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I don't really have an opinion on this, but I found your sentence interesting:

> rational, intellectual, level-headed discussion of how, say, their right to speech should be restricted

Isn't that a contradiction in and of itself?

Only from the perspective of one of the two sides in the debate.

The other side thinks that it's perfectly good and proper to not have a rational, intellectual, level-headed discussion of reprehensible topics, and would rather the first side not pull them into it.

Are you referring to a particular debate, or debates in general? If the later, I strongly disagree. There are many debates in which both sides argue rationally in good faith.

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