Larry Flynt on the Danish Cartoons
Steven Weiss talks to Hustler publisher Larry Flynt about the dreaded cartoons of blasphemy: Larry Flynt on the Danish Cartoons.
What do you think of the situation of the Danish cartoons?
It’s scary, to say the least. Freedom of speech is involved in this, and I’ve always been an absolutist when it comes to free speech, even in countries that don’t have it. I don’t think you’re really free unless you do have freedom of speech and freedom of religion and civil liberties. If you pull any one of those out, it’s like a domino effect. I can understand why a lot of people are afraid, but if they thought a little harder about the issues themselves and asked if they wanted to live in a country of tyranny I don’t think anyone would. I think Americans are just reacting without thinking.
Freedom of speech is only important if you’re gonna offend someone; if you’re not gonna offend someone, you don’t need free speech. As the Supreme Court found in my lawsuit of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, just because the government finds speech offensive, it doesn’t mean people don’t have a right to say it.
I hate to see so many people waffle on this.
What do you think this controversy says about the world Muslim community?
Y’know, Steve, that all the wars were fought all for religion, it’s very easy to document this, and we talk about being a tolerant society.
Do you think Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell really like the jews and the muslims? No, they tolerate them because they have to because of freedom of religion, but other countries don’t have that.
When this intoleration is not contained, it erupts, into war. We live in an era of nuclear weapons; it’s just so frightening that a few people just wanna try to make it go away by just appeasing the Arabs who are protesting, but that’s not the way it works … you’re on a slippery slope with your freedom, and if you don’t protect it, you’ll lose it.