For some, the problem with freedom of speech is that anyone then has the right to freely say things we may find abhorrent, such people as the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Both have been invited to address a meeting tonight on the freedom of speech at the Oxford Union, much to the exasperation of many who are calling for the event to be cancelled.
Presumably they would prefer to pretend such extreme views do not exist and would prefer the students were not exposed to the views of the BNP, rather they spend their educational lives in a the protective bubble of academia.
To my mind there is no doubt that the debate ought to take place. Such poor ideas have to be aired in order to be repudiated by argument and debate. We need to ridicule the outlandish and dangerous outpourings of the likes of Irving and Griffin because repressing or pretending that they don't exist is not an effective answer.
A quick trip around the blogosphere will show just how many offensive and downright idiotic views there are out there spoken by the ignorant, deluded or just plain misinformed and although we can ignore them on this medium, it proves that these views do exist in our societies.
Let the likes of Griffin and Irving speak and let us debate them in order to defeat them and hold them up as ridiculous fabrications of unreasoning minds.