The dangers of freedom from speech


The current generation at schools and universities are being raised, “not to believe that they have freedom of speech, but rather that they have freedom from speech. Namely, speech they dislike,” says Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Freedom from speech has become a hot topic in the media, as criticism of ideas, ideology, religion (particularly Islam) is commonly suppressed and branded as ‘hate speech’.

Freedom from speech is a threat to democracy and pluralism, and is an invitation for various forms of tyranny to arise. While freedom from speech is being asserted on the basis of “safety”, that is, the right to always feel comfortable, the truth is that it will only ultimately erode freedom and any safety we presently enjoy.

Freedom from speech is not only intellectually, emotionally and morally lazy, it is potentially dangerous. Freedom from speech, while purporting to protect the feelings of the vulnerable and the marginalised, is likely going to make it harder to expose and criticise ideas that are dangerous and a threat to public or individual welfare, most especially those who are most vulnerable and voiceless in society.

It’s the XYZ.

Photo by Mike Licht,