Where to draw the line on true free speech

Offensiveness or wrong-headedness hurt no one. The claim that they do is designed to shut down legitimate debate.

The proper antidote to speech that offends is other speech. Opinion anchored in reason can be countered by other opinion. Lies can be exposed by factual evidence. Truth emerges from debate and disagreement.

The only sort of speech that deserves to be banned, on campus or elsewhere, is that which peddles true prejudice. This means speech that attacks people on the basis of an irrational hatred which by definition is immune to reasoned argument. Defending colonialism is an opinion. Saying black people are inferior is bigotry.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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