Letter to The Editor - We should continue to beware of any attempts to limit speech in contexts where there is no clear threat of violence
To The Age It is good to know that the Nazi flag flown in Beulah has been taken down ("No reason to go soft on hate", 18/1). If I had been a neighbour, I would have pleaded with those flying it to consider the loss of amenity it caused to me and others in the neighbourhood. I would have suggested other ways they could express their views in a less intrusive way. I would have referred to the need to take into consideration the general public perception of Nazism, even if their view differed. However, the episode has encouraged Tim Soutphommasane to continue his campaign to limit "hate speech" in Australia ("No reason to go soft on hate", 18/1) and I shiver a little when he writes that "there are just some things we mustn't tolerate." He deplores the fact that the flying of a Nazi flag involved "the advocacy of Nazism." Yes, but not everything about Nazism was or is unreservedly bad. We should continue to beware of any attempts to limit speech in contexts where there is no clear threat of violence. Flying a flag is in that category.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic