R. V. Keegstra : in Support of the Dissent Essay

2797 Words Jun 17th, 2012 12 Pages
R. V. Keegstra : In Support of the Dissent

Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirement for PHL613, Philosophy of Law

Sean Peters
500 204 129
April 11, 2012

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Overview of R. V. Keegstra 2

Why does Freedom of Speech in Democracy Matter? 2 Factors of the Offense Principle 3 Why not Moralism? 4

Philosophical Analysis 4 Criticism 6 Recommendations 7

Conclusion 8

Appendices 9 Appendix 1 - Research and Methodology 9

Works Cited 11

What does freedom of expression really mean? Why is it important to our democratic society? In the landmark case of R. v. Keegstra (1990), the issues of freedom of expression
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Joel Feinberg, defines the Offense Principle as “ it is always a good reason in support of a proposed criminal prohibition that it is probably necessary to prevent serious offense [as opposed to injury or harm] to persons other than the actor, and would probably be an effect means to that end if enacted.” (Feinberg, 1984). I believe that this principle serves as the best way to analyze R. V. Keegstra. There are many factors that fall under the Offense Principle, such as extent, duration, social value of speech, the ease with which it can be avoided, the motives of the speaker, the number of people offended, and the general interests of the community at large, however, I will only touch a few. Based off of these factors, Keegstra and Zundel should be prosecuted, but not those from “Go Yankee, go”. Zundel and “Go Yankee, go” are to be discussed in a later section of this essay.
Extent – Keegstra communicated Anti-Semitic statements to many years worth of students, would test on beliefs and would generally give better marks to those who answered based off Keegstra’s beliefs.
Duration – Keegstra carried out his anti-Semitic communication to his students for years. Whereas, “Yankee, go home” was a flying marketing campaign.
Number of people offended – while the number of people offended might be higher with “Yankee, go home”, the fact that Keegstra’s message was communicated to students, should

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