Should Hate Speech Be Considered Free Speech?


I want to take some time today to dismantle a commonly perpetuated myth: hate speech should not be free speech. Yes it should be. Is it uplifting speech? No. Is it good speech? Yes. Is it important speech? Definitely. You see, all speech is important, which is why free speech is important. Censorship and cancel culture only serve to stifle free speech and the exchange of ideas between people of contradictory opinions and values. Now, let’s get into this and see just how many people I can offend today with perfectly reasonable logic (assuming this post does not get removed or cause my account to be banned).

 

Hate speech should be free speech. I said it, meant it and stand by it. I try not to hate anyone personally, but there are certain groups of people whom I dislike with great intensity and, in some cases despite my best efforts, even hate. I hate stupid people, individually and as a group. Before you jump to any conclusions (which you may already have done if you are stupid), I said “stupid,” not “uneducated.” The difference between these two personal deficiencies is that one of them can be corrected by education. Stupid people, because I know you’re confused, I’m not talking about you. There is no corrective measure for you.

 

Yes, I hate stupid people. I hate them and, for my sake and theirs, I should be permitted to say so. Imagine the potential problems that might be created by stupid people, not knowing that I hate them, attempting to engage and interact with me. Their precious, valuable feelings are bound to be hurt when I respond to their intrusion upon me with the hate that I feel for them dripping like poison from my every word. Their fragile, stupid little psyches may suffer irreparable damage in the face of my unbridled hatred. There may even be violent consequences of such hatred, against me or them is circumstantial.

 

I should be allowed to tell everyone not only that I hate stupid people, but why I hate them. It is possible that my hatred of stupid people is unjustified. Perhaps it is a result of my personal experiences with a few stupid people that I developed such seething hatred for all of them. Maybe I was raised and conditioned from birth by my family and/or community to hate stupid people. If I am not allowed to express my hatred and what I believe are the reasons for it, then there will never be an opportunity for anyone to change my mind. I will never be presented with facts, opinions, evidence or arguments contradictory to my opinions and beliefs about stupid people because no one will ever know what I think.

 

Do you think stupid people should be protected from my hate? Do you think they should not have to be subjected to my spiteful, malicious attitude toward them? If so, that’s fantastic news because I absolutely agree with you. So why do you think I should keep quiet about hating stupid people? How else are they to know that I hate them? How are they to know to leave me alone? If I can’t say what I think, then no one will know. People whose lives are connected to mine need my hate speech in order to make informed decisions about their willingness to interact with me. That means my hate speech is important and people need to hear it.

 

WARNING, I AM NOW MOVING INTO HYPOTHETICALS THAT DO NOT EXPRESS MY PERSONAL OPINIONS ABOUT ANY PERSON OR GROUP OTHER THAN THOSE MENTIONED ABOVE.

 

Let’s apply the same argument to other groups. Let’s say that I hate black people. I think they’re inferior. I think they should still be slaves. I think they should all go back to Africa. I think they should be lynched. I adhere to the full-blown white supremacist agenda. A black person needs to know that about me. They need to hear, in no uncertain terms, the full extent of my hatred. Non-blacks need to know, too. They may have black friends, family, coworkers, and significant others and thus require knowledge of my extreme racism and hatred. These people need to know exactly what I think so they know to avoid or prevent contact with me whenever possible. They need to know about my hate, in particular, if there happen to be any brave, virtuous souls among them who wish to engage me in an effort to change my mind. They need to hear all of my hate speech, my vile bigotry and racism. They need to hear exactly what I think and why I think it, because if they don’t, those brave, virtuous souls will never have a chance to engage me in open discussion. They will never know what arguments and evidence might change my mind. Worse yet, they might go on believing erroneously that my mind can actually be changed, which may not be true.

 

Now that we’ve covered the necessity of hate speech, I know I’m going to have to cover the consequences of it. Hate speech, at present, is not protected speech because it claimed to have the potential to incite violence. Of course it does. The issue with this potential is in where one lays the blame for that violence. When someone shares information publicly, including their own personal opinions, the people who are exposed to that information will inevitably make a choice based on it. They may choose to accept or reject the information, agree or disagree with it, ignore it or even act on it. If they choose to act, they must also inevitably choose for themselves what action to take. No matter what decision is ultimately made by the consumer of the information, the blame still lies with that consumer, not the producer.

 

People kill each other with knives every day. It is still perfectly legal and acceptable to produce, buy, own and possess knives. Guns, hammers, ice picks, cast iron skillets, wrecker bars, pencils, cars, glass, lumber: these and innumerable other things can and have been used as weapons, as tools of violence. In every case, the consumer made a conscious, personal decision to act in a violent manner. Do we blame the manufacturer when a consumer uses a pencil for violence? No. Do we demand laws to regulate the sale, purchase or possession of cast iron skillets because they prove to be extremely dangerous when swung with significant force at a human skull? No. We expect consumers to make the decision to take appropriate action with these things in a responsible, legal, reasonable way. Yet, when it comes to speech, society is all too delighted to launch a crusade against producers of speech when one or more consumers of that speech decide to act inappropriately and violently. If I say that I hate black people and every proud white American should get up and go lynch one right away, then someone does exactly that, the blame lies exclusively with the person doing the lynching. I did not place that person under duress. I did not claim that such an act is legal. I did not go to that person and aid them in any way. Here’s the truth. If the only thing that person needed in order to go lynch a black person was my suggestion that they do so, then one of these things is true: the thought was already there, they are incredibly stupid, or they are completely insane. My hate speech is not responsible for the death of that black person any more than a lumberyard is responsible for someone being beaten to death with a two-by-four, even if an employee pointed out that it could be used that way.

 

While we’re on the subject of responsibility, let’s dismantle the next argument. Yes, there are laws and regulations regarding guns and certain knives because their primary function is to cause harm or death. Hate speech also has a primary function of causing harm and death, right? Wrong! Hate speech, up to and including explicit calls for violent action, are still just information, just as a roofing hammer used to murder someone is still just a tool until it is given to the wrong person. The primary function of information is to inform. The primary function of speech is to provide information, including personal opinions, by speaking. The primary function of hate speech is to provide information, by speaking, of hate and the reason(s) for it. The primary function of a call to violent action is to provide information, by speaking, of what the speaker believes people should be doing. It is up to each person who hears that call to violent action to decide for themselves if they agree or not and how they will act. The speaker is in no way making that decision for any person, let alone doing so against that person’s will. The only case that could possibly be made is that certain people are prohibited from owning or possessing guns, but they are not restricted from having access to media, social or otherwise. If that is the argument, then the problem is not the production of guns, but the access to guns by people who demonstrate behavior that suggests they will use guns inappropriately and irresponsibly. It would make much more sense based on that argument to prohibit those same people from having access to media because they demonstrate behavior that suggests they will use information inappropriately and irresponsibly, perhaps even violently, rather than restricting the production and distribution of information. The same people who can be trusted to own guns, drive cars, own and cook with cast iron skillets, use construction tools and safely handle writing utensils can be fairly trusted to use information responsibly when it is provided to them, no matter how dangerous that information might potentially be if provided to someone who should not have access to it.

 

There’s just one more point I need to make, then I’m done. All speech is, to some extent, hate speech. If you have a positive opinion about something, then there is another thing on the opposite end of the spectrum about which you have an equally negative opinion. If, for example, your opinion is that children should be protected from sexual contact with adults, then your opinion of the protection of children from sexual contact with adults is a positive one. It would be fair to say, then, that your opinion of children being subjected to sexual contact with adults is a negative one. I expect, in fact, that you hate it. You may be very outspoken on the issue, voicing your strong support for protecting children and expressing just how much you hate sexual predators who target children. Other than those specific sexual predators, very few people would disagree with your expressed opinion or be offended by it. You could even say that sexual predators who target children should be killed, and who would blame you for thinking or saying it? Again, very few people. You could talk all day about how you hate people who abuse animals. Maybe you hate your boss and you’d like to strangle him. I’m sure plenty of you out there hate President Trump and have no problem telling the world exactly what you wish someone would do to him. But that’s just because you love children and animals, or because your boss is a jerk who doesn’t appreciate you and Trump is a lying scumbag who wants to destroy America. Well, true or not, it’s still hate speech. “All cops are bastards.” Hate speech. “America is systemically racist.” Hate speech. “No lives matter until black lives matter.” Hate speech and possibly a call to violent action. Everything you think is good and right and just is connected to something you think is bad and wrong and evil. You like the good things and you hate the bad ones. You should be free to express these opinions without fear of retribution other than the possibility of an argument with someone who disagrees.

 

It’s not bad or wrong to say what you think, even if what you think is very bad and very wrong. It’s not bad to tell people what you think they should do, even if what you think they should do is bad, wrong, and even violent. They are not required to listen to you. They are not required to obey you. They are not required to agree with you. They are not required to do anything except choose how to deal with the information. You are not responsible for that choice.

 

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tipplenurkey
tipplenurkey

Disabled veteran, father of 7 and crypto investor with a natural talent for research and a God-given gift with numbers.


tipplenurkey's thoughts
tipplenurkey's thoughts

My real name is Jordan. I'm a disabled combat veteran of the US Army, husband and stay-at-home father of seven. This will be the generic blog for all things not related to my website or potential earning opportunities.

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