The full paragraph from Dr Phil Yerboot's Consulting Room is this: "Just as the right to free speech requires us to sometimes say offensive things (if we never cause offence then we are censoring ourselves and others), the liberty of the individual is characterised by the right to do something unwise. If I only act as my political, or medical, masters want then where is my existence? Existentialists such as Camus came to the conclusion that suicide was the ultimate defiant act, and what is smoking but a deliberate courting of the angels of death?"If we look at the supposed Camus statement, this does not show up on a search of writings by the philosopher, but this does not mean he did not say this. He is reported as saying: "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_camus_4.html#F9goiR7TXXqVFbt3.99And this: "Suicide as a resolution of the absurd would be... a denial of the very condition of man's existence", plus he is supposed to have held this view: "suicide is the rejection of freedom."It would be interesting if true Camus scholars came up with a fuller account of his views on suicide - what has come up so far does not match Dr Yerboots's statements.Moreover, where the latter says: "... the right to free speech requires us to sometimes say offensive things" I do think not, the right allows us to say offensive things but it is not a requirement to do so. We may cause offence, we may do something unwise - of course we may. Look at the political news at the moment. But there is no requirement to do this - in fact 'free speech' comes with a counterbalancing duty to be very careful and only say what can be supported with evidence and with due concern regarding the rights of those being spoken about. There are heavy penalties for failure to be cautious.
Dear anonymous,I think you are probably correct and that I misattributed Camus, perhaps because I was typing my piece while watching the football. It is some time since I read Camus. Free action and free speech do require that we say things and do things that others do not approve of, and may take offence. My piece was aimed at the social puritans who wish us to have bland safe healthy lives. In the words of Mark Renton in Trainspotting "choose life ?".