Business and social unrest..


The riots happened over a movie trailer that seems to have been designed to spark anger among Muslims.  Among others, an American Ambassador died in the violence.

Youtube has declined to remove the offensive video from their service, citing free speech rights.

I’m all for free speech.  I don’t think that physical violence is justified in response to speech, and in this case to a poorly produced bit of film designed to incite violence.  I have to wonder if  Youtube is doing the right thing?

I also teach world religions, so I’m familiar with Islam and how seriously Muslims take images of their prophet.  This is serious stuff for them and they feel (or are being told..) that the west disrespects them, their religion and their prophet.  I get that… and that’s not enough to make me wonder.

Many reports from the actors IN the movie indicate that they were deceived by the person responsible for it.  Their voices were dubbed, they were told the storyline was something else and they are afraid for their lives, say nothing of their careers…. and that’s not enough to make me wonder.

The fact of the matter is that individual people are being harmed in the violence.  Lives have already been lost in the interest of free (bad and stupid, poorly executed) speech.  Just because you HAVE a right doesn’t mean that you should choose to exercise it.  If a simple act like pulling down a video would stop the ongoing violence across the Muslim world, then perhaps the moral thing to do is to take it down.

As my life partner says, “life isn’t a contest”… but it seems to me that Youtube thinks it is.


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Filed under Applied Ethics

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