Confronting the idea that "freedom of speech" implies the right to humiliate minorities

Posted on 10-08-18 by Adrian May Number of votes: 0 | Number of comments: 0

No society has ever offered complete freedom of speech, nor should it.

That would imply, for instance, that it was permissable to throw bananas at black footballers or declare open season on cultural minorities as Boris Johnson did in writing this week.

It would mean that slander and incitement to violence were not crimes, so one could unjustly accuse one's neighbour of some despicable crime, rouse a rabble to torch his house, and walk away without blame.

Sometimes, modern society seems to have settled on the opposite extreme. We often see excessive policing of political correctness and suppression of humour.

However, it is a huge mistake to advocate one extreme in order to guard against the other extreme.

Boris Johnson has had ample platform over recent years to express his view that immigration should be reduced. That falls within his legitimate right to free speech.

His Telegraph article, however, did not attempt to be funny. It was rabble rousing and incitement to violence. The mechanical consequence of that article is that Muslim women will and should feel afraid to leave their houses. Those who do are much more likely to be verbally and physically attacked by the type of mob that follows the likes of Tommy Robinson and his new immitator.

They have received a message from the highest level of the British administration that that group may be humiliated. Since cowardice and utter lack of any moral compass are the defining characteristics of the modern Conservative Party, we may assume that he will not be punished, and in this way the message will be driven home.

Boris Johnson aims to lead a country in which the worst are encouraged to victimise the weakest while trhe richest cash in. Muslims are unlikley to be the last group to fall under the extreme right's gunsights. Totalitarianism is a slippery slide: the leaders make so many enemies along the way that they must consolidate their impunity for the sake of their own security.

This danger cannot be ignored. The young believe that their generation is the wisest that ever lived. The old know that history repeats itself.

What are we doing to defend our liberty, and what are we going to do today to stop this would-be leader to hell?

Referring to: Justice and Home Affairs

The Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission examines Labour thinking on issues such as policing, the justice system, immigration and asylum, and political and constitutional reform.

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