Should Free Speech Trump Hate Laws?

Although anyone who reads my blog for about three seconds would probably be able to do a pretty good job of pigeonholing me and my politics fairly quickly, there are a few positions where I’m probably not your typical lefty (whatever that is!)

For example, many on the left are seen as proponents of political correctness and “sensitive” language.  (My all-time favourite example was when a writer called my office and asked for my boss.  “I’m manning the office today” I answered.  “Well, maybe you’re womaning the office?” the writer replied.  (Actually, I’m sure she would’ve wanted it spelled out “womyning”! 😉 to which all I could reply is “Uhm, no, pretty sure I’m manning the office.”)

Anyhow, I’m generalizing pretty heavily in this post (never a good thing) but I do tend to dislike politically correct language as much as I dislike the offensive, hateful language that PC proponents are trying to eliminate.  In my view (echoed by a recent column by Margaret Wente at the G&M), there should be tolerance for all types of language and people should be treated as adults and trusted to make up their own minds as to what to listen to and believe.

It reminds me of how many people were worked up in a lather because Sun-TV (aka Fox News North) was going to be licensed for carriage in Canada.  “Hate speech!”  “Legalized stupidity!” and so on.  Personally, I was all for that channel being allowed into Canada (and from what I’ve seen of it so far, it’s low-budget production values indict the message as much as anything being said on air!)

I don’t know – maybe a post I can expand on during Freedom to Read week in February but I’ve been sitting on that column for awhile and wanted to link to it as it captured much of how I see the debate as well.

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