Nadine Strossen at York University, “Social Justice and Free Speech: Dismantling Hate through Dialogue”

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Nadine Strossen, the youngest-ever and first female serving president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) spoke at York University alongside Matt Bufton, Executive Director of the Institute for Liberal Studies, about the importance of free speech when considering movements for social change.

The discussion highlighted different legal precedents for why government and legislation should not be given the opportunity to choose what loosely defines “hate-speech” because ultimately, many of the liberally-minded positive social movements of the 20th century fell into a category similarly denoted by the government at the time. Strossen articulated the importance of protecting the most heinous of speech for the purpose of protecting the most valuable speech.

Ultimately, the case for a left-wing perspective protecting speech for all was made clear – censorship only emboldens those who become martyrs for the sake of “free speech”, and does not provide an equal playing field for any dissenting views in society, thus, the onus is on the government in power to protect speech of all kinds for the pursuit of truth, justice, and individual liberty.