The fundamental freedom to disagree

Freedom of faith, conscience and expression is a vital part of a functioning democracy. In a free and plural society, people can voice whatever is their in heart, mind and/or spirit. Naturally there is also a responsibility to use this freedom in a respectable way. Through relations we learn how to use this fundamental freedom responsibly.

The bigger and more plural a group is, the more this group will disagree on a particular subject. This is a simple reality. Yet, there is an active force within the European Institutions that, under the banner of political correctness and anti-discrimination, aims to restrict the freedom to disagree. This is a potential danger for real freedom in probably the most plural continent in the world.

In its election Manifesto, the ECPM fully agrees with the interpretation of freedom of expression of the European Court of Human Rights:

Freedom that only protects ideas that are accepted by the majority is not real freedom. (...) The European Court of Human Rights has interpreted freedom of expression to protect not only the information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also those that offend, shock or disturb. The latter are the true demands of pluralism, broad-mindedness and tolerance. If there is no fundamental right to disagree there is no democratic society.

In this respect, ECPM also pleas for real tolerance. More and more often tolerance is being interpreted as simply accepting or approving everything. In fact, disapproving something is seen as intolerant. People who do not approve the view of the majority are de facto not tolerated and accused of intolerance themselves. However, tolerance is not about your personal views, it is about accepting that the other has different or even opposing views.

We believe that only real tolerance creates a Europe that we all can relate to, a Europe in which we agree to disagree on whatever subject.

ECPM wants a European Union that we can relate to, a European Union that respects cultural, historical and religious differences and promotes a genuinely open debate and the freedom to disagree for all.

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