Mick Hume, British journalist and editor-at-large of spiked magazine discusses his book, Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?, with FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff in London.
“[The book] is not only a reflection on the new problems having to do with free speech in Anglo-American society, but it’s a call to arms,” Hume tells Greg. “It’s really saying that the danger today is not just that we might lose the new free speech wars, but that we’re going to not even fight them—that we’re surrendering without a struggle.”
Hume explores cases of Europeans being tossed in jail for expressing unpopular viewpoints, the growing tendency in the U.K. to ban offensive speakers altogether, and the “nonsense” idea “that if you can silence somebody, that’s the same as beating them [politically].”
Hume urges would-be censors to consider both the philosophical case for free speech and historical precedent, both of which indicate that societal change happens only with robust speech protections.
“Every liberation struggle that ever succeeded always had the demand for free speech at its heart,” Hume said. “Now you have a movement where activists seem to think that what people in identity groups need is protection from speech, protection from speech because they’re so vulnerable, and I think that’s a very dangerous idea.”
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