Oregon Commentator: “Hate Speech” Versus Free Speech

This article, published in the New York Times, muses upon the idea of whether or not the Canadian model, which effectively prohibits “hate speech” is perhaps, in some ways preferable to the American one, in which “newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence.” It cites legal scholars who are quick to put “respect” and avoiding “distress” before freedom, the argument being that some speech is simply “too dangerous” to allow.

Such a position is, I fear, even more dangerous to the values of a democratic society than any “hate speech” ever could be. In a perversion of Voltaire, “hate speech” laws seem to say “I disapprove of what you have to say, so I shall revoke your right to say it.” Opening the door for ever greater government control over what we can and cannot say in order to protect the “right” to not be offended is to test the law of unintended consequences.

The rest.

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