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Comment 4th July 2010

We should repeal laws on hate speech

We should retain laws on incitement to violence – these serve a useful purpose in preventing people from encouraging immediate violent acts.

But the views of peple who write articles or say things that are offensive are not immediately harmful. They do of course cause long term harm. But you do not deal with that harm by suppressing it.

You can only deal with "hate speech" by "love speech" – you have to build a better world.

Repression just pretends to solve the problem and enables us to avoid having to deal with hte real problems of people not tolerating each other

Why does this matter?

It stops the law gettng into disrepute by having to tackle people insulting each other – the Councillor who called another a "coconut" say. And it stops the law getting into a self-contradictory tangle as in the well-known example about the sometimes vehement Islamic injunctions against homosexuality. Are these protected by laws against criticising religions, or do they fall foul of laws against criticising homosexuality?

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