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Free speech is important, even "hate" speech

23rd May 20186m34s

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  • I really wish we had free speech in this country I really wish people could express an intellectual opinion about difficult subjects, opinions that went against the grain, went against the social narrative and not feel that they would have to receive repercussions from the law because of expressing said opinion. The problem is of course is that by cracking down on intellectual opinions we just drive them underground so people are still gonna talk about these things, people are still going to think about these things, now they'll just do it in private out of the public eye. And what that means is they cannot debate their opponents on these issues. So if you can't debate your opponent on an issue that you feel strongly about then you can only really talk to people in private, people who agree with you, then there's never going to be any sort of meeting of minds on this issue. People are never going to resolve the conflicts between these two opposing points of view and therefore we can't move forward. So people on this side are just going to get angry and upset and point fingers at people on this side and vice versa. And when people express opinions like this, anti-Islamic opinions if you will, they're considered to be extremists and they're considered to be the same as far right nationalists, Nazis almost. And that's really the problem, is that if we paint people with such a broad brush stroke then we're just completely throwing nuance out of the window with that. So you can't make any criticism of, say Islam, without being painted as being a racist or a far right extremist. Y'know, and that means you can't talk about it and you don't want to talk about it and you see someone else getting cracked down by law enforcement on this, it makes you want to shut up and not speak your mind and it doesn't matter what the topic of conversation is, it could be Islam, it could be gay rights, whatever it is right, we have to be able to talk about issues we have to be able to debate issues. I mean, I agree that people should not be allowed to incite violence against other human beings but I disagree that people should not be allowed to express what many might consider to be hurtful, negative opinions. I mean, yeah I don't want people to say negative things about me or about my ethnicity, my background, but part of me in my mind, the way I feel is that I also have to be tough enough to be able to handle that situation when it happens. Because I can't always call the police when someone does this, you never know. You have to be tough, you have to understand that there are idiots out there who are going to say things like this sometimes. And yes, you can feel like a victim and you can go and complain about this, complain to the authorities, but often in that moment it's just you and you have to deal with it then and there. And I think if it was something more systematic like there's an institution which is institutionally racist, provably so, then yes that's where you've gotta get higher powers involved. But if it's just a person on the street, there's just someone I'm having a conversation with and they say something then actually I want to see if I can counter that person's points with better points, right? I want to see if I'm strong enough to handle the nonsense they're throwing my way. But I get that not everyone feels the way I feel about this and some people, they'd rather not deal with this, they'd rather that people weren't allowed to say nasty things in the first place. And those are the kind of people who will complain about things like this. And what I've found with the police in this country is that they seem to be taking a proactive approach to this, cracking down on this even without people complaining. There was a story of the man who was arrested and charged with a crime, a hate crime, for putting out anti-Islamic tweets. I don't think, as far as I'm aware, I don't think anyone complained about that so much. The police just arrested this guy. And again, I don't agree with his tweets but it's just tweets, he's not inciting violence. He didn't tell anyone to do anything. I mean there are many many examples like that, many examples and I think that we're going too far on that enforcement side of things. One thing I respect about the USA in this regard is that the Supreme Court in the United States ruled last year that there is no hate speech exception to the first amendment. So hate speech is explicitly allowed according to that ruling despite the fact that people will find, some people will find it uncomfortable if you say certain things about them or about their religion or about something that they identify with closely. But you have to allow those people to say it in the public space because of their first amendment rights. And as far as I'm aware, I don't think any other country is that permissive in terms of free speech as America is and even in America, you can't incite violence against groups of people, you can't do that, but at least you can express intellectual opinions that people may very strongly disagree with. So, one other example I can give that I believe should be allowed is Holocaust denial. Now I think that people who deny the Holocaust are just stupid, but I don't think it should be a crime, and it is a crime in certain countries to deny the Holocaust I don't think it should be a crime, right? If you deny the Holocaust you're a fool, but you're not a criminal in my eyes. You're just a fool. Because y'know, it's just, it's like people who think the earth is flat, right? It's not, it's round, so I think for me personally, y'know, and listen, look, I'm not Jewish and I don't have ancestors who were Jewish who were involved in that horrible thing, the Holocaust, so perhaps if I was Jewish I'd feel differently about this. But I think if I just try to reason this from an as objective point of view as I can from logical point of view, if someone's just expressing an opinion, yeah, it's very very distasteful to me, but they still have a right to express that opinion. And even if they're not speaking it, they're probably thinking it in their head, right? So y'know, we can't control what people think, we shouldn't control what they say unless it's directly gonna lead to violence. At least that's what I feel about it right now and maybe my views on this will evolve in the future as I think about these things more, but right now I really wish that we could have real free speech in this country and people could have honest intellectual debates about things that are uncomfortable.