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YouTube removing “religiously offensive” videos

February 26, 2012

No telling how long this Thunderf00t video will be up: YouTube has started pulling his videos down because Muslims have been complaining that they are offensive:

As an atheist I know something about criticism: Christians and Muslims say all manner of terrible things about us (which are no more true than they are of any other cross-section of humanity). But I support their right to say those things because censorship, as an alternative, is an off-ramp into the dark ages. Once a society starts deciding what you can say and what you can’t say, they’re essentially dictating what you can think, and what you can’t think.

Only offensive speech needs protection. The First Amendment specifically protects speech and religion, and by clear implication, thought. And if someone says something bad about me or my in-group, I’ll try to answer them the best I can. Or I may just put a link to their video on Twitter so my friends can make fun of them, whatever seems like the best thing at the time.

I do not agree with everything Thunderf00t says by any stretch. For example I disagree with his opposition to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. But that’s the point, isn’t it? People say things, and we have an opportunity to think about them and discuss them.

One could argue that YouTube is private property, much as my blog is private property. All right, fine; ask yourself if you’d like the phone company to cut off phone conversations they deem offensive. One also wonders where they plan to draw the line. Personally I find every video Ray Comfort ever made offensive. Should I complain to YouTube and ask that they be removed? Or should I decide if it’s worth my time to make some kind of answer to them?

It will be interesting to see how long this video stays up, or if YouTube changes its idiotic policy.


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