...the right of free speech, important as it is, is not an absolute right. In this, we are aligned with the majority decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada v. Taylor, where the Court observed that “hate propaganda contributes little to the aspirations of Canadians or Canada, the quest for truth, the promotion of individual self-development or the protection and fostering of a vibrant democracy.”And censorship is the way to do that? I highly doubt it. And so does George Jonas. In his column today, Jonas pours cold water on the "absolute" argument:
The minute anyone talks or writes about free speech, some twit is sure to pop up and say that there's no absolute freedom of speech. They usually can't resist adding that no one is free to shout "Fire!" in a crowded movie theatre.Happy to demonstrate how that works, George. Here goes:
They're quite right. The only thing wrong with those who keep insisting there are no absolutes is they do it to restrict some particulars that irk them.
Everyone knows free speech isn't "absolute." If it were, it would be legal to defame people, counsel murder, or impersonate a police officer. No one disputes that being free to use hand gestures doesn't entitle anyone to signal a truck to back over a toddler. Our freedom to gesticulate isn't "absolute." It's enough, though, to give censors the finger...