If you were to ask the likes of Cory Bernardi if we live in an enlightened society, he would probably answer “yes”.
I’m not sure how he would answer if you asked: If we are an enlightened society, why do you think we need to enshrine in law the right to hate each other?
Surely you would think that an enlightened progressive free-thinking society would want to eliminate it, not legislate it.
If free speech’s only purpose is to denigrate, insult and humiliate, then we need to reappraise its purpose. There are those who say it identifies those perpetrating wrongdoing but, if it creates more evil than good, it’s a strange freedom for a so-called enlightened society to bequeath its citizens.
Are we saying that hate is an essential part of the human condition?
Is this really what an enlightened society means by free speech? Does it demonstrate our cognitive advancement? Is this what well-educated men and women want as free speech or should we see free speech as being nothing more or nothing less than the right to tell the truth in whatever medium we so choose?
One has to wonder why the so-called defenders of free speech feel they are inhibited by what they have now. I don’t. I have never felt constrained in my thoughts or my ability to express them. I’m doing it now. But then I don’t feel a need to go beyond my own moral values of what is decent to illuminate my thoughts.
Why is it then that the likes of Abbott, Bolt, Jones, Brandis, Bernardi and others need to go beyond common decency to express them and defend others who cannot express themselves without degenerating into hate speech?
The answer has nothing to do with an honourably noble sort of democratic free speech.