Susan Benesch on dangerous speech

In this interview with Timothy Garton Ash, Susan Benesch, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, makes a distinction between hate speech and dangerous speech.

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Automated machine translations are provided by Google Translate. They should give you a rough idea of what the contributor has said, but cannot be relied on to give an accurate, nuanced translation. Please read them with this in mind.

  1. Government is in our faces all the time. Governments, no matter how well-meaning they profess to be, are the last people to be telling us what we may say and what we may not say. Their very motives are suspect. Their willingness to control and regulate us have no other purpose than to make life easier for themselves. The first and most fundamental principle of a free people is responsibility for one’s actions. Each person should strive to become impervious to threats and to expressions of hate or to dangerous speech. I will not react. I will treat such people with the disgust they deserve. On the other hand, there have long been adequate laws on the books, both civil and criminal, to take care of all such cases without legislating specifically against inflammatory or dangerous or threatening speech.

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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