On Free Speech And Hate Speech

The Bill Whatcott hate speech case seems to be sparking a lot of debate in the media, even though the thing should be a no brainer.

Do I like that this douchehamper went around distributing flyers that said bad things about gay people and objected to schools teaching same sex issues to students? No. In fact I doubt I’d lose a whole lot of sleep if something bad happened to him…by accident, of course. But at the same time, as long as he’s not violent, he should be allowed to say what he wants. I don’t have to like what he says, but he’s got as much right to say it as I have to hold the opinion that saying it makes him a malignant prick.

As somebody who writes and says things on a fairly regular basis that somebody else may not like, the idea that a person could accuse me of violating his human rights and probably win is actually pretty frightening. Free speech cuts both ways. It’s one of the best and worst concepts we as people have ever come up with. I don’t have to like what you say, but because I might want to say something in return I have no choice but to respect and defend your right to say it.

There’s a place in society for human rights codes and hate laws, but it needs to be balanced and not abused like it can be now. Going after journalists, comedians and nut jobs with controversial opinions doesn’t make the world any better. You can’t change attitudes with fines. If anything you’ll only wind up fostering an even greater sense of resentment. And wouldn’t you rather have horrible people like this out in the open where you can see them? I know I would. Seeing a person’s true self allows me to form a more accurate opinion and gives me a chance to teach others why what he’s saying isn’t what sane and rational people believe.

So even though he sounds like a bit of a koont, I wish Bill Whatcott luck. I don’t have to agree with him to agree with him, if you know what I mean.

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