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

Words: 2820
Pages: 12

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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Why not Moralism?
“It can be morally legitimate to prohibit conduct on the grounds that it is inherently immoral, even though it causes neither harm nor offense to actors or others.” (Feinberg, 1984). Moral liability is not directly correlated to offense. For example, crossing the street without using the cross walk is an immoral action, however, it does not bring offense to anyone.
Philosophical Analysis
As stated, I am in support of the dissent when looking at this case. Both the majority and the dissent agreed that Keegstra’s speech was not one that provided value to society. They believed that “expression that does not convey meaning, or expression that is violent in its form, will fall outside the ambit of the Charter’s protection.” (Wellington, 2012). It is clear that the statements and opinions of Keegstra were not valuable, especially seeing how these statements were made to the receptive minds of high school students. No person can legitimately take shelter under the freedom of expression protections of a democracy when the expressions at issue are made while undertaking the public responsibility of educating children.” (Dixon, 1986). That said, R. v. Keegstra ended in a 4-3 discussion, showing that there was a substantial amount of judges who dissented against the ruling. These dissenting judges