Freedom of expression: what's that?
The bastardisation of free speech is well under way:
"I think you just answered your own question by contradicting yourself. Yes, indeed, theoretically it may be consistent and all, but if you put it in real practice, we may all find out that steering a car with feet may not sound so ideal. And so this analogy applies to Matilah's comments, that though you may theoretically have the right to offend another (which begs the question of why would you do that in the first place: is there no other way to put it across?), in practice, it is not justified because your rights to do so violate another's rights to be prevented from such an offence, verbal or visceral. Of course, we may want to escalate this into a tit for tat game of violating each other's rights, but at the end of the day, if it is mutual understanding or social justice that we are pursuing, then free speech in the former sense is not going to get you there. Why waste or pervert a good thing and might I say, a right?"
Actually, my comments are not contradictory because while my analogy implies offensive language is not neccessary, in no way would I impinge on the rights of another to offend (or drive with their feet). If you cannot grasp the Right to Ignore, then that is to your own disadvantage. I find it even more incredibly absurd that people cannot excercise this right on the Internet, let alone a face to face conversation. The logic of one's rights to say something potentially offensive having the effect of impinging your rights is a completely construed concept. Because the irony of having a ficticious "Right not to be Offended" conversely impinges another's right to speech. Ask yourself if (a)your civil liberties have been reduced, and (b) if your human rights have been reduced. Answering these and acknowledging that the "Right not to be Offended" is contradictory in itself, and will conclusively show that this concept is flawed.
Let's also remember that Rights in this context is dictated by the Law. If you believe in pursuing social justice and mutual understandings over legislation, then I don't see any reason why you should think that Matilah should face potential prosecution by the Law. This situation is very much similar to the incident where the Danish caricatures offended the muslim community. My own article 'What does a Danish flag look like?' discussed the dilemma of religious appeasement and understanding freedom of speech. Alex Au (Yawning Bread) duly noted the bastardisation of free speech when people become fond of affixing "responsibility" to it. It suggests a freedom you have which must be curtailed depending on how offended another becomes. And it's not hard to see that where legislation is involved, self-censorship becomes inevitable.
My opinion does not deviate far from Matilah's idea of free speech. But one does not have to use profanity or share his opinion of you in order to agree with him.
"I am not a believer that law has complete control to mould society especially where the libertarian system is concerned, but if we head down that path (I am not thinking of Singapore, but the USA), it is clear to see what kind of society we will eventually get."
A truly genuine freedom of speech is a non-negotiable entity. You either have it or you don't. No one has the right to alter or define their own borders which apply to everyone else. To leave control in another individual defies the very meaning of 'freedom'. Where Singapore is concerned, the State is nowhere near a libertarian system and its infamous number of laws have clearly shaped its society for what it is today. If anything is to be clear, it is that the continued cap on progressive minds, free speech, gay rights, and other oppressive elements will eventually drive generations of youth out to greener pastures. Added to a failing birth/replacement rate, the Ruling Party will eventually face their own shortcomings.