Civil Liberties

Acclaimed Writer Neil Gaiman Stands Up for Charlie Hebdo and Free Speech


On Twitter, the acclaimed writer and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman offers a full-throated defense of free speech in the aftermath of yesterday's terrorist attack on satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo:

The final tweet above links to this 2008 blog post, in which Gaiman lays out his fundamental case for freedom of speech:

The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible….

I loved coming to the US in 1992 [from England], mostly because I loved the idea that freedom of speech was paramount. I still do. With all its faults, the US has Freedom of Speech. The First Amendment states that you can't be arrested for saying things the government doesn't like. You can say what you like, write what you like, and know that the remedy to someone saying or writing or showing something that offends you is not to read it, or to speak out against it. I loved that I could read and make my own mind up about something.