October 28, 2007

The elimination of freedom is a perfectly legitimate aim of a lefty

As Chris Dillow (who I found the story from) would say this this verifies one of my priors; the arts branch of academia is about being able to cleverly twisting concepts to mean their opposite.

In the piece Chris Bertram argues against Oliver Kamm's criticism of Labour's laws against 'hate' speech by claiming that by removing certain kinds of liberty you are actually increasing it. He doesn't exactly start well by trying to attack Kamm for saying something that is obviously and objectively true:
Kamm’s point is that hate speech—unlike, say, racist violence—doesn’t harm its victims, strictly speaking.
Oliver Kamm is completely correct in this, speech no matter derogatory harms nobody. Bertram then goes on to haft admit this point by claiming that the harm of free speech is that it can help create a climate in which people act in a way that does cause real harm. That the speech itself doesn't cause harm is never contested.

Bertram claims that there are two points which make it legitimate to ban 'hate' speech first:

where genocidal crimes have taken place, it is often against the background of such messages being prevalent.

Ergo, if you support free speech you are actually a Nazi: who banned free speech, burned books containing unauthorised speech, and hounded 'degenerate' artists out of the country.

He fails to mention that the largest case of mass murder in the last century did not come against a background of hate speech, it came against a background of speech exhorting Socialism (the Socialists having also who banned free speech, banned books containing unauthorised speech, and murdered those that spoke against them). Perhaps we should ban people from promoting Socialism then? Some certainly would want to ban the promotion of Socialism, with its proven genocidal tendencies, but of course Bertram would never think of that because he only wants to ban bad speech and for his prejudices Socialism is not necessarily bad. So why should his prejudices be held as a higher standard of morality than those who's speech he would seek to ban. In a a democracy of equal citizens it is important to see to it that the conditions are in place for people to participate as equals, which Bertram himself states. Before twisting the meaning of this by stating that some are more equal than others and so there are those that need special protections.

In a democracy we should have equality. Which would mean letting everybody speak their peace, rather than banning anybody that does not fit with the prejudices of the majority. Not twisting equality to mean putting some peoples (the fashionable minorities) interests above other peoples (the un-fashionable minorities) interests.

second, no-one has any legitimate interest in the protection of hate speech, as such.*

But everybody has an interest in the protection of free speech, because the next opinion that they seek to ban could be yours. If there are no protections on free speech the very first people that will get their right to try and persuade others of their case are those that need to the most. As Bertram says 'but most people will not listen to people like them' (emphasis in the original) without free speech most people will try and force the unpopular minorities shut up so that they don't have to listen to people like them. It is only by allowing debate and discussion that unpopular minorities can try to put their case. If they don't have one then that should put too by speaking against them, not by shutting down their right to speech at all.

Bertram then goes on to show how much he really values debate and free speech by ending with the following comment:

Self-denying ordinance: I anticipate a flurry of outraged comments by libertarians and similar to this post. Let me announce in advance that I’m too busy to respond.

there can be not legitimate counter arguments, Chris Bertram has spoken.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The leftie scum want to shut free speech up. Ordering the races ia natural and sane. The balcks are pure due to their own stupidity. Leftie scum try to pretend giving the money will cure them. It ios like NAZI germany where free speech was banned. Baning people from this sort of tlak is exaclty wehat Hitler would have done.

11:21 am  
Blogger chris said...

I would defend your right to free speech, but not what you say with it.

8:08 pm  

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