Ballmer: U.S. is "most extreme" about free speech

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called U.S. "most extreme" about free speech.

Here's the quote of the day, courtesy of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking to oil executives in Houston yesterday. From a report:

Ballmer suggested that Google's decision to no longer filter out Internet searches objectionable to the Chinese government was an irrational business decision. After all, Ballmer said, the U.S. imports oil from Saudi Arabia despite the censorship that goes on in that country.

"The U.S. is the most extreme when it comes to free speech," said Ballmer, noting however that even the U.S. bans child pornography, while France bans Internet access to Nazi imagery.

Really? Is Ballmer really comparing the censorship of the Internet in China to the U.S. position on child pornography? That's so ridiculously ludicrous to me that I certainly hope that Forbes took that part of Ballmer's answer out of context.

And what's all this jazz about the U.S. being the "most extreme when it comes to free speech?" How can you be extreme about something like free speech? Either it's free or it's not. There's nothing extreme about that. Is there a way for free speech to be 95 percent free and 5 percent censored? If so, then it's not really free speech.

The beauty of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution is that it allows each and every one of us to speak our minds in front of anyone who'll listen, the freedom to speak blasphemy, jibberish, crazy talk or just plain silliness - no matter who you are.

Even Steve Ballmer.


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