Freedom of thoughts, beliefs, and speech

Over lunch yesterday, we were talking about US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US.

And this morning, I woke up to Google CEO Sundar Pichai‘s post entitled Let’s not let fear defeat our valuesIt was refreshing to see an important tech leader highlight the value of accepting diversity as one of the US’s key strengths. The piece reminded me of a quote from Evelyn Beatrice Hall, the author of The Life of Voltaire.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

This quote highlights the importance of maintaining the freedom of speech. Thoughts and beliefs are the precursors of speech. So maintaining the freedom of thoughts, beliefs, and speech are one and the same. And these freedoms are what produce our diversity.

For this reason, Donald Trump has the right to express his view that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to enter the US. Any other approach would fall short of protecting his freedom of speech, and therefore be no different than his proposal to limit Muslims’ freedom of beliefs.

However, as Sundar does, I have the right to disapprove.