NPR article questions where free speech crosses the line to criminal, in wake of recent killings at the Holocaust Museum, Army Recruiting Center, and in Church, of Abortion doctor. “And it raises another one the nation has long wrestled with: Would enforced silence of the most abhorrent speech prove a more dangerous enemy of the good?”
Categories: anti-racism, Prejudice, Racism2 Comments
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I fall on the civil liberties side of things in this matter. The US has the most liberal speech laws in the world – not that speech isn’t restricted (most commonly seen in place/manner/time restrictions) – and I think this is a good thing, both because of the value of such freedoms, and the possible misuse of laws that would curtail non-specific hate speech (speech not encouraging killing specific individuals or inciting a crowd to riot) based solely on content.
I also think it’s important to point out that it’s unlikely that “enforced silence” would actually be possible. If there’s one lesson we can draw from the Iran election mess, it’s that a country no longer has the ability to silence people who want to speak out & broadcast their message.
Interestly, this conversation about hate-related free speech happened in Chicago more than 20 years ago when the Nazi party staged a rally in Skokie, IL. The rally did take place, but it started a dialogue and movement from citizens and State Reps that ultimately culminated in the opening of the new Holocaust Museum here last month.