In a free society, people should be at liberty to hold intolerant views if they wish. Our public order laws are meant to mark the boundary between free speech and a deliberate attempt to whip up violence;

Something that many seem to have missed the point of. Inside our heads we\’re allowed to think absolutely anything we like about pooftahs, darkies, Pakis, carpet munchers, foreigners and that odd bloke who lives down the end of the road. We are also allowed to say whatever it is that we like about these fool ideas that rattle around between our ears: yes, to the point of saying that we wish all the jungle bunnies would go home and that buggery is so repugnant that they should all be strung up.

Yes, this is repugnant language, deliberately so, to make an important point. We are also at liberty to shun those who express those views: get out of my shop/pub/house/life for saying those things, even for my suspecting that you think those things. But that is a social, a societal, reaction and one which is for us individually and collectively to make.

The law however is another matter: that only comes into play when there is incitement to violence. And the reason given for the incitement doesn\’t matter: \”Come on boys, let\’s kill the Kikes/Queers/Niggers/Tim Worstall\” are all equally illegal for it is the incitement to violence, not the group or individual being incited against which is the crime.

Or at least that is how it should be in a free society: for what seems to have been forgotten is that a free society has to be tolerant of intolerance.

Not of violence, not of the incitement of it or the encouragement nor fear of it. But of the strange and odd, even repugnant, ideas which float around in our thick skulls, yes, that is what \”free\” means.

5 thoughts on “Quite”

  1. Tim, agree with everything you have said. But how far does this go with individuals engaged in the public sector?

    I wouldn’t particularly like (say) the recruitment manager down at my local town hall expressing a negative prejudice against a particular group (or indeed a positive prejudice in favour of a group), even if not threatening violence, and even if expressing it privately.

    Am not saying he or she should go to jail for saying such thing, but I don’t think that person would be fit for the job and would not be sorry if he or she were sacked for it.

  2. @ Effing and Blinding, if the town hall recruitment manager’s beliefs led to particular groups being unfairly (dis)advantaged, then the proper disciplinary procedures should be followed – ultimately resulting in the termination of his employment, if he doesn’t buck up his ideas.

    In short he is free to think what he likes provided he harms no-one else.

  3. Effing and Blinding

    UK Liberty

    I agree that if he keeps his beliefs to himself and there is no ill effect, then there is no more to be done.

    However, if he makes his feelings known even privately that he, say, thinks all Kalathumpians are thick, then if I were a Kalathumpian, I would not like my chances of getting a job.

    We had a case like this in Australia a couple of years back. Law professor at a publicly funded university makes public (in a letter to a suburban Sydney newspaper, I recall) his feelings about the intelligence (or lack) of a particular ethnic group. He rightly copped flak (and I think retired early to save the sack) – if I had been a student in his class of that background, I would not have felt confident he would give me a fair chance.

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