Be Very Careful What You Write
Writing is more dangerous than most people think. I’m not sure that the pen is really mightier than the sword, but a lot people are very afraid of what you pen. And they’ll move quickly to strike back at you, not with a sword, but with a lawsuit.
The defamation and slander laws are the powerful weapons used by those who don’t approve of your freedom of expression. And lawyers are their hired assassins.
That these repressive and regressive laws are still on the books is appalling. They are as archaic as that petty commandment from that insecure, Old Testament bully: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain..”
If you think these laws are really protecting the innocent, I recommend reviewing the alleged ‘victims’ of libel and the writers who have had been the real victims, sued for simply pointing out that the Emperor isn’t really wearing magical garments. Charlatans don’t appreciate being exposed, and the Emperor can afford an expensive team of lawyers to teach you a costly lesson.
The ‘Church’ of Scientology libel suits number in the thousands. Time magazine estimated that they spend an average of about $20 million per year on various legal actions and are the exclusive client of several law firms.
The high profile and respected science writers Dr. Ben Goldacre (M.D) and Dr. Simon Singh (Ph.D., Physics) are just two of the many writers who have suffered through expensive lawsuits simply for pointing out the dangerous lies of ‘alternative medicine’ charlatans who are costing people their lives.
The experience (or even threat) of being sued, unless one has secure financial support from another source, will silence many writers who just can’t afford to be financially ruined. Unfortunately one needs lawyers to defend oneself, and lawyers are too expensive for writers without other backing. A friend of mine was sued for writing an exposé of abuses at a senior citizen home, and then reluctantly, but prudently, gave up on investigative journalism.
If you object to what someone writes, the honourable response is a rebuttal: a duel with words, not at attack by lawyers with archaic laws as their weapons.