Free speech is a sticky subject. I’m not an absolutist in the mold of Mark Steyn or Ezra Levant or others – I think there is a balance to be struck between maximizing what can (and often should) be said and what crosses the line.
Where might I draw the line? Well, for example, some clowns brought a poster to a recent Toronto FC game against the Montreal Impact, depicting a blue-thong wearing female Montreal fan performing fellatio on a supposed red hoodie wearing Toronto fan with the headline “Montreal Sucks” in French. It’s vulgar, but could you defend it as free speech? Sure, some might and I would see the theoretical libertarian argument. But where I would draw the line is that, if I have to explain it to my children then it is wrong. You’ve now imposed a burden on me that I neither asked for nor should reasonably expect to be responsible for as participating adult member of society. No thanks. That poster should not be allowed because it’s a fairly straightforward depiction of a sexual act, there’s no subjective interpretation of it required. Only extremists would argue otherwise that it’s my obligation to explain to my young daughter what that sign means and not the clowns’ obligation to exercise some basic human decency.
But then there’s the story today about a Calgary student being told to take his “Make America Great Again” hat off because it represents “hate speech”. “Make America Great Again” is one of Donald Trump’s campaign slogans. In the video of the incident the young lady objecting to the hat (who is surprisingly attractive and not an obese ugly troll like so many SJW’s) cites her incorrect understanding of what Trump wants with regards to immigration and as such because it’s a Trump hat, regardless of what is actually written on the hat, it represents something hateful. In SJW parlance then she’s “triggered” by the sight of the hat and wants it removed because it offends her.
Now we’re into subjective interpretation as opposed to the Toronto FC sign. If we go down this route almost anything anyone says or writes may be construed by some person somewhere as “offensive”. It’s a never ending rabbit hole to fall into. But this is what the vast majority of SJW’s want; the carte blanche power to essentially bully anyone and everyone that they disagree with into shutting up because they’re being offensive, they’re triggering people, they’re infringing on “safe spaces”.
Here’s a prime example of the psychopathic bullying of an SJW in full flight. Watch the video and tell me that if you were not the Lyft driver you wouldn’t have not only kicked this bitch out of the car way sooner, but also backed the car up and tried to run her over to do the world a favour. Thankfully there’s been some justice since this became public and this abusive woman with obvious mental problems has been driven underground and off social media. The driver has a right to display the bobble head of a Hawaiian person because there’s no obligation imposed on the persons seeing it to interpret it any other way that how it’s presented. Had the presentation been of a Hawaiian person being cut in half by a white navy captain? OK… that would cross the line and you’d be within bounds to ask to have that removed from sight.
It’s nuanced, but not that difficult for ordinary people to exercise common sense. But we do need to actively tell the triggered little babies of the world to stuff it because free speech is a continuum; at one end is the vulgar, indecent, truly offensive that is hard to accept but at the other end is honest scientific inquiry – if you give the SJW’s an inch they will take a mile and soon they won’t just be shutting down offensive speech, they’ll be shutting down research and analysis that just happens to uncover truths they find uncomfortable.