US: What we risk when we ban racist speech

America used to be a place where we said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” We live by a credo that “freedom isn’t free,” and that our Constitution is worth dying for. How inspirational it is to believe that this is the wind of thought that blows underneath the Eagle’s wings.

Unfortunately, whenever that wind becomes just a little too gusty for comfort, we find out just how little relationship our poetic credo has to our collective guts.

The latest example: Nine seconds of video of a number of boys singing an offensive song. Immediately, the University of Oklahoma expelled two of the boys for their speech. Forget whether you like the speech or not. That is not relevant. These boys got kicked out of a public school for singing a song, on their own time, in a privately rented bus, simply because the government didn’t like the content of their song.

Censors overstepping their bounds is no surprise. What surprises me is how readily the public supported the expulsions, and how many supposedly intelligent people were willing to turn the First Amendment on its head, because of nine seconds of video.

I don’t like the song or its message either. I can’t imagine anyone reasonable who would. But I want to live in a country where the government does not listen to my songs and then decide whether or not I should be punished, based on what words I used. That is not freedom…

Will the USA remain the exception in matters of free speech? Increasing, our delightfully “vibrant” and ”diverse” new citizens are requiring ever more draconian efforts by Western governments to maintain some semblance of order.

Only the USA has free speech as part of its constitution. In the UK, which has become increasing censorious, those boys would already have been in court and charged.

The situation in Canada is murky: how far will the government go?