Home Civil Liberty We Do Have An Interesting Definition Of Free Speech These Days, Don't...

We Do Have An Interesting Definition Of Free Speech These Days, Don’t We?



One of the penalties of writing stuff is that one’s email makes it into PR address books. Which results in missives from the likes of Open Democracy:

Dear friend of openDemocracy,

The British government thinks free speech is under attack in universities. This week it has published proposals aimed at tackling this supposed crisis.

There’s just one problem: part of its evidence comes from an American anti-LGBT ‘hate group’.

We have revealed that the proposals cite Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, the global wing of a US Christian Right group that opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage equality, and had close links to the Trump administration.

Human rights campaigners and anti-extremism groups said it was “shocking” that the government has given credibility to an organisation with “extremist and intolerant views” and raised questions over its diligence.

Apparently free speech doesn’t extend to those who oppose abortion. Or same sex marriage rights.

Rather missing the point that the free speech idea is that people do get to say things you don’t like.

But you know, logic and internet activism, they never had been best buddies now, have they?



  1. The Left’s use of extreme language is absurd. “Hate speech” is someone saying something they hate. A “hate group”, ditto. It’s all the worse since they can’t just disagree with the other side’s point of view, they have to hate.

  2. ‘Licence they mean when they cry “liberty” ‘
    Twas ever thus with the would-be dictators calling themselves “liberals”
    A pendantic point “openDemocracy” isn’t (in this email) even pretending to be in favour of free speech – it is pretending to be democratic when it is actually trying to impose, without any vote, its ideology by silencing anyone who disagrees – straight out of “1984”


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