rich white censored books

I took part this week in a debate at London’s Queen Mary College on the motion ‘This House believes in the right to offend’. Speaking with me for the motion was Pater Tatchell. Oposing the motion was Brian Klug and Anshuman Mondal. (I debated Mondal on this issue online last year.) Here are my introductory comments. Oh, and we won the debate.

One of the ironies of debating free speech is that no one is actually against it. Anshuman Mondal believes in free speech. But… Brian Klug believes in free speech. But… Everyone believes in free speech. But…

You can say what you like. But don’t offend. Don’t provoke. Don’t be irresponsible.

I want to get rid of the ‘but’. The freedom to offend is not merely an add-on to freedom of expression. It is at its core. Without the freedom to offend, freedom of speech becomes meaningless…

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