voltaire

The Arbiters Of Free Speech

BbO2_l7CYAAiArR.jpg largePeople steal or misattribute good lines to people they like or want to lionise, it happens.

“I disagree with what you say sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” has been attributed to many people, but is most commonly thought to have been said by Voltaire.

It was probably however by his biographer, who was describing what Voltaire’s point was, though some have tried to steal it to say it was something by one of the people who made the Constitution of the USA.

Whoever said it, it is a good and important concept. We can argue all day about the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre and so on, but whichever side of that argument you fall on, the problem comes in when you start to think about who should be the arbiters of what is and isn’t fair play.

And again, wherever you stand on the argument, the arbiters sure as fuck shouldn’t be UEFA.

Obviously as a Celtic supporter I’ve got a bone to pick with UEFA with all this and that is why it was nice to see Greenpeace pissing them off (again) by annoying one of their big sponsors.

This is just a little taster of a larger article I’d like to write on this topic and the teaser question is simply this…

You may or may not agree that there should be limits to free speech. People tend to move along a spectrum on that one.

Whatever your opinion, what the fuck have UEFA (or FIFA or the IOC for that matter) got to do with deciding for anyone what they can and can’t say?

An Actually True Nostradamus Prediction

I was looking through some famous last words yesterday and according to several websites, the last words of Nostradamus were…

“Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here”

If that is what he really said then it turns out to be just about the only accurate prediction he ever made because by the next day he was dead. Nostradamus and his quatrains are really just used as a way to scare children and should be treated very much like that character in the picture.

There is a reasonably good and short analysis of how it works (or doesn’t) here.

I particularly liked the penultimate paragraph…

“Nostradamus wrote his famous verses 500 years ago, and that is where this primitive middle ages superstition belongs. But sadly there is today an interest in such nonsense and we have seen revivals in everything daft from astrology, snippets borrowed from Eastern culture, a voodoo market place for everything from Hopi Indian dream catchers and healing crystals to lessons in Feng Shui, the ancient oriental art of separating fools from their money. We even have witches, warlocks, remote healing and people that can give you messages from the dead. What the hell is going on? What do these people use for brains?”

Finally, if you want some fantastic last words then have a look at this from Voltaire. When asked on his deathbed to renounce Satan he replied…

“Now now, this is not the time to be making enemies”