Free Speech – Where to draw the line?

This is a summary of the argument put forth in episode 113

At some point, free speech should be restrained, I have previously drawn the line at “inciting violence”


Because violence causes real physical injury measurable by objective evidence


Offence, ridicule etc are subjective feelings which people may or may not suffer depending on how easily offended they are (and some people are very easily offended)

In my view, hurt feelings cannot outweigh the common good of freely exchanging ideas but real injury can.

Re Anti-vaxxers

Their ideas are objectively false, which we should normally allow anyway except that anti-vaxxer ideas lead to real damage and injury and even death.

That puts anti-vaxxers in the category of “inciting violence” because they both result in real physical injury.

Think of it another way. Fire in the crowded theatre. The problem is falsely shouting “fire”. That is what anti-vaxxers do. Falsely shout fire in a world crowded with conflicting “truths” where people don’t know what is true and are unable to determine if there really is “a fire”

Another analogy is toasters. We don’t allow a faulty toaster to be imported. Why? Because there is a good chance it might kill someone. We restrict trade in faulty toasters because of the common good. We should restrict trade in faulty snake oil salesmen where real injury is reasonably foreseeable.


One comment on “Free Speech – Where to draw the line?
  1. Bobbi says:

    I agree with everything you’ve said except the part about not importing faulty toasters. Much to my annoyance, many a faulty toaster has been imported. Sure, not knowingly but, still they get through Customs and Boarder Patrol.

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