Some folks in Canada are concerned about what Ann Coulter will say during her current speaking tour.
A University of Ottawa administrator has some friendly advice for Ann Coulter, who has a speaking engagement there this week: Review Canada’s hate speech and defamation laws. “Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges,” he reminded her, asking her to “weigh your words with respect and civility in mind.”
Nonsense! Well, not really nonsense, Canada does have laws regulating what one can and cannot say about an “identifiable” group. Such laws are always problematic. I don’t think “hate speech” against groups should ever be outlawed. Engage in rigorous debate rather than legal action. Let’s not let the threat of violence, implied or direct, limit our freedom to engage in vigorous debate. Nor should we let government be the source of coercion protecting us or others from hearing or seeing things we might rather not hear of see. Let’s not worry that someone’s feelings will be hurt if ideas to which they subscribe are spoken ill of or made fun of. Rather, let’s let the open market place of ideas provide the filter for expression.
I personally prefer civility in discourse. I think it generally more productive than name calling or heaping abuse on some group but that is my personal opinion and style. It should not be the law of any land. There is great danger inherent in limiting what someone can say about a group and a group’s views. I worry about the growing acceptability of such laws. Let the crazy woman say whatever she wants to say. Then tell her and her listeners where and why she is wrong.