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Acts of terror can inflict terrible damage.Because of that fear, Americans allow themselves to be spied on indiscriminately by their own government, and permit terrorism suspects to be tortured and locked up indefinitely without trial.France, like most other countries in the European Union, already has laws that ban hate speech. Is it really wise to use the law to ban opinions?First of all, such laws, if enacted, are unlikely to reduce the risk of terrorist acts. Banning the expression of opinions will not make them go away. But there is a larger danger in using the law to police what people think. Inciting violence is banned in the U.S. as well.Xenophobic views, or the denial of genocide, are repellent, but do not necessarily result in such a threat. Freedom of speech, in other words, should mean freedom of hateful speech, too, as long as it does not threaten or promote violence.
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