Free Speech Can Beat Bad Ideas (And Criminalization Can’t)
Dutch journalist and free-speech advocate Flemming Rose says he’s never seen anyone change their bad ideas because they were criminalized. Watch the full interview
- Anonymity and doxing in the 1787 ratification debates (blog post): Professor Michael Faber explains the important role anonymous speech played in the debate over the Constitution.
- University athletes punished for bad thoughts (blog post): Professor John Hasnas explains why we shouldn’t punish people for “thinking wrong”, but just for “doing wrong”.
- Civil servants should not lose their jobs for committing thought crimes. (blog post): Professor Mark Hall explains why he believes a judge in Oregon should not have been punished for refusing officiate same-sex marriages
As long as they do not incite violence, I think they should have a right to say whatever they want. In fact, I believe this not only as a matter of principle but also as a matter of practical reality. You and I fight these people and their ideas in the best way, not through bans and criminalization, but through an open and free debate where we challenge them in the public space. I have never seen people change their beliefs just because they were criminalized.
Right, just because of a ban or a [inaudible 00:00:45].
It drives them into the underground and it makes them sexy in a way when they are not allowed to air all their bullshit in public. I believe it’s the most effective way to fight them. I believe that you should never criminalize words just because of their content, only because of what they called for, that is incitement to act in violence. Apart from that, I’m in favor of a very narrowly defined libel law, and I’m also in favor of the protection of the right to privacy. I believe that privacy and free speech in some instances are two sides of the same coin, because if you know that the government is surveilling you at home you will speak less freely. That is an invasion of your privacy.