I took Andrew Bolt to court – because free speech should never mean the right to savagely hurt others
There is free speech, and then there is the responsibility we all share as decent human beings not to savagely hurt others or incite hatred within the community
Err, yes, free speech does indeed mean that you can use the words cunt, nigger, abo, slag, shite, even, if we are to be outrageously offensive, Australian, as mere insults or even as fully meant descriptions of another. Whatever they happen to think about it too.
It’s also true that good manners, social mores, the respect of your peers and many other things place limits on which might be used in what circumstances. But free speech really does mean that there should be no laws to prevent you from using those words.
We might, perhaps, make one restriction, where their use would be so inflammatory as to be likely to incite violence or cause a breach of the peace. But it is incite violence, not hatred, a breach of the peace not savagely hurt others.
Another way of putting this would be that being a “decent human being” is a matter of manners, being a peaceful one is a matter for the law.
And I do think Ms. Cole might have been helped a little by the subeditors at The Guardian:
And yes, on the flipside, other people will have their right to be viscously bigoted removed,
Viscously, thickly, bigoted is rather good there but I’m sure that’s not what she meant.