By Lindon Walz
On March 23, 2017 Canada passed the M-103 bill that is supposed to launch initiative that will crack down on “Islamophobia”. The bill was designed to stop “religious discrimination” and “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” both of which seem like noble causes. While I have my own opinions on most religions out there, that is not what I want to talk about, what I want to talk about is what the M-103 bill will actually do, and why it scares me.
Although the Canadian government doesn’t want to admit it, to stop “islamophobia” one most take away the most important right of all, the right to free speech. Now to get this out of the way, yes, hate speech is free speech. It was decided in Cohen v. California in 1971 that free speech included the right to “use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.” (Line taken from the uscourts.gov). Now Canada’s laws are different and “hate speech” is not allowed, but as much as I dislike the free speech laws in Canada I can’t do anything about it because I’m an American citizen, but I believe that these laws being passed in Canada could soon attempt to make their way into America.
In some ways, free speech is already dying here in America, with colleges banning certain words in the name of “tolerance”. Let’s not forget the infamous situation where college students burned public property to silence Milo Yiannopoulos. Campuses have become so involved with silencing free speech that according to people with right wing views, papers that in support of right wing views are marked down by professors. These are just the beginning because these same people that are doing this are the people who are going into our workforce, but more importantly, the people who will one day take part in voting or maybe holding office themselves.
The anti free speech movement doesn’t stop at the college campuses though. The group Antifa has consistently shut down opposing viewpoints, normally using violence to do so. It is the actual belief of many people that actions such as those are justified because the people who are being attacked have “hateful viewpoints” that deserve to be shut down. These beliefs, although argued to be best for America, these ideas are un-American and go against America’s values.
In short, free speech is under attack. The people who believe that hate speech is not free speech and who want to silence other people’s viewpoints could be the people who run are country now or in the future and it is the job of us, as American citizens to stand up to defend our right to express our ideas.