Hate Speech

Debating NYU's Jeremy Waldron on Free Speech vs. Hate Speech on College Campuses

Why America should never join the rest of the world in enacting hate speech bans

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On Tuesday, I debated Jeremy Waldron, a professor of law and philosophy at New York University, on "Hate Speech, Micro-Aggression and the First Amendment: Where to Draw the Line on College

Colgate Debate
Colgate University

Campuses?" The debate was organized by Colgate University's Center for Freedom and Western Civilization to celebrate Constitution Day.

The only thing that exceeds Waldron's stellar credentials is his personal charm. A New Zealander, he got his doctorate in law at England's Oxford University, has written over a dozen books, gazillions of journal articles, and taught at Berkley, Princeton and Columbia. His 2012 book, "The Harm of Hate Speech," expounds what has become by far the most discussed rationale in the last eight years for banning hate speech in America. In it, he makes the radical suggestion that America needs to get over its First Amendment hang ups and enact hate speech bans to protect the "basic dignity and humanity" of minorities. He is not concerned about hurting the subjective feelings of minorities, he says, as he is about the objective harm that an environment filled with hateful signs does to their ability to operate as equal citizens in society. He asks us to imagine how a Muslim man walking with his 10-year-old daughter in New Jersey would feel if he was confronted with a sign saying: "Muslims and 9/11! Don't serve them, don't speak to them, and don't let them in." What would the man say to his daughter?"

There is more to Waldron's argument than this short description implies and Stanley Fish, the former Duke University professor who is among the most celebrated thinkers of the post-modern left, has noted that although most arguments for hate speech bans are knee-jerk and thoughtless and impulsive, Waldron's arguments are different. "They hit the mark every time."

I obviously disagree. Vehemently.

Here is my response to Waldron:

The United States faces a lot of scorn and derision in elite international forums because it is the only country, apart from maybe Hungary, that refuses to enact hate speech bans. But on this Constitution Day, let me just say that it is a very good thing that America has a strong First Amendment tradition standing athwart history yelling stop to hate speech laws. And this is not because I don't care about minorities. I do. Profoundly. After all, I am a minority in nearly every respect. I'm an immigrant from India, a person of color, lapsed Hindu-turned-atheist and, rarest of all, a political libertarian. In my view, Donald Trump's characterization of Mexicans and his anti-minority hate mongering alone ought to disqualify him from the presidency. His comb-over is the other reason.

So why do I oppose official bans on hate speech? Mainly because countries with a long history of them have done no better a job than America of protecting precisely what Prof. Waldron wants — the "basic dignity and reputation" of minorities, and a far worse job than America of protecting overall free speech rights. Lets just do a brief survey of the record:

Anti-Semitism is undoubtedly much worse in continental Europe. The same is true for Islamophobia, despite its uptick in America in the Age of Trump. It took gays longer to win their rights in America than in Europe, but not because of the absence of hate speech bans. And America's treatment of Hispanics, its dominant minority, is no worse than, say, England's treatment of Indians and Pakistanis, its dominant minority. Blacks of course have a special, complicated history in America, but America has not needed hate speech bans to make racism unrespectable in polite company.

Countries with hate speech bans don't have much to show by way of stopping hate and protecting minorities. But their record of protecting free speech is way worse than America's. Here are just a few of the many, many egregious examples:

Canada has a Human Rights Tribunal that enforces its hate speech laws that were supposed to limit themselves to prosecuting speech that incites hatred and "could lead to a breach of the peace." What is a breach of the peace? Apparently an article by Mark Steyn, a popular conservative columnist, titled "America Alone," that worried about Europe's growing Muslim population and its implications for Europe's future. The tribunal decided to prosecute both Steyn and Maclean, a highly respected magazine in Canada that published his article. Now I disagree with just about every word in Steyn's article, including "a" and "the," but hate speech? C'mon! Likewise, Britain arrested a British politician for "racial and religious harassment" because he delivered a speech quoting Winston Churchill's unflattering description of Islam.

Now, its not that Prof Waldron and other proponents of hate speech bans don't value free speech. It's just that he thinks that's not the only thing one ought to value. Making sure that minorities live in a non-hostile social environment where their basic dignity is protected is also an important social value.

It is, no doubt. But is it more important than, say, stopping, terrorism, by censoring articles on "how to make a pressure cooker bomb," something that Trump just demanded? And if Holocaust denial to protect Jewish sensibilities ought to be a prosecutable offense, why not articles by global warming deniers to prevent global climate catastrophe? Why is speech that questions such existential threats to be tolerated if hate speech is to be suppressed? How will we draw any principled limits to stop slipping down the slope of repression and censorship?

Hate speech bans are at best irrelevant and at worst worst harmful. Such worries aren't just theoretical. There is empirical evidence from the real world. Indeed, one institution in America where Prof. Waldron's ideas have been implemented are universities. On campuses, Jonathan Rauch, a gay activist and writer for The Atlantic, notes, Prof Waldron's "hostile environment doctrine has become part of the administrative furniture." Furthermore, universities are the most favorable test case for Prof. Waldron's ideas. They have an inherent interest in maintaining public spaces free of hateful or intimidating or threatening signage where everyone can learn. But they also have a special intellectual mission to engage in free and open inquiry where contrarian, uncomfortable and unconventional ideas can be thrashed out. They depend on free speech more than any other institution in society so one can expect them to be most protective of it. Furthermore, universities are run not by politicians who have to win elections but exceedingly learned and benevolent people free of crass political motives and silly prejudices. If there is any institution one could count on to draw the right balance between free speech and hate speech without slipping down the censorship slope, it is universities. So how's that been working out?

I think it's fair to say that free speech is more endangered on college campuses than anywhere else in America, although the virus is spreading.

Partly this is due to federal mandates like Title IX that require all colleges, public and private that receive federal money, to ensure gender equality on campus and, prevent sexual "harassment" – verbal and nonverbal. But partly it is of their own volitional embrace of political correctness and demands by social justice warriors who want not freedom of speech but freedom from speech.

Indeed, a new kind of campus politics scarcely imaginable 20 years ago has emerged around the "right not to be offended." It's goal is to ferret out every last vestige of sexism, racism, and all other -isms lurking in the deep structure of the human mind and turn campuses into intellectual "safe spaces." FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an outfit that fights for constitutional rights on campuses) has uncovered 257 incidents from 2000 to 2014 of speakers who were disinvited because of their views. Weirdly, social justice warriors have banned not only right wing speakers such as former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger for perpetrating war crimes but also liberal ones such as Dan Savage, a gay rights advocate and sex columnist (because he used the word tranny for transsexual); International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde was disinvited by Smith College for the "strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide." Regrettably but predictably, conservative students have also jumped in on the action and started disinviting leftist speakers. Some at CUNY even asked New York state legislators to ban anti-Israel protests as hate speech. It's a bipartisan game.

But the forces of political correctness want to sanitize not only the campus environment outside of class but in class as well. They are demanding trigger warnings for any course material that can upset anyone. What counts as upsetting? The Great Gatsby for its misogyny; Mrs. Dalloway because it is not feminist enough; Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for discussing slavery from a white boy's perspective. This has created such a chilling environment that junior, untenured faculty in particular have taken to omitting any controversial material from their course offerings such as Rousseau's discussion of natural gender differences in Emile, Aristotle's discussion of natural slavery in the Politics, and Nietzsche's attack on Christianity as a slave religion.

And then there are "microaggressions" – or subtle insults that unintentionally denigrate a group. What counts as microaggression? Any criticism of affirmative action, of course. But also statements like "America is a land of opportunity." "Or if you work hard you can succeed"—because such statements "microinvalidate" the experience of marginalized groups. And a professor correcting a student for spelling indigenous with an uppercase "I."

Even George Orwell's 1984 didn't anticipate this level of thought control and censorship. How have we reached this ridiculous state of affairs? Let me list two main reasons, both of which ought to give pause to proponents of hate speech bans.

One: Hate speech bans make us impatient and dogmatic

The main reason that libertarians like me are partisans of free speech is not because we believe that a moral laissez faire, anything goes attitude, is in itself a good thing for society. Rather, it stems from an epistemic humility that we can't always know what is good or bad a priori – through a feat of pure Kantian moral reasoning. Moral principles, as much as scientific ones, have to be discovered and developed and the way to do so is by letting competing notions of morality duke it out in what John Stuart Mill called the marketplace of ideas. Ideas that win do so by harmonizing people's overt moral beliefs with their deeper moral intuitions or, as Jonathan Rauch notes, by providing a "moral education." This is how Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Frank Kamney, the gay rights pioneer, managed to open society's eyes to its injustices even though what they were suggesting was so radical for their times.

But this takes time. With free speech, societies have to play the long game. It takes time to change hearts and minds and one can't be certain that one's ideas will win out in the end. One has to be willing to lose. The fruits of censorship—winning by rigging the rules and silencing the other side—seem immediate and certain. But they unleash forces of thought control and dogmatism and repression and intolerance that are hard to contain, precisely what we are seeing right now on campuses.

Two: Hate speech bans breed self-defeating pathologies

One of the more surreal things about the campus PC movement is that it claims to be acting in the name of minorities and yet considers the First Amendment's free speech protections as an impediment to its goal. But the reason behind the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech is precisely to create a space for intellectual minorities.

So why has the First Amendment become so inconvenient for our campus warriors? It is because on campuses they are the dominant ideology and offering the courtesies required by the First Amendment to their ideological opponents has become too inconvenient. It is the classic pathology of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But here's the problem: They still operate in a democracy governed by majoritarian rule. Hence, to the extent that they are trying to get their way by silencing "majority" voices instead of winning them over, they are making themselves vulnerable. That's because these voices will generate counter-ideologies and vote into power those people who echo them. But when these scurrilous majoritarian ideologies emerge, with the guardrail of the First Amendment weakened, minorities will be less able to prevent majoritarian passions from pushing them overboard. Much as I hate Trump, his rise represents the revenge of the masses against political correctness.

So my question to Prof Waldron is this: If enlightened universities have failed to draw the proper balance between free speech and hate speech, what makes you think crass politicians will be able to do so? How will we prevent them from using the hate speech bans to silence legitimate dissenters or contrarian voices – or extending speech restrictions to other ends? How do we prevent the majority from coopting these bans to silence minorities and minority viewpoints, the very thing you want to protect?

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  1. “…imagine how a Muslim man walking with his 10-year-old daughter in New Jersey would feel if he was confronted with a sign saying: “Muslims and 9/11! Don’t serve them, don’t speak to them, and don’t let them in.” What would the man say to his daughter?”

    “Do you want to respond on your blog, or shall I?”

    1. Like a New Yorker cartoon caption, the only appropriate response is ‘Christ, what an asshole!

      1. Have an upvote, HM.

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    2. “They’re using the same First Amendment right which allows us to explain to the non-Muslims about how terrorism, anti-Semitism, easy divorce, polygamy, and the implementation of sharia law in the United States, are all anti-Muslim ideas.

      “In some countries, known as Muslim countries, our ability to make such arguments would be restricted.”

    3. If that’s the best he’s got, then he’s already proved himself ridiculous.

      1. “The only thing that exceeds Waldron’s stellar credentials is his personal charm. A New Zealander….”

        Outside the USA, people just do not have zero clue what free speech is. Then they want to come to the USA and tell Americans why we should not have free speech.

        I guess they think its the one thing not taxed by their socialist governments.

        1. Even Ms. Dalmia must realize that ordinary principles of civility dictate certain limits to “free speech.” Surely she would not dare to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated, liberal judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? I don’t see the “free speech community” (ha-ha-ha) addressing that little matter; rather, seeking to avoid any damage to their own reputations, they hastily flee from it with their tail between their legs. See the documentation at:

          http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    4. Help me out, here. How is the implementation of sharia anti-Muslim, again?

      1. Have you seen the state of muslims living under Sharia? It’s just barbarc.

        /snark and serious at the same time.

        1. Oh, hell, yes! The dogmatistsin the Muslim countries are why they live in squalor.

    5. This is a perfect learning moment for the father and child. I’ve been in this situation myself and try to explain the speaker’s point of view and why they hold those truths. It helps break down what causes prejudice and helps instill a sense of compassion–something that inevitably breaks down prejudice.

      Don’t ban hate speech, you need to have it in order to educate people about it to defeat it. Ignorance (censorship) is never a better alternative to education (free speech).

    6. The sign says, beardy or be-burka’d people need not apply
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    8. Does anyone remember anti-gay activists using this same reasoning back in the 90s/ early 2000s?

      “How would I explain to my daughter why two men are kissing?”

  2. “What would the man say to his daughter?”

    “See dear, even though people will try to use that as evidence that you should have your rights subverted, never stop telling the slavers to fuck off.”

    Or something.

    1. Shihka says…

      “Much as I hate Trump, his rise represents the revenge of the masses against political correctness.”

      “What would the man say to his daughter?”

      “See dear, this is what happens when demagouges trumple all over our freedoms. Whatever happens, don’t EVER vote for a man with an Agent-Orange-sprayed hairdo.”

  3. He asks us to imagine how a Muslim man walking with his 10-year-old daughter in New Jersey would feel if he was confronted with a sign saying: “Muslims and 9/11! Don’t serve them, don’t speak to them, and don’t let them in.” What would the man say to his daughter?

    So, basically, his argument is about hurting the subjective feelings of minorities, just with a really posh accent.

    1. Hurting a little girl’s feelings.
      Like Monsters do.
      Do you support Monsters?

      1. Is the little girl in question a source of ADAM?

        Asking for a friend…

      2. Elmo is a little monster.

        What, do you hate Elmo?

        1. What, do you hate Elmo?

          With the firey hate of a thousand suns. (Or thousand sons, I could use some chaos psyker marines)

  4. Shikha is precognitive?

    Actually, this might be the best stated argument for no hate speech laws I have read.

  5. He is not concerned about hurting the subjective feelings of minorities, he says, as he is about the objective harm that an environment filled with hate-filled signs does to their ability to operate as equal citizens in society. He asks us to imagine how a Muslim man walking with his 10-year-old daughter in New Jersey would feel if he was confronted with a sign saying: “Muslims and 9/11! Don’t serve them, don’t speak to them, and don’t let them in.” What would the man say to his daughter?

    The more important question is whether the man and his daughter are able to live, work, and shop in the area around that sign. Just because a sign exists doesn’t mean people are going to read it, and just because they read it doesn’t mean they are going to believe it. I mean if we all did what signs told us to we would be making america grate again.

    Also, “what does this theoretical dude say to his daughter?” is not an objective way to measure harm, even if you leave aside that objectivity is a fairy tale for very stupid children.

    1. I mean if we all did what signs told us to we would be making america grate again.

      I make America great every time I go through a school zone.

    2. What would the man say to his daughter?

      “Honey, this is why we are Muslim. See, that man, as a infidel, has no right to refuse to deal with us, but we, as Muslims, get to discriminate on the basis of religion. A Muslim can say ‘Christians and the Crusades! Don’t serve them, don’t speak to them, and don’t let them in,’ but an infidel can’t say “Muslims and 9/11! Don’t serve them, don’t speak to them, and don’t let them in.” Its all in the Koran, which you’d know if women were allowed to read.”

    3. making america grate again.

      You must be a shill for big tractor

      1. or Big storm drains

        or Big cereal with Tony the Tiger.

  6. So to celebrate constitution day, they invited somebody whose goal in life is to decimate the constitution?

    Lovely.

    1. Decimate the Bill of Rights, actually.

      Literally decimate, as in get rid of 1/10 of it.

      1. You give them too much credit. Decimate, as in leave only 1/10th remaining.

        We’ll always have the 3rd Amendment! (Probably.)

      2. Like he wouldn’t advocate against 2, 4-6 (in hate crime prosecutions, especially at college), and 9-10 (given his likely view towards “states rights”)?

  7. After all, I am a minority in nearly every respect. I’m an immigrant from India, a person of color, lapsed Hindu-turned-atheist and, rarest of all, a political libertarian.

    And a lefty on a libertarian website!

    I keed, I keed.

    Now, its not that Prof Waldron and other proponents of hate speech bans don’t value free speech. It’s just that he thinks that’s not the only thing one ought to value.

    I disagree. This isn’t a matter of competing values. They’re engaged in a massive and largely unquestioned exercise in question begging: having dispensed with speech qua speech as worth preserving for its own sake, they prefer to view it as merely the vehicle for political activism. Activism that flatters their sensibilities is good speech worthy of protection; activism which offends their delicate sensibilities is hate speech which must be quashed by whatever means possible. At the moment those means are limited to mobbing and platform denial a la Twitter and Facebook, but Waldon and his ilk would much prefer legal repercussions. They are not proponents of free speech or liberty generally, and engaging them as if they share your fundamental devotion to liberty is gravely mistaken. They are cynical opportunists who wish to use the state to enforce their sanitizing vision of humanity.

  8. In it, he makes the radical suggestion that America needs to get over its First Amendment hang ups

    Hopefully you destroyed him utterly.

    1. He is not concerned about hurting the subjective feelings of minorities, he says, as he is about the objective harm that an environment filled with hate-filled signs

      Objective harm defined by and measured by what metric put forward by whom?

    2. Natural rights are “hang ups”.

      This guy should be “strung up”.*

      *juvenile bluster?

  9. For people who advocate hate speech bans covering religion, do they think this should apply to all religions? Including Scientologists, the Westboro Baptist Church, etc.? If not, where and how is the line drawn?

    1. It’s drawn by Human Rights Tribunals, staffed by experts.

      Are you against human rights? Are you against experts?

      /sarc

    2. For people who advocate hate speech bans covering religion, do they think this should apply to all religions?

      And what makes you so damned sure your standard will be the only one applied indefinitely?

      1. Yeah, do these people realize that these laws and bureaucracies created to enforce them may some day be controlled by someone like Donald Trump? I’m sure they’d love that.

  10. Straight white males have been told they are the cause of everything wrong in society for a couple of decades and they seem to be doing OK.

      1. #killallwhitepeople

  11. has noted that although most arguments for hate speech bans are knee-jerk and thoughtless and impulsive, Waldron’s arguments are different. “They hit the mark every time.”

    I haven’t read Waldron’s arguments, but if he’s doing what so many in his camp do: suggesting legislation that’s specifically designed to apply to “minorities” he’s already wrong, and he’s missed the mark spectacularly. It’s clear he’s never paid much attention to the goings on around him, let alone all of history to note that when you give this power to a government, the same people aren’t always in charge. Example: look how scared shitless the left is of The Donald with the prospect of him wielding the executive pen and phone.

    1. when you give this power to a government, the same people aren’t always in charge.

      The United State Hate Crimes Tribunal – Chairman and Chief Tribunalist Richard Santorum presiding.

      1. Lifetime appointment by Donald Trump.

    2. Robespierre’s Law: The power you give to government to do unto others will be used to do unto you.

  12. All I know is where James Madison drew the line (“Congress shall make no law…”) and I’m not so full of myself as to doubt that James Madison and his buddies weren’t a whole hell of a lot smarter than I could ever hope to be. If Jimmy thought it was better that nobody be banned from expresssing an opinion than that somebody be given the power to decide who should be banned, I’m not going to argue with him. And I’d suggest that if you’re going to argue with him you’ve got a pretty hard push ahead of you trying to convince me that you’re smarter than James Madison. In fact, I might go so far as to suggest that your argument that you’re smarter than James Madison gives me a good reason to suspect you’re a retard.

  13. Step 1: Ban hate speech
    Step 2: Redefine hate speech

    The glorious revolution is just that easy!

  14. What would the man say to his daughter?

    I would hope he’d say something like, “Since it’s so terribly oppressive here, we’d be better off back in Shitholefuckistan” or maybe “Fuck those guys but I’m not going to get my panties in a bunch over that, this country is far more preferable to Shitholefuckistan.”

    1. I guess we’d better figure out if Muslim is a race or a religion.

      1. I prefer the third option of ‘anachronistic totalitarian ideology bent on world domination reinforced by religious mythology’.

      2. Britain arrested a British politician for “racial and religious harassment” because he delivered a speech quoting Winston Churchill’s unflattering description of Islam.

        Both, apparently. Convenient for the control freaks.

      3. People have been saying Jews are a race for centuries, so I think people are going to have a tough time with that Muslims too.

  15. an environment filled with hate-filled signs

    I’m not sure why the Professor chose this as his arbitrary example: while ‘signs’ can be used to exercise free speech rights, its generally only if they’re *temporary*; and even then, it would likely require approval in advance, which, given the nature of the ‘theoretical’ content, it wouldn’t get… and subsequently become a lawsuit rather than something offending some random moozie and his daughter.

    Try putting up any permanent display somewhere, and you’ll soon find that the First Amendment doesn’t actually protect this sort of thing at all. There are city ordinances which limit the kinds of speech you can use in permanent displays. And while i’m not super hip to the supreme court rulings on this… i’m pretty sure they draw a sharp distinction between “free speech” as being utterances you yourself make and have to be present for (call it, “delivered speech”)… and “signs” as being in a completely different category;

    Don’t have time to peruse at the moment, but this covers some of it, and Reason wrote something about ‘signs’ here

    1. Campaign finance law has pretty much declared that the first amendment reads: The fight to speak with your unamplified voice in a public time and place of the government’s choosing, shall not be infringed.

        1. Fight makes more sense in context of the lefties who think words can be literal violence.

  16. Also top Nazi propagandists were radicalized under Weimar ‘blasphemy’ laws. So yes, hate speech ends in war. Europe knows this all too well. NYS and CA are going down that path with their anti-BDS legislation. These must be stopped.

    Jill Stein asks you to love her until she learns to love herself.

  17. Fuck ’em up, Dalmia. Fuck ’em right up.

  18. he makes the radical suggestion that America needs to get over its First Amendment hang ups and enact hate speech bans to protect the “basic dignity and humanity” of minorities

    I know this is me being pedantic, but I wish these edumacated folks would learn what “dignity” is. It’s not “everybody is nice to you”. Dignity is an inner quality of poise that is a measure of how well you deal with life’s various troubles; IOW when people aren’t nice to you. It’s one of those things that nobody can give you (no, not even with a “hate speech code”), and nobody can take away from you.

    1. Nothing says “basic dignity and humanity” like treating an entire race as needing the helping jackboot of the Total State in order to have basic dignity and humanity.

  19. As I read this article and attending comments, what occurs to me is that we are metaphorical frogs slowly boiling away in a cauldron of supposedly good intentions [see Samuel Johnson on that]. What is being played out as a social experiment on many college campuses and promulgated by academics like Waldron will not just stop there, but will serve as a template for our “real” world soon enough until we have laws similar to those in Canada and Great Britain. It’s not much of a stretch to that, and well beyond.

    These are indeed serious and real threats to basic freedoms, and yet it is just enough under the radar to get by without much to stop it except those who follow Reason and maybe a few other looneytarians.

  20. ” What would the man say to his daughter?” How about ‘Some people are idiots and here’s an example’.?

  21. These people don’t deserve freedom, and they have no understanding of history. The only response is to tell them to go fuck themselves

  22. He asks us to imagine how a Muslim man walking with his 10-year-old daughter in New Jersey would feel if he was confronted with a sign saying: “Muslims and 9/11! Don’t serve them, don’t speak to them, and don’t let them in.” What would the man say to his daughter?”

    *points in opposite direction of sign*

    OMG! How’d they get a duck to play the piano like that?

    Made you look.

  23. I’m all for it. Let’s do a feasibility test by banning all criticism of small government Republicans and Libertarians and if we like that, then we can extend the laws to cover other minorities.

  24. LOL…Steyn would rip this woman to shreds in any sort of debate. He could do while being extremely funny.

  25. Furthermore, universities are run not by politicians who have to win elections but exceedingly learned and benevolent people free of crass political motives and silly prejudices.

    ROTFLMAO. Texas is in the midst of the “O!M!G! Campus Carry! Gunz in the Hallowed Halls! Gunfights over Classroom Discussions! Assassinated Perfessers ‘Cause a Grades! Law Costs Zillions Dollars!” hooha.

  26. Boycotts and public shaming on twitter by SJW’s does objective harm to their targets. Therefore we should lock SJW’s in cages. In fact Jeremy Waldron has disturbed me and done objective harm to my morning therefore he should be thrown in a cage.

    OK so maybe there is a bright side to this throw your political enemies in cages shtick he has going as long as I am in charge.

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  29. Free speech should always trump feeling.

  30. “lapsed Hindu-turned-atheist”

    If it weren’t for Shikha’s reflexive anti-Hindu bias, and a shocking ignorance of what she professes to reject, she would have been aware that a deeply atheistic strain has existed (and accepted) within the rubric of Hinduism (and Jainism and Buddhism) for millennia.

    For all of her claims to be libertarian, her writings show her to be your run-of-the-mill Indian leftist/socialist/liberal; the sort who have kept India mired in failed Marxist economic policies for over half century while bending over backwards to appease the Islamists. The same people who are as far removed from libertarian values in time (medieval, to be precise) as Shikha is from the leftist space.

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