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  • Without free speech, people would be more hard-pressed to find out why this group is so bad and dangerous. I want to see more freedom of speech (in social contexts, not legal ones) for racist and other hate speech. I want us to be more accepting of the voicing of such views that we find disgusting. Darkness can't hide in the light.

    Sure, there's the very real danger that some people will be more likely to be accepting of those beliefs after being exposed by them. But I think it is more common that where
    • I want to see more freedom of speech (in social contexts, not legal ones) for racist and other hate speech.

      I absolutely agree with you on this (is this a first?)

      When I was involved in Students Union politics in the mid-80s the National Union of Students had a policy that their meetings would have "no platform for racism or sexism". I made myself pretty unpopular in some circles by disagreeing with this quite loudly.

      People need to hear what these people believe in. And other people (i.e. us) need to

      • We agreed about some of The Two Towers, also. And about Matt's scripts. ;)

        Yes, and it disturbs me when people try to "shut up" racists, online and elsewhere. I've seen a lot of people get sucked into groups whose beliefs they wouldn't have agreed with had they fully understood them to begin with.

        But that's only part of it. The other side is that we are becoming a world that is far more integrated, people living with and interacting with people who are very different from themselves, not just racially (which is SO passe) but philosophically (including religiously). When we try to quiet voices we don't like, we force our neighbors -- who might have horribly offensive beliefs, or maybe only marginally offensive beliefs, or maybe just slightly odd beliefs -- "underground," which gives us a dangerous facade of a melting pot where none exists, one that can erupt given enough time to simmer. And someday, if not dealt with in some manner, it likely will explode. Even if the beliefs are not about right and wrong, just *different*, this happens a lot, and it causes a lot of tension that only damages us as a society (or societies).

        It is far better to learn to live with the differences of our neighbors than to ignore them, and we can only learn to live with them by allowing them to be voiced.

        Maybe that means learning to live with a racist next door. Is that so horrible? Most people would probably say, Yes, it is. I say that if I truly believe that hating people because of their race is wrong, then I shouldn't hate this man for his beliefs, however misguided. I'd rather hate someone for being a pompous asshole whom I agree with on everything than hate someone who is mostly a nice guy who doesn't like black people, or white people, or Asian people. Maybe I can help him see his beliefs are misguided. Maybe he can help me see why he believes the way he does. Maybe we can avert future disaster by simply learning not to want to kill each other. I dunno. It just seems like no good can come from trying to shut people up, and on the contrary, there is serious risk in it that might possibly be ameliorated by opening things up.

        I'm babbling now, so I'll stop.