"Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. In such a country as this they are of all bad things the worst, worse by far than anywhere else; and they derive a particular malignity even from the wisdom and soundness of the rest of our institutions."—Edmund Burke Bristol, 1780 (III. 24)
The Need For Freedom Of Expression
Anxieties and suspicions inevitably occur in communities and these give rise to accumulating resentment until they are expressed by word or deed. Announcing sentiments that mount a verbal attack upon the source of such concerns releases the tension for both the speaker and a sympathetic audience. This may upset some but it is much better that feminists are lampooned rather than lynched or that Jews be the subject of jokes rather than pogroms.
Consequence Of Unnecessary Censorship
The inevitable result of unnecessary censorship is a build up of silent resentment. The quickest way to force someone who talks into someone who acts, is to compel silence upon a subject that worries them; then, like steam in a pressure cooker, it is merely a matter of time before their suppressed anxieties erupt into action. The inevitable consequence of legislation that forbids any spoken, or written, expression of hatred, must be violence. By forbidding the expression of racial hatred the law is promoting racial violence. So the first persons who should be prosecuted under such laws are the people who enacted the laws, as they are committing the very crime the laws proscribe, inciting racial violence. Which means the laws are absurd.
The welter of laws enacted throughout the Western word in response to the public clamour to suppress unpopular sentiments include:
And are a denial of the right to criticise. (See also Paul Fromm's letter)
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