The right to be wildly unpopular
US civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer answers your questions on Obama, the Tea Party, Leveson and loads more.
Why do you think it’s still important to campaign for civil rights today?
Negative liberty facilitated efforts to achieve legal equality: civil rights movements are contingent on the rights to organise, speak our minds, express and disseminate wildly unpopular ideas, and lobby for change, obviously. And those same rights – the gifts of negative liberty – should stand as insurmountable bars to current crusades against bullying, hate speech and various forms of ‘verbal harassment ‘ (all broadly and vaguely defined). Put very simply, we have fundamental rights to insult, demean, mock, and heartily dislike each other, for any reason; and along with the right to give offence, we have an obligation to take it…
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