Hate Speech Isn’t Free Speech! (Or Is It?)

HatevsFreeSpeechThese days, we hear regularly of religious symbols taken from public display for being offensive to atheists or Moslems, folks shouted down for opposing some subsidy of the Left’s victim of the hour and demands for extra punishment for: “hate crimes.” and a ban on ‘hate speech.’ These seem typically from the Left, exercising its totalitarian tendencies.

For ‘hate crimes’ I’ll just ask: If an act is already illegal, should its punishment differ according to the motive of the perpetrator when we have yet to accomplish mind-reading? Consider carefully before you answer…

For ‘hate speech’ we’ll look at a little more. While none enjoy vituperative attacks, is legal sanction the answer? Moms and dads have been traditionally frustrated while dealing with kids’ verbal assaults on one another; should we pull everybody into this while setting up the courts to function as mom or dad? If we do, what penalties are appropriate? It’s hard to envision a judge sending a violator to go sit in the corner; is it fitting to send an offender to go sit in a jail? And how do you outlaw hate speech without outlawing free speech? One man’s ‘free’ is another man’s ‘hate’ is it not?

The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “…Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” but we know that doesn’t protect ‘yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater’ or telling harmful lies. Hate Speech provides some discussion on this. Going back to mom and dad; they taught their kids: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!” That usually took care of the issue, for kids.

Now that adults are acting like kids, what’s the real issue here? A new supply of uber-insults nobody can hear without going mad? Or perhaps, people are working at being insulted and ‘offended’ these days for a political payoff? Hmnn…

‘Political correctness’ is a political ploy aimed at forcing opponents into your way of looking at things by demonizing them in their society if they maintain their opposition. It worked against “Demon Rum” before Prohibition and President Obama today is fronting a wave of it against Republicans. That’s politics; the ancient Greeks did it too.

But do you want that enshrined in the law? That’s the question. Consider: Are you sure you can get through life without ‘offending’ anybody, particularly if someone takes a dislike to you for any reason whatever? It’s awfully easy to be ‘offended,’ right?

Columnist Mark Steyn ruminates on this in a column about his experiences under Canadian hate speech laws. Canada lacks our First Amendment…

I’ll leave it to you; you and your kids are going to live in the society you make. For me, I’ll stick with: “Sticks and stones…” and just suggest to those perpetually offended: “Get a life!”

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much)
This entry was posted in Censorship, Constitution, Culture, Domestic Policy, Law Enforcement, Muslims and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Hate Speech Isn’t Free Speech! (Or Is It?)

  1. the unit says:

    My comment is sort of on topic, and sort of off topic. I retired 4/2/13 after 47 years and two weeks. Last job lasted 7 years. @ 65 financial gurus were saying one needed to work til 70. I went 6 more years. Now gurus saying work til 80. Nope can’t do it. One reason is that fine lady I worked with those seven believed in, could, and did practice lots of free speech. She could talk all day. I just finally became exhaustipated. Lasted only about 10 minutes before I was physically and mentally tired out. Never shouted “fire”, but did shout “bathroom break” sometimes to get some rest. 🙂

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Well, seems to me we should retire first and save the work for later… Figure I can sell that, soon as the way to work it shows up… Your lady reminds of those we used to classify as “vaccinated with a phonograph needle and hasn’t shut up since.”

      • the unit says:

        I think it was Woody Allen who started that reverse idea. Life starts with death, progresses to retirement and so on, til orgasm. Either way I took Yogi’s fork in the road.

  2. ChristinG says:

    I feel like theres a difference between “Hate Speech” and “Inflammatory Opinions.” I agree wholeheartedly that many cultures are WAY too worried about being politically correct, and that often we’re left with our tongues completely tied looking for the acceptable way to word a particular opinion. But hate speech is the promotion of violence towards a particular demographic; which conflicts with the “right to the equal protection” and the message of security and safety. If we feel like being a little bit racist, sexist, or snide in some other form I feel that is our right. But attempting to use Hate Speech to target citizens is not acceptable. The Holocaust started with Hate Speech against the Jews. The KKK used Hate Speech to persecute the blacks. Is that something we really want to be promoted and allowed in modern society?

  3. the unit says:

    I don’t think it’s your “feel like.” It’s your logic and good sense. I “feel like” I’m rejuvanated by your comments. I visited your site and earmarked to visit again. Glad you posted.

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