Saturday, June 16, 2012

Free speech and hate speech: Be careful what you wish for.

People in the politically correct left, in America and in other countries, often say that America goes overboard in protecting freedom of speech and that freedom of speech should sometimes bow to the need not to give offense. The real-world effect of implementing such a viewpoint can be seen here:
Angry Catholics have accused an Indian skeptic of blasphemy after he argued a dripping crucifix was caused by faulty plumbing rather than divine intervention, leaving him facing a possible prison term.

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The legislation bans "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs" -- a rule Edamaruku believes runs counter to freedom of expression.
The argument that concerns over hate speech should outweigh the First Amendment is weak enough; the argument that they should do so only when we want them to is just nonexistent. People who want do-good control-freakery to trump the First Amendment should remember the iron law, "Me today, you tomorrow."

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