Thursday, October 13, 2011

Since when is free speech free

Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail believes that there should be no sanctions on free speech and that we should stop trying to legislate or attempt to control it. Let everyone speak their mind!

What is missing in her article, is the notion that when you live in a society, freedom has to be tempered with responsibility. Of course you are free to think irresponsible and hurtful thoughts, but once you live in a society you must consider the effect of your speech on others.

It seems to me many people use the pretext of free speech to hurt other people and push their agenda. When is it 'hate?' When it singles out a group or a person unfairly and targets them. Hence comments like all gays are sinful, all Jews are greedy, all Moslems are terrorists can be seen as hate as they target unfairly a group of people.

If we try to target an individual in this way, our 'free speech' about them usually ends up in a defamation lawsuit and rightly so.

To target groups of individuals and say hurtful and hateful things against them claiming that it is free speech, is not only irresponsible, it is just plain wrong. Free speech is never free! Society has a responsibility to act as a watchdog for those who are vulnerable and targeted unfairly.

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