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Hateful speech: Tyranny of the majority

November 14. 2017 7:41PM

The former president of the American Civil Liberties Union is worried that campus activists now see free speech as an enemy, and not an ally.

Nadine Strossen visited Dartmouth College last week, speaking to a group of 50 students about the need to protect dissenting views on campus, even when those ideas are unpopular, or even offensive.

Strossen has a book coming in May titled, “HATE: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship”. She told the Hanover crowd that if the law allowed governments to censure speech it determined to be hateful, that discretion would eventually be abused at the expense of minorities.

Strossen led the ACLU from 1991 to 2008. She was the group’s youngest and first female president.

Her talk at Dartmouth was cosponsored by campus Democrats and Republicans. Sadly, it is remarkable these days for a campus speaker to be welcomed by both sides, rather than shouted down by one or the other.

Strossen argues today’s students never experienced “censorship being used against causes they would probably support,” according to the Valley News.

The best way to counter hateful speech is more and better speech. Strossen’s talk and her upcoming book add to that chorus. The alternative is trusting our government, and whoever happens to be running it, to decide which opinions are allowed and which are too hateful to be tolerated.

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