The right to free speech means nothing without the right to offend

…. Violence is how the mob silences the minority, the terrorist its target. As the historian Timothy Garton Ash pointed out in our discussions last Friday, the so-called “heckler’s veto” – the threat of disorder being used to silence speech – has in the case of Charlie Hebdo, and now Copenhagen, been replaced by an attempted “assassin’s veto” – using the threat of murder to silence any of those with whom we disagree. And we cannot let that happen.

Because if the reaction to the latest attack is that there are no more debates about free expression, no more speech that one or other person finds offensive, then the result will not be less offensive speech, it will be no speech at all.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 154 votes] It shows how bad things have got that we apparently need groveling apologistic articles in defence of free speech, FFS. I thought this thing was settled a couple of hundred years ago. Maybe the enlightenment was a passing fad like Myspace. [Guardian Cif] Read more

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