There is an obvious point of difference between ethnicity and religion in respect of Little’s question. Ethnicity is an element of personal identity; it is something one is, rather than something one believes.Religions, on the other hand, like political doctrines, are ideologies. It would be especially dangerous to go down the road of protecting ideological beliefs from criticism on the grounds that those holding them might be offended.
Why should it be an offence to criticise Scientology or Catholicism?
The principle of free speech is the bedrock on which free societies are built. It ensures we can, without threat of legal sanction, discuss controversial things in order to sort out good ideas from bad. It is precisely the expression of controversial, and potentially offensive, ideas – not safe or mainstream ones – that the principle of free speech is required to protect.
Viewed in this light, hate speech legislation is simply a euphemistic term for handing to the state the power to determine what is and is not acceptable political discourse. That is just not a power the state ought to have in a democratic society.
Exactly. We already do have some restrictions on speech. But they are to do with inciting violence and hatred etc. Many on the left want laws that will criminalise people for having a different view on a political issues, such as whether or not to have Maori seats.