to these and related moral principles, the most meaningful role it will offer the individual will be that of service. One of the paradoxes of human life is that development of the self comes primarily through commitment to larger undertakings in which the self - even if only temporarily - is forgotten. In an age that opens up to people of every condition an opportunity to participate effectively in the shaping of the social order itself, the ideal of service to others assumes entirely new significance."

The ideal of other philosophical systems
have been to create the 'social man'
but it is the very essence and spiritual nature of man
that this can only be done through the education and training of the soul.
Inculcating and encouraging
wrong values into the soul
has been the cause of the moral depravity
presently exhibited by so much of the human race.

      To exalt such goals as acquisition and self-assertion as the purpose of life is to promote chiefly the animal side of human nature. Nor can simplistic messages of personal salvation any longer address the yearnings of generations who have come to know, with deep certainty, that true fulfillment is as much a matter of this world as it is of the next."

      "Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in," ... (is the Prophet of my religion's counsel), "and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements."

The unity of the whole of humankind
requires that the world as a whole
collectively encourages every individual throughout
to rise above the limitations of narrow self interest
limited allegiances to family, clan and nation
and exclusive appreciation of one's own religion.

      "Such perspectives have profound implications for the conduct of human affairs. It is obvious, for example, that, whatever its past contributions, the longer the nation state persists as the dominant influence in determining the fate of humankind, the longer will the achievement of world peace be delayed and the greater will be the suffering inflicted on the earth's population."

Anarchy is the bane
of peaceful society -
whether we look upon it
on an individual basis
or on a national scale.
There can no more be peace and order
in the world as a whole
with the anarchy of nations
than there can be peace and order in the nations
with anarchy of individuals.

Moreover,
where in the past
there has been anarchy of individuals
today in the world
we see multi-national corporations
behaving in a similar anti-social manner.

      "In humanity's economic life, no matter how great the blessings brought by globalization, it is apparent that this process has also created unparalleled concentrations of autocratic power that must be brought under international democratic control if they are not to produce poverty and despair for countless millions."

Specifically,
to our subject of freedom of expression
communication anarchy on the global scene
could be very detrimental to morals.
With no standards
nor means to enforce standards
with media such as satellite communication -
the telecosm could become the cesspool of decadent human thought.

      "... the historic breakthrough in information and communication technology, which represents so potent a means to promote social development and the deepening of people's sense of their common humanity, can, with equal force, divert and coarsen impulses vital to the service of this very process."

Global communications
global corporations
global weaponry sales
global pollution
global destruction of resources
and many similar areas
must be justly organized, monitored,
and yes - controlled,
for they're to be global justice
and global unity -
both of which must be attained -
for they're to be global peace.


H. Requirements for the Establishment of Freedom

28. A new pattern for future society

The old system obviously did not work.

For they're to be peace
there must be a New World Order (NWO).
The three major contenders -
perhaps better to say contestants
or even combatants
for controlling the NWO
have been:

  • Capitalism as represented by
    the US, Britain,
    and those aligned with them

  • Communism as represented by
    Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea,
    and those aligned with them

  • Islam as represented by
    Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria,
    and those aligned with them.

As stressed previously -
the adversarial systems in
courts
parliaments
governments
between governments -
is not one that works.
What is needed is unity
and any and everything
that creates unity.

If this again seems to be
subject drift
be assured that it is far otherwise.

      "Only in a consultative framework made possible by the consciousness of the organic unity of humankind can all aspects of the concern for human rights find legitimate and creative expression."

      "Only a comprehensive vision of a global society, supported by universal values and principles, can inspire individuals ..."

Peace, prosperity, unity,
go hand-in-hand with
with human rights and
freedom of expression and
freedom of religion.

      "At the heart of the discussion of a strategy of social and economic development, therefore, lies the issue of human rights. The shaping of such a strategy calls for the promotion of human rights to be freed from the grip of the false dichotomies that have for so long held it hostage."

I see my religion as providing

      "the pattern for future society."
It for that reason
that I provide, propose, and examine
what I understand to be
its recommendations.
I do not see any challenge by others
to my presentation of these ideas themselves -
as being a challenge to my religion.
There is the very real possibility
that I may misunderstand
both the ideas themselves
and my religion's teaching about them -
and it is for that reason
that I do not claim to be authoritatively presenting
my religion's viewpoint on these subjects.
The goal here
is simply to understand and discuss
the ideas as they should be applied
to society as a whole.

It is equally important
that society as a whole
eventually discuss these ideas.
The Prophet of my religion has stated:

      "The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquillity of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation. We fain would hope that the kings and rulers of the earth, the mirrors of the gracious and almighty name of God, may attain unto this station, and shield mankind from the onslaught of tyranny. ...The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home. These things are obligatory and absolutely essential. It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.... That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.

29. Moderation in the practice of principles of freedom

My religion:

      "inculcates the principle of 'moderation in all things'"

This applies equally well
to the subjects of
freedom of expression
and freedom of religion.

My religion declares:

      "that whatsoever, be it
      'liberty,
      civilization and the like',
      'passeth beyond the limits of moderation'

      must 'exercise a pernicious influence upon men';

A sudden leap -
for societies
that have totally controlled
the channels of communication and media
for either political or religious purposes -
to a system of even
a moderate level of freedom of expression
may not be practical.

When, as considered earlier,
many of the members
both among the officials and the masses
of even very open and free societies
were not able to conduct themselves
responsibly and courteously
in their public and private exchanges -
then it is unreasonable to expect
that those not accustomed to such freedom -
will be able to immediately do so.


I. Summary and Conclusion

30. Culmination of events and a third attempt

My religion therefore raises the question:

      "Should liberty be as free as is supposed in contemporary Western thought?"

Long before the arrival
of the Great Catastrophe
it was commonly stated
in the writings of my religion that it:

      "observes that western civilization has gravely perturbed and alarmed the peoples of the world";

      "and predicts that the day is approaching when the 'flame' of a civilization 'carried to excess' 'will devour the cities'."

We must therefore ask:

      "Where does freedom limit our possibilities for progress,
      and where do limits free us to thrive?"

We must ask ourselves then -
what the proper balance in civilization
should be.

It is a question
to which humanity is not yet aware -
of the answer -
but what we are concerned with here
is that humanity have the proper
social environment in which to seek the answer.

The search for the Just Society
is the search for Unity among humankind.
It must of necessity be
a collective effort among all the nations
of the earth
and all the nations of the earth must participate.

What specific methods
will be implemented to determine
as to who are the recognized representatives
of each nation
and the boundaries of the nation which they represent
along with the level and responsibilities
of their participation
are all matters that will have to be determined
by the International Organization itself.

However, there can be no Just Society
without Freedom of Expression -
nor can there be Freedom of Expression
without a Just Society.

Chief among the criteria for
joining and participating in the search
for universal standards
for freedom of expression
and freedom of religion
is the establishment of
freedom of expression
and freedom of religion
in the nations setting the standards.

Every society must deal with
Saints, Sinners, Satans -
and global society must be prepared
to deal with Saint, Sinner, and Satan nations.

One may well ask:

      "What are the limits to the expansion of freedom?"

and:

      "What are the latitudes of freedom".

and:

      "How are these to be determined?"

Those nations that have not established
Freedom of Expression
and Freedom of Religion
can hardly be guides to -
or judges of -
the rest of humanity
that is struggling to answers these questions
and to establish world justice, unity and peace.

It may be -
that some of the nations
of the world will experience -
a 'death bed conversion' -
and that the survivors will suddenly seriously commit
to enforcing standards
that will achieve justice and unity.

While the theme throughout has been that
perfection cannot be obtained suddenly
still we must avoid a defeating and destroying
policy of over-bearing gradualism.
Instead there must be adopted
a firm program of reasonable rapidity
with definition of specific goals
appropriate measures of achievement
and all the necessary methods of visible monitoring.

It may indeed take humanity decades
or even centuries
to achieve a nominal universal level
of justice, freedom and unity
but it is essential that the proper mechanisms
be immediately established
and diligently applied and moderated.

Earlier I presented my religion's call for
'an all-embracing assemblage'
to establish justice, freedom and unity.
Elsewhere I have proposed steps
for humanity in general
to begin the process on a local level.

31. China and the three onenesses

In concluding
let me turn my thought once again to China
not only because of its nearness and dearness to my heart
but also because of its pre-eminence among the world's populations
and the prominence that it is to play
in the present century
and the shaping of the affairs of the world.

China has been selected
at the opening of this new age
to host both the first Olympics
and the first World's Fair.

While these may have been originally perceived
by some
as opportunities to showcase new technologies -
the pressing need of the world for unity
is such that they must be used to showcase
to the world new attitudes towards unity.

Many opportunities will present themselves
for China to take its proper leadership
in leading the world to Unity.
Already -
China has taken a marvelous and substantial step
in using this opportunity
to lead the world towards the development
of a universal auxiliary language.

In my religion
we speak of:
the "three onenesses".

  • The oneness of humanity
  • The oneness of religion
  • The oneness of nations

The Olympics and the World Fair
present a marvellous opportunity
to demonstrate not only a tolerance
of all races, religions, and nations
but such a true and deep appreciation
of ALL of them
that it will truly contribute
to the unity of the world.

This is China's great opportunity.
This is China's great privilege.
Let us hope that this will be
China's great accomplishment.

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