« Martin Jol and hiring problems | Main | The character of our times »

October 28, 2007



The outlawing of hate speech is just the outlawing of speech "I" hate, just censorship by the powerful.

Marcin Tustin

I think you've got this wrong, Chris. The origins of our Race Relations laws are in certain minority groups needing protection from discrimination, when they weren't politically powerful, except in the sense that as a large body of the population who were angry, something needed to be done.

In the same way, any group might be so angry it might riot and protest publicly (not the sedate marches the police shepherd now) but not be able to get spokesmen into the conventional news media.


The origins of our Race Relations laws is in politicians espying a potential client group.


Chris, I have to say that I think your argument would apply under any political system.

In any system, an effective ban can only be imposed by those with the power to impose an effective ban.

chris strange

I hope that it is just the result of blind faith in big government. Those people that need free speech the most will always be those that get it taken away form them first.

Interestly that Peter Tatchell has argued against this legislation on the simple grounds of equality. Everybody should be equal before the law with no special groups with special protections, and equality (which is what human rights campaigners like Mr Tatchell wanted for gays) protects minorities because it protects everybody.

If all are equal then just as nobody is singled out for protection nobody is singled out for persecution. If all are equal then any restrictions would apply equally to the majority as to any minority therefore making the majority less likely to call for them.

Peter Risdon

This is genuinely scary stuff. Leaving aside Bertram's bizarre argument that in order for society to be free it must be unfree, Turing wasn't the victim of hate speech so much as hate legislation. Tatchell in Bermondsey was the victim of innuendo, not hate speech. The argument here is detached from reality.

The people who really are unable to speak today, in practice, not as a theoretical possibility, are the BNP, David Irving, the Islamofascism Awareness week speakers in the USA, the SIOE people who were beaten with iron bars and stabbed last Sunday in Denmark, and so on. This is regardless of whether they would be breaking any laws with their words. Even if hate speech laws were extended yet they kept on the lawful side of them, they'd be shouted down and attacked by counter-demonstrators.

These are the people who "cannot get their voices heard in the public sphere", in reality. Bertram's argument is disingenuous, because he's certainly not suggesting that the BNP gets protection so its voice can be heard. His is instead a dishonestly presented argument that opinions he personally disagrees with should be suppressed. I disagree with most of them too, but they should be able to speak.

Matt Munro

"Hate speech" is thought crime, it's bollocks, conceptually and practically.

john b

Are you seriously suggesting the Muslim-hating loonies *don't get enough of a platform*? Have you ever, like, read a newspaper...?

Sweating through Fog

I made a similar point in my blog entry on hate speech laws. The effort to protect the marginalized either a) requires the benevolence of a more powerful group (enlightened liberals),or b) is a smokescreen for a group to build an unnecessary defensive wall around itself.


The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad