Emma West’s Racist Outburst…Expression of Liberty or License?
It has been recently annouced in the news in the UK and thanks to YouTube and other internet media probably the whole world now that thrity-four year old Emma West made a very racist annoucement on a packed tram. For those who have not yet seen it…[if easily offended I recommend not viewing the clip].
Not that I agree with anything Emma said in the youtube clip but it does raise an improtant question. Where does freedom of speech fit inside all of this?
Before I briefly discuss the issue I will explain what I mean by the terms liberty and license. Liberty is defined as being “freedom, a right or privalige” by the Oxford Dictionary, and within politcal philosophy it is also used to mean; political freedom, a right. License however is defined as being “freedom to do as you like”, or to put it another way; liberty in need of, but without, censorship, hence when liberty is left untamed it crosses a particular line where it beings to become dangerous to the liberties of others and that is where liberty becomes license. So now this has been established let us look at the incident in question…
Theorictally Emma should be able to express her views as she has done without fear of persecution due to her freedom of speech, on the other hand liberty untamed leads to, in cases like this, extremist groups such as the British Nationalist Party [BNP] (other groups also exist including the English Defence League [EDL]) banding together to persecute ethnic minorites, whom when banded together make up a significant proportion of Britain’s populous today and help support Britain by contributing to the economy by working hard and paying thier taxes. Of course there will be, as always is the case, those who are milking the system but that is true for Brits also some work hard others milk the system. Alas I divulge the point I am trying to make here is where exactly does freedom of speech end and where does license begin? In my very honest opinion Emma’s outburst falls very close to that borderline where liberty becomes license, as to which side of that line it falls it I shall leave you to decide.
 Pg 358 ,Oxford Mini Dictionary, (2002), New York: Oxford University Press