I am responding to "Censoring hateful speech is right" [Letters, Dec. 2]. I don't understand the writer's confusion. It's very simple: When any speech is banned, soon all speech will be banned.

A look back at the not-too-distant past illustrates this with crystal clarity. Hitler censored negative speech, as well as the press, early after coming to power. He too wanted to keep certain individuals and groups in check. History has shown us what that led to.

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The problem with censoring any kind of speech is that it violates others' right to free speech. There are individuals and groups, whom I wouldn't dignify by mentioning, that I vehemently disagree with, and I don't like to hear what they say, but I don't want a law that would silence them. I would hope their own conscience and intelligence would do that for them.

Being offended is something none of us likes, but it's something we have to accept as a free society.

William McMahon, Patchogue