The contents of the Hate Speech Bill have shocked many, heralding outraged rants and commentary on a self-evidently disastrous piece of legislation. Experts have rightfully pointed out that the document contradicts portions of the constitution, seeking to prohibit speech protected by section 16 of the constitution. Other commentators have spoken on the Orwellian nature of the proposed law, accurately arguing that it leads to a state in which speech becomes crime and even free thought comes under threat.

While my fellow commentators are no doubt going to adequately deal with this horrific piece of legislation, I cannot help but not be surprised. We expected bills like this since the ANC realised how good of a red herring witch-hunts can be. I cannot help but just shrug when laws like these are passed these days. They’re par for the course in an inept dictatorship such as ours.

Don’t misunderstand me. The Hate Speech Bill is a cataclysmic, incompetent and dangerous bill, but I’m just not surprised. The state has a record of tramping on individual freedoms and reason, and the public tend to have a record of cheering them on. No doubt the rise of the regressive left has helped promote public opinion of this bill – and as a result, it will be even more necessary to deal with it intellectually and effectively. While I am a pessimist, we must do all that we can to weaken this Bill and raise public dissent against it.

Nicholas Woode-Smith is co-founder of the Rational Standard and its Technical and Marketing Director. He is a student at the University of Cape Town, with majors in Politics, Philosophy and Economic History. He is the youngest council member of the Institute of Race Relations in history and the Regional Director of Southern Africa for African Students For Liberty. He also writes science fiction – prominently, the Warpmancer and Cape Zero series.