Dean Bridgfoot, Castlemaine
Re. Sandra Caddy’s letter (‘Unrelenting attacks’, Opinions, April 2).
I understand that respectful, informed discussion is a crucial component of freedom of speech and a foundation of our democracy.
I also understand that hate speech incites and normalises violence and is a threat to democracy. Hate speech encourages extremism leading to atrocities that pit people against people on the basis of their religion, skin colour, gender or cultural practices.
It is important to me to talk about hate speech and extremism because I believe that our world faces some major challenges in the 21st century if our civilisation is to survive; increasing inequality, a climate crisis, ecological collapse and the rise of terrorism. They are interrelated and compounding and will require all of us to acknowledge our common humanity and jointly find solutions that build a peaceful, ecological and just society.
So I feel it important to name hate speech and its destructive impact and am putting my efforts and hope into building a deeper compassion and understanding of our shared humanity as the basis of co-creating a peaceful and just future for our children.