Bans and boycotts seem to be all about censorship. But could there be something else involved? Could campus censorship actually be a form of communication?
We know what we mean when we say something. However, language is an ambiguous beast and meaning doesn’t always accompany words . It is my impression that many disagreements are rooted, at least partially, in different definitions and understanding of words and concepts.
Anyone who has been in a heated argument knows that people seldom change their minds. Indeed, politics sometimes seems to be reduced to appeals to our baser emotions of either nurturing or fearing. While emotions are essential motivators to start thinking about a topic, I will try to make the case that when evaluating proposition we should aim for cold rationality, the live-long-and-prosper kind. As a die-hard liberal I will propose classical liberalism as a framework for rational evaluation.
Whether or not hate speech should be included within the ambit of protection offered by the right to free expression is perhaps one of the most contentious issues within the free speech debate. What is often lacking from this debate, however, is a workable definition of what hate speech is. Indeed hate speech means many different things to different societies and attempts to criminalise it are vastly different as a result.
What is free speech and how is it related to other fundamental rights? The following post will have a brief look at some of the approaches to free speech and its restriction. It is not complete but intended as a starting point for discussion and will be refined over the coming months. A first observation …