If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. (Noam Chomsky)
In defence of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, the Danish Cartoons and the recent YouTube movie, the liberals argued that Muslims should not get too upset over the offensive contents, because this was about the ‘sacred’ free speech or freedom of expression; the right to express a certain viewpoint, no matter how offensive or accurate. The problem is this is not applied consistently across the board. Why it is free speech to mock religious values, and yet a similar tone of language is not tolerated against a particular racial group or a group with a certain sexual orientation?
The usual suspects lecturing about free speech are not the ones on the receiving end, and when the tables are turned, free speech conveniently transforms into incitement to violence or threats to national security. The persecution of Julian Assange is a classic example of America behaving with such duplicity.