I can’t remember who said it but when speech is no longer free, the killing begins.
Andrew Lawton is an author and broadcaster with a great Substack and a great book called The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks that Shook the World.
He has some superb takes on freedom of expression including “hate speech” (whatever that means) and where, if any, the limits are (or should or shouldn’t be).
My personal views are split on this and admittedly – as I type this – I don’t have a clear position yet.
But I do think that speech should not be policed by the state because the state invariably leans towards tyranny as time passes. And as Etienne de la Boetie told me recently, the state is an illegitimate authority.
Andrew isn’t an anarchist and, as such, differs on Etienne’s stance, but certainly finds himself erring more on the side of absolute freedom of speech.
I do too.
After all, how weak must one be if one wants to be protected from words. And as comedian Steve Hughes once quipped,
Andrew made some really good points and I particularly enjoyed the thought experiment in which he wondered what would happen if all laws relating to speech were removed completely.
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