I was watching this Jordan Peterson presentation this morning (See video below) and was struck with a small epiphany.
Having listened to him I’d say it’s not so much ‘free’ speech we need as honest speech. The right to honestly challenge all ideas, good and bad. Firstly to challenge the bad and by doing so (and I would say more importantly) improve the good.
Canada’s, indeed the whole Anglosphere’s, new ‘hate speech’ and blasphemy laws are antithetical to honest discourse, which is why these laws must go. And no, you can’t punch someone simply because you disagree with them either, because that is common assault and should bear the penalty of the law. Nor should anyone suffer penalty, be ‘de-platformed’ or have their livelihood threatened for simply speaking their mind. Even, and especially so, if their ideas are wrong or harmful. Like the obvious misandry of 3rd wave feminism. Or even the “Shut up or we’ll kill you” tactics of the Wahabi sect of Islam, or radical Communists and Socialists of whatever kidney. Or the crazy armed isolationism of extreme right wingers. Or National Socialism. History is full of some truly epoch making bad ideas like these.
Honest speech also allows any individual to examine and dismiss sources of ‘fake news’ for the charlatans they are. To tell anyone they aren’t allowed to and force your will upon them brutally strips people of their individuality, which I always thought was the best and greatest thing about humanity.
Update: Here’s a perspective from the working man’s side of things which tends to fit with my own thinking (Okay, it’s a US source but none the less on the money). And he’s right. Free, or better still honest speech, is dangerous.
But honest speaking is often very, very necessary. Which is why it should not suffer Government constraint, no matter how ‘hurtful’ it is.