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The fantasy of “free speech”

Free speech is never really free—it's all about who's got power

By Afua Hirsch   March 2018

Afua Hirsch speaking on a panel. Photo: courtesy of the author

Political correctness has gone mad, but not in the way that you think.

Our language has finally cast out most of its demons, and words that once promoted hate towards minority groups have—rightly—been relegated from everyday discourse. The ancient lexicon of hate speech—which, as Simon Lancaster explains in our March issue, has so often gone hand-in-hand with physical violence—is today heard less often.

Travellers and transgender people have finally earned the right to…

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