I am, however, convinced that there are those who want to make free speech an issue. Again, I am not 100% certain of the reasons. Free speech is important and speech issues do deserve attention. I'll suggest this below, but I will also suggest that the concerns we should have over speech (and its freedom) are not those that are currently being offered. I am, for instance, more concerned about political spin, the misuse of social media, cyber-bulllying and the like than I am about whether or not Canadian university campuses are "bastions" of free speech. I've blogged on this before but let me address this issue. If this blog get's too long, I'll divide it up. There are a number of important issues regarding free speech we should note:
- Why it is important
- What it actually is
- What are its reasonable limits
- What are the problems with it
My concern with these matters is that I have recently read a number of op-eds and report card like assessments of free speech. One group of self-appointed guardians of free speech gave Mount A a D- or F or something like that so ... bias declared. I work at Mount A and so one might feel that my "school spirit," as it were, has me upset by this bad grade.
- Speech used for the purposes of planning a criminal act (say, planning a crime)
- Speech used for the purposes of supporting a terrorist group (Canada prohibits some groups from speaking, recruiting, raising money, etc., when that group is going to use this to conduct terrorism. In effect, we "list" the group and subject it to special regulations. You can find a list of groups currently listed here)
- Speech that makes untrue claims. For example, false advertisement.
- Speech that bullies or harasses individuals (we send kids home from school, for instance, for bullying other kids)
- Speech that endangers children, such as child pornography