Free speech is important for encouraging discourse, preventing suppression, and preserving individual freedoms. However, at what point does free speech begin impinging on other more substantive freedoms?
Last year, the Charlie Hebdo office was attacked in response to controversial depictions of Muhammad, resulting in 12 fatalities. France has not implemented laws curbing expression, but other countries have done so in response to violence. More recently, President Suresh sent an email admonishing “vulgar and racist” messages posted on a CMU chat group. Some see this as establishing a welcoming and inclusive environment. Others see it as part of a growing trend of censorship that stifles open dialogue.
This raises important questions: Should free speech cover hate speech? Is it worth giving up free speech in exchange for political or social stability? What is the ultimate value of free speech, and what freedoms are we willing to sacrifice in exchange for it?