In this blistering polemic, veteran journalist Mick Hume presents an uncompromising defence of freedom of expression, which he argues is threatened in the West, t by jackbooted censorship but by a creeping culture of conformism and You-Can't-Say-That. The cold-blooded murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January 2015 brought a deadly focus to the issue of free speech. Leaders of the free-thinking world united in condemning the killings, proclaiming 'Je suis Charlie'. But it wasn't long before many commentators were arguing that the massacre showed the need to apply limits to free speech and to restrict the right to be offensive. It has become fashionable t only to declare yourself offended by what somebody else says, but to use the 'offence card' to demand that they be prevented from saying it. Social media websites such as Twitter have become the scene of 'twitch hunts' where online mobs hunt down trolls and other heretics who express the 'wrong' opinion. And Trigger Warnings and other measures to 'protect' sensitive students from potentially offensive material have spread from American universities across the Atlantic and the internet. Hume argues that without freedom of expression, our other liberties would t be possible. Against the background of the historic fight for free speech, Trigger Warning identifies the new threats facing it today and spells out how unfettered freedom of expression, despite the pain and the problems it entails, remains the most important liberty of all.
Mick Hume is a journalist and author. He is editor-at-large of Spiked and writes regularly on free-speech issues. He had a weekly column in 'The Times' for 10 years, and was described as 'Britain's only libertarian Marxist newspaper columnist'. More recently he has written in defence of freedom of speech and a free press in 'The Times', the 'Sunday Times', the 'Independent' and the 'Sun'.