Offending without inciting hatred


It’s good to see that our illustrious new government is finally getting its teeth into something it believes in (besides bringing back knighthoods because Sir Abbott).

Actually, having a strong liberterian streak in myself (and not so secretly believing “sticks and stones etc”)  I have to confess that I’m a little keen on the free speech amendments. But, along with everyone else, I’m a little confused as to where the line is going to be drawn between offending and inciting hatred and what the “public discussion” exemption actually means.

For example (and these are pure examples only), let’s say there is an ethnic/cultural minority of Boltians who happen to have a genetic defect resulting in albino-ism (and a certain degree of mental retardation).

The following statement (A) should be illegal based on the inciting hatred clause:  “All Boltians due to their inherently flawed genes are white-arsed loud-mouthed idiots, a scourge to our political and intellectual life. Their property should be confiscated and their persons rounded up and deported to an offshore processing facility where they should be promptly executed in specially designed gas ovens! What’s more I hear there are a bunch of them at the pub down the road so let’s go there right now and physically assault them!!”

However, given the new free speech amendments, I assume that the following statement (B) would be considered a rational plea for improved government policy (if a little on the line and vague around the actual nature of processing): “”All Boltians due to their inherently flawed genes are white-arsed loud-mouthed idiots, a scourge to our political and intellectual life. Their property should be confiscated and their persons be rounded up and deported to an offshore processing facility.”

This statement (C) however would be perfectly fair (and likely proven to be reasonable from a scientific perspective): “”All Boltians due to their inherently flawed genes are white-arsed loud-mouthed idiots.”

But would statement A be ok if it’s part of public discussion for example, published on this blog – it’s public and open for comments and I am interested in rational non-personally abusive, enlightened debate. Ok, so maybe statement A is a little too direct, so what about an amended version of A: “”All Boltians due to their inherently flawed genes are white-arsed loud-mouthed idiots, a scourge to our political and intellectual life.  Their property should be confiscated and their persons rounded up and deported to an offshore processing facility where they should be promptly executed in specially designed gas ovens!”

Surely any reasonable person will see that such statements can only contribute to the cut-and-thrust of public debate – especially when “Boltians” are replaced with “the 1%”. Anyhow, very interested in where the government is going to define the edges of “free-speech”.

 

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