The right to be wildly unpopular

US civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer answers your questions on Obama, the Tea Party, Leveson and loads more.

Wendy Kaminer

Topics Politics

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Why do you think it’s still important to campaign for civil rights today?

Negative liberty facilitated efforts to achieve legal equality: civil rights movements are contingent on the rights to organise, speak our minds, express and disseminate wildly unpopular ideas, and lobby for change, obviously. And those same rights – the gifts of negative liberty – should stand as insurmountable bars to current crusades against bullying, hate speech and various forms of ‘verbal harassment ‘ (all broadly and vaguely defined). Put very simply, we have fundamental rights to insult, demean, mock, and heartily dislike each other, for any reason; and along with the right to give offence, we have an obligation to take it…

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Topics Politics


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