Thursday, December 4, 2008

What is good authority?

Defending the Right to Deny the Holocaust
by Sean Gabb


My own view - and I speak on this matter not only for me but also for the Libertarian Alliance - is that there should be no restrictions on freedom of speech where public affairs are concerned. This involves, among much else, the right to say anything at all about politics, religion, sex, science or history. It is no business of the State to tell people what they can and cannot think. Our bodies are our own. Our minds are our own. What we do with them is our business. It is one of the highest glories of the Enlightenment that states were shamed out of dragooning people into the various established worships of Europe. It is one of the most ominous signs of the modern counter-Enlightenment that people can again be persecuted for their opinions.

Of course, there are people who claim to believe in freedom of speech, but who say that the promotion of “hatred” is a distinct matter. They say that “hate speech” is direct or indirect incitement to acts of violence against others, and so should be put down by law. This is not, on their reasoning, censorship. It is simply a matter of keeping the peace.

We in the Libertarian Alliance reject this supposed distinction. What some call the promotion of hatred others call telling the truth. Quite often, whatever opinion the rich and powerful do not like they will find some means of calling “hatred”. In any event, we believe in the right to promote hatred by any means that do not fall within the Common Law definition of assault..

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