The Absolutists

When he lived at home in his warren Nin had a brief spell in which he considered himself to be a free speech absolutist. That is, he valued above all else the right of a rabbit to express themselves in any way they saw fit.

Even amongst rabbits there were those that did not fit the mold. Rabbits who bucked societal standards and expressed themselves in odd and peculiar ways. Nin, in his youth, hardly understood these individuals, but as a firm believer in the freedom of expression he recognized that these individuals were exercising that freedom.

To Nin these were the types that a free speech absolutist should champion the most—for they were the ones with the most to lose through censorship.

With this in mind he joined a small group of absolutists, but was shocked to discover a nest of hypocrisy and hate. The absolutists professed their love for freedom of expression, but secretly also seemed to detest it.

They said vile, hateful things about others. And often this hate speech was directed towards those individuals whose personal expressions were outside social conventions. The absolutists hopped on boxes in the central warren and called these types hindrances to the burrow, cancers that must be cut out, and other thinly veiled threats of violence.

Nin realized that these absolutists only cared for freedom of expression because it allowed them to spread their own agendas. Agendas that involved the eventual inevitable curtailing of that very same freedom of expression.

Therefore, Nin concluded, an absolutist position was untenable. There must be limits to freedom of speech, if only to prevent its misuse. But wasn’t this also intolerable? It meant trusting the current authority to govern with a just hand—hardly a welcome prospect for the societal outsiders who were, at best, tolerated, but rarely accepted.

No matter how he looked at it, it seemed that these outsiders were always in a tenuous position, trusting in the government to protect them from absolutists—a government which, if the political climate shifted just a little, could easily snuff them out.

Freedom or control, another quandary that clouded Nin’s mind with shadow and with doubt…