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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Freedom For the Speech We Oppose

This piece from 2015, published by The Philosophers' Magazine, is something of a blast from the past, but it still seems to me to be about right. It also gives a taste of what my book, The Tyranny of Opinion, is about. It responds to the issue at the time when an anti-abortion campaigner from the US, Troy Newman, was denied entry to Australia, with the perverse effect that his views were actually given more publicity than if he'd simply been allowed to go about his business and give his talks quietly. As it turned out, then, he was not silenced, but this was nonetheless an attempt (a very counterproductive one) to hinder his ability to present his views to Australians. I'd rather spend my time arguing against "pro-life" advocates, especially such extreme ones, than arguing for their right to express their views. Increasingly, however, many debates are shifting away from disagreements about which views are correct, or would form the best basis for public policy, and which views should be permitted at all.

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