立場新聞 Stand News

彭力克勳爵談言論自由

2016/4/13 — 15:34

大律師彭力克勳爵(Lord Pannick QC,資料圖片)

大律師彭力克勳爵(Lord Pannick QC,資料圖片)

四月十二日黃昏,御用大律師彭力克勳爵(Lord Pannick QC)在香港大學發表演說,演題為「摧毀言論自由者之言論自由」,評論英國政府禁止非暴力極端主義(non-violent extremism)的計劃。

彭力克勳爵認為,非暴力極端主義一語,詞義含糊,與法治有法可依之精神,相去甚遠,更關鍵的是,言論自由,雖非絕對,但僅因他人觀點與自由主義不符,即加以禁止,正是對自由主義最大的背叛。彭力克勳爵引用美國最高法院的判例Whitney v California去說明他的觀點:

They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that, without free speech and assembly, discussion would be futile; that, with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine.

廣告

這段判辭由美國最高法院布蘭迪斯大法官(Justice Brandeis)所撰,全文二千餘字,被視為言論自由的經典論述。布氏強調,美國開國元勳重視言論自由,全因自由討論是發現真理的必由之途,也是對有害學說的最佳防禦,只要言論不引致即時暴力,則政府無禁止之理。布氏續說:

They knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies, and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law – the argument of force in its worst form.

廣告

簡言之,禁制自由,消滅思想,則仇恨滋長,政權不穩,與子產不毀鄉校「大決所犯,傷人必多」同義。若假定人有理智,就應以理服人,毋以力屈人。

彭力克勳爵又引用傑弗遜(Thomas Jefferson)一八零一年的私函指出,支持言論自由,與維持社會秩序,並無矛盾:

We have nothing to fear from the demoralizing reasonings of some, if others are left free to demonstrate their errors and especially when the law stands ready to punish the first criminal act produced by the false reasoning. 

大意是,假如錯誤的言論體現在非法的行動上,社會自可禁止該等行動,至於言論本身,不論對錯,實無足懼。

最後,彭力克勳爵以布蘭迪斯大法官在Olmstead v. United States一案的話作結,寄語珍視自由者,應時刻警惕,尤其是政府出於善意的干預:

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.

彭力克勳爵開場明言,演說與香港的時事無關。他的話,都是常識了,但有時候,常識使人安心,像風雨中一把盛放的雨傘。

發表意見