Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance
Julia Serano
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I love this ! I’ve been thinking about this a lot as it relates to the Yiannopoulos incident at UC Berkeley. Are you familiar with the UN definition of free speech within the UN International Convenant for Civil and Political Rights (that the US has signed and is considered international customary law superceding the constitution)? It folds in the limitations you speak of (i.e. the limit of free speech is when it infringes upon other human rights such as inciting violence, hatred, or any kind of discrimination). Since many consider it customary law, it is directly applicable in the US. I believe that people like Milo have broken this lawful limitation (yet benefit from existing ones like libel and defamation which he tried to invoke against various news sources for calling him a racist). The problem is that our system in the US tries its best to ignore these limits because we have a problem with being ‘told what to do’ (even though the US wrote most of the damn treaty). This would have been absolutely essential, for example, in the Rwandan genocide where radio voices were directly responsible for inciting violence, perpetuating hatred, etc. These were the people that were put on trial in the international tribunals and brought to justice (more or less). The US could learn a lot from the world in this regard (most European countries take this definition). Of course, it’s morbid to think of genocide and no one wants to truly consider that option, however, when people are suddenly trying to make ‘peaceful ethnic cleansing’ a common concept, it is essential to remember why there are limits in the first place.

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