Freedom of speech can go too far

I was just reading Peter Wolchak’s editorial published in the April 6, 2001 issue of Computer World Canada (“Meet Heather Lawver, Internet hero”). I noticed a side point to the discussion about Heather Lawver. Wolchak wrote: “Few argue that freedom of speech should be completely unfettered. For example, sites which promote hatred are undesirable.”

I knew it would get to that some day, I could see it coming.

Alright, so now it’s time to shut down those sites that promote the view that Microsoft is the Evil Empire, and restrain those people who hate the benevolence of the corporate state. And what about those people who upset us by promoting intolerance of our neighbourhood dope dealer – after all he’s just a guy earning a living for his family, and trying to put his kids through law school. Not to speak of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). All this hate just gets our blood pressures up, and endangers our cardiac health.

I’m glad to hear that there is now total consensus on the idea of shutting down hate sites. Or at least sufficient consensus that it becomes the best example of what kind of free speech cannot be allowed.

There used to be almost a majority of idiots who believed that allowing free expression, even for racist hate sites, would act as a social vaccine, allowing people to better understand the depth of twisted minds, and inspiring them to engage and continually refresh their skills arguing for compassion, tolerance and cross-racial values. Now that there are a few laws against hate sites, it’s amazing how people’s objections to such laws have evaporated in the wind of governmental action. Obviously they never believe their own stupid objections in the first place.

What used to be controversial, is now the best example of why free speech should be restrained. Bravo!

Austin Hook, Calgary

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