Terry Mattingly writes about NT Wright's February 9th speech to the British House of Lords.
Here's a piece:
Whose freedom are we talking about, anyway? Notoriously, the freedom of my fist ends where the freedom of your nose begins; and similarly the freedom of my speech is curtailed by the freedom of your honour, as the laws of slander and libel have always recognised. Part of the problem of ‘freedom of speech’ is that it tends to be the media who are most in favour of it – though they themselves often cheerfully censor information that cuts against editorial policy. Freedom of speech, my Lords, is useless if it is only selectively enjoyed, and if it is not combined with appropriate responsibility. If ‘freedom of speech’ is to be rehabilitiated as a useful concept, it needs to be set within a larger context of social and cultural wisdom. We have to find a way through the postmodern morass, not in order to go back to Enlightenment modernism, but in order to go through and out the other side into the construction of a new world of civility and mature public life. For this, freedom of speech has to be reciprocal; it needs the disciplines of interaction, of patient listening and attention. And that, my Lords, is what you don’t get when new moralities are invented overnight and enforced by policemen knocking on the door to see if you’re committing a thought-crime.