EDITORIAL, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Why “Hate Speech” is Protected Free Speech
By Joe Jarvis - June 26, 2017

Freedom of speech is up there with guns for rights that Americans hold sacred. The political elite has to get creative when they try to take these rights away, lest the backlash makes them lose ground rather than gain it.

By and large, that has been the case with guns; everytime talk starts about restrictive gun control, gun sales soar. Most people realize banning guns would not be feasible, and even if it was, it would not reduce crime but rather leave people vulnerable. And it is encouraging to see many also realize that the prime reason for gun ownership is to prevent genocide, especially perpetrated by the government.

Then there is a cultural meme that seems so obvious I hardly mention it, yet it deserves the spotlight every now and then.

Free speech is being conflated with hate speech in true 1984 doublespeak. There was a time when it was obvious to anyone with a brain that the limits of free speech do not stop when speech becomes offensive. It was once so cherished that people like Voltaire and Evelyn Beatrice Hall expressed that even when they disagree with what someone says, it would still be worth it to defend to the death their right to say it.

That is a pretty profound commitment to free speech which supports principles over politics. But today rival political factions delight in their opponents being punished for their use of free speech. Oh, but of course it isn’t “free speech” they want to be banned, it is “hate speech.”

The left has always been particularly good at changing the meaning of words over time, a prime example being the word liberal which should mean freedom but now means everything I don’t like should be banned.

The Mayor of Portland Oregon is one of these extremists who tried to revoke permits for a free speech rally. Apparently, he missed the irony; Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was only trying to ban “hate speech” that incites violence. He tried to connect a stabbing on a train in Portland with pro-Trump “hate speech.”

The stabbings that killed two men who tried to intervene to stop a man harassing a woman wearing a hijab do seem to be inspired by anti-Muslim sentiments. But the crime was murder, not “hate speech.” Too many illegal things are pre-crimes or victimless crimes; they are illegal because people worry that they will lead to an actual crime with a victim.

But as soon as you cross that line into banning pre-crime, there is no limit. As soon as the government gets to define what constitutes “hate speech” and what could possibly lead to a crime, there is absolutely no limit on the amount of power they can accumulate.

More easily connected to inciting violence is the incident where a man shot members of the Republican Congressional baseball team. He was clearly motivated by the hateful and violent rhetoric of the left. And yet still, the left should absolutely be allowed to continue spewing their vitriolic talking points. Kathy Griffin pretending to be ISIS is distasteful, not criminal. The line is when words cross into actions, and violent actions are already illegal, it will not help to ban things that some claim lead to violent actions.

Even if the government could identify all the paths that lead to becoming violent, it still would not be appropriate to make those pre-crimes illegal. But of course, the government does not have an all seeing omniscient eye which can accurately identify all speech and actions which lead to violence. Instead, they will decide what actions and words they want to ban, and then make up some way that those things could lead to violence.

In this case, the Mayor tried to connect a stabbing to pro-Trump free speech protestors. In other cases, Theresa May tried to conflate internet freedom with terrorism. They say cash and cryptos are only for drug dealers, and that privacy means you have something to hide. At every turn, perfectly normal behaviors are classified as risk factors leading to illegal behaviors, and therefore worthy of regulation.

It is absurd to claim that free speech doesn’t protect “hate speech,”unpopular opinions, or even violent rhetoric. This country was founded by revolution. Clearly, the founders did not envision the limit to that speech to be when someone has their feelz hurt.

They didn’t even want it to be limited to non-violent speech. The founding fathers advocated taking up arms to protect their lives, liberty, and property from an oppressive government. The speech they used roused the people to violence in righteous resistance to tyranny.

The very fact that protesters must get permits to demonstrate shows that the right to protest or peaceably assemble has already been dismantled.

I have the right to speak my mind, no matter who agrees, and no matter if they want to label it violent speech, hate speech, or revolutionary speech.

We are well past the point of begging and groveling to the government to allow us to speak freely. If you must beg to exercise a right, it is not a right you have. We have some problems in this country, and I will use my freedom to call them out.

Violence is wrong except in defense, even when the perpetrator has a fancy costume, a shiny badge, or a government salary. I think it is appropriate to kill police who break into your home without a warrant because it is a natural human right to protect yourself against unjust force.

I think working for the IRS makes you a thief, and the agents deserve to be caged until they work off their debt to those they have robbed.

I think people have the right to break off from larger political bodies until they have found governing consensus among their voluntary groups, even if that means reducing the government to the size of a sovereign individual.

People may not agree with what I say, but if they seek to stop me by threat of force from speaking my mind, they are the violent ones, who must use the government’s guns to get their way. And that is the ultimate irony, that those who call for the banning of free speech because it causes violence have just one way to enforce their ban; through the violence of the state.

 

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  • …the ultimate irony, that those who call for the banning of free speech because it causes violence have just one way to enforce their ban; through the violence of the state

    BRAVO!

    • Lewie Paine

      You’re just too damn logical.

      🙂

    • Marten

      Wow….Nicely said

    • TheOneLaw

      “… those who call for the banning of free speech
      because it causes violence
      have just one way to enforce their ban:
      through the violence of the state.”

      In just a matter of minutes,
      this becomes a googleable quote
      in search of a graphic meme.

      Impressive

  • Col. Edward H. R. Green

    No one’s words, however hateful, however inflammatory, however provocative, can physically compel one to respond to them violently. One’s response is a matter of one’s volitional ability to choose whether and how one responds to them.

    The causal link between words and action is one’s individual power of choice over one’s own thinking and action. Words qua words are not metaphysically active. How one chooses to respond to them determines whether one’s actions–not the words–are a crime, i.e. a violation of legitimate individual rights, or not.

    Those who seek to prevent any kind of speech with which they disagree, including hateful speech, by threatening and initiating physical violence in retaliation for its utterance, are the truly hateful ones, the real criminals.

    They deserve the silence that will follow their death if they should attempt to initiate violence in order to silence those who take their right to freedom of speech as seriously as they take their other legitimate individual rights.

    • “No one’s words, however hateful, however inflammatory, however provocative, can physically compel one to respond to them violently.”

      That’s not entirely true though, is it? It depends on whether the ‘them’ being responded to are the words, or the person uttering them… but it also depends on the utterer.

      If you have the power to compel, then you are able to incite.

      A good example: if a religious Jesus-jihadi wingnut like “Bonkers Billy” Boykin (LtGen, US Army) says “My god is bigger than their god” and then tells his minions to go kill some hajjis, well, them soldiers best ‘respond to them [words]’ and go kill some hajjis or risk a firing squad. Refusing to follow a direct order to engage on the battlefield can lead to summary execution.

      So to rephrase what you said, to properly account for the fact that there are parasites whose edicts must be obeyed: “there can be no incitement in the absence of a legally-mandated entitlement to coerce compliance“.

      So let’s say that I write:

      All politicians, senior bureaucrats, and all the Little Eichmanns who enable them, should be expropriated, ground up and fed to pigs

      or

      Man will be free when the last politician is bludgeoned to death with the severed arm of the last police sniper“,

      That cannot be incitement even if someone agrees with me and acts on it – because the person who acts is under no compulsion from me to do so.

      But if some WVa no-GED-havin’ cracker who joined the Army rather than deal meth, gets an order from Bonkers Billy Boykin to participate in a war crime, he has almost no choice (as the Germans discovered, he can be put to death after the war ends if his side loses).

      To put it another way: if you assert – through rank or privilege – the power to coerce compliance, then you should be held accountable for every act that derives from the orders you give.

      After all, the actual trigger-pullers implementing the orders are just “stupid hunks of meat” (as Kissinger calls them) who are supposed to do what they’re told (and who do not have the brains to work out if an order is illegal or not… for that you need vermin like John Yoo and Jay Bybee).

      I am neither left nor right: I despise everyone who lives their lives by eating others’ taxes. That goes for every cop, soldier, bureaucrat… anyone whose paycheck is funded coercively.

      (Disclosure: I am ashamed to admit that I was a soldier in the 1980s: I was bored in school, … and 17 – I was disabused of the ‘Duty, Honour, Country’ malakies very early on, and DOR’d after one hitch).

      • Don Duncan

        Hitler’s minions were just as responsible as he, maybe more so. Yes, he was a great orator who mesmerized 10s of millions, but they were still responsible for themselves, their actions. Hitler could not be with them 24/7. Without minions, he was a third rate buffoon.
        Long before the order to “take that hill” comes there are hundreds of decisions a person makes that lead him to that final moment. If he fails to think out the full consequences of his actions, he is still responsible.

        • That’s true, however there were True Believers in the hierarchy below Hitler – right down to field officers, who were prepared to shoot their own men in the head if the men refused to participate.

          Also, in any military there are also about 5-6% of stone-cold killers who are there because they really, really like the freedom to give full rein to their desire to hurt others – people like Mad Dog “It’s Fun To Kill Some Folks” Mattis, or the US Army ‘hero’ who shot a wounded, unarmed prisoner while being recorded on video and faced zero consequences (the “Is he dead? He is now! hahahah” video).

          The Hitler regime is a bad example, because it’s rhetorically poisoned.

          I generally only use it for two purposes:

          (1) as an example of what happens when you get the largest proportion of the eligible vote that has ever been achieved in any full-franchise democracy (the March 1933 Reichstag election, in which the NSDAP got a larger share of the vote than any US President has ever got); and
          (2) as an example of what happens when you claim that God is on your side (the SS had “Gott Mit Uns” on their belt buckles).

          For ‘common or garden depravity’ I prefer to use examples like English officer-chappies – pukkha sahibs to a man, old sport – walking behind the troops in WWI, using their service revolvers to shoot any enlisted man who refused to advance. Those officers did not face execution if they permitted some scared 17 year old to rethink his enlistment and hide in a crater.

          That’s a far better example, because we simply don’t think of those cheeky chappies as inherently fiendish – which we do the moment the Nazis are mentioned.

          I am reminded of two nice quotations – one from Thoreau, the second from Erasmus:

          Thoreau:

          The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs [Unfair to horses and dogs, Thoreau old bean! K]. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens.

          Erasmus:

          At the first mention and whiff, as it were, of a campaign, the dregs of humanity are roused to come out of their hiding-places, and collect like bilge-water from all over the world: men burdened by disgrace or debt or fearful of the threats of the law on account of their misdeeds, or men who are conscious of their crimes and so think they cannot be safe in time of peace, or who have dissolutely squandered their capital and are now led astray by sordid poverty to the worse crime of robbing others. Finally, there are men whose evil disposition and evil mind so act on them (as if they were born for crime) that they would have dared to do such things at the risk of their lives even without the prospect of going unpunished or the offer of pay. Wars have to be carried on with these sweepings of humanity; such dregs have to be received into cities and homes, although a whole generation will hardly be enough to clean the stink from your citizens’ morals. If indeed we learn nothing so easily as depravity, there is also nothing so difficult to forget.

          • Don Duncan

            It’s been over 40 years since I read that quote by HDT. It certainly fits the psychological profile of the superstitious sacrificial animal as one who has made himself less than human.
            These pitiful empty shells of humanity are no threat to the thinking person. They line up to kill each other/be killed.

          • Col. Edward H. R. Green

            In this excerpt, Erasmus (1466-1536) described the kind of men who would comprise the French Foreign Legion (established 1831).

      • Col. Edward H. R. Green

        “If you have the power to compel, then you are able to incite.”

        One cannot verbally compel people to act. One must still rely on them to choose to act.

        One cannot physically incite anyone with one’s words alone. One’s listeners can choose either to act on one’s incitement, or not.

        The same reality pertains to an officer’s order. One has the power to choose to judge it, to obey it, or not, and deal with the consequences. Even those who just mindlessly “do as they are told” are choosing to be mindlessly compliant.

  • Centurian

    Say the wrong thing or support the wrong cause and they have a myriad of ways to punish you. Tax issues. Regulatory issues.Interference in your business etc.

    I had written a long and more detailed post, but it would only, likely draw more attention to my case as I am sure that it would be intercepted.

  • This is not really a ‘liberal/conservative’ issue (two halves of a false dichotomy). It’s a “power-seeker/human being” issue.

    In my taxonomy, anyone who seeks to wield power over others, absents themselves from ‘humanity’ as I define it: they identify themselves as a parasite to be dealt with as harshly as necessary to get them out of humans’ lives. They are no different to tapeworm, except that the scale of the damage they do is far greater.

    Also, let’s be clear: there are plenty of conservatives (especially the Jesus-freaks) who would relish the chance to impose their values on society. History is replete with examples: Richelieu, Torquemada, Cotton Mather, Arnaud Amaury – every bishop who ever consigned a non-believer or heretic to be burnt alive.

    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” was uttered by a conservative, and 20,000 innocents died. “We had to destroy the village to save it“: also a conservative.

    That’s what arises when ‘conservatives’ are keen to ‘conserve’ their power.

    Hypocrites all, with plenty of paedos and other deviants hiding behind suits and robes – but nonetheless they have the same moral compass as Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, or Stalin.

    And although I disagree with him about ends (and means), it is noted American Left(ish) academic Noam Chomsky who said one of the most profound things I’ve ever read… to paraphrase:

    “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for ideas we despise, then we don’t really believe in it at all.” (Chomsky originally said “people we despise”, but I think it’s better put in terms of ideas).

    • Don Duncan

      The best way to destroy an idea we despise is to let it be expressed in all its variants, over and over, so we may expose its weaknesses, its contradictions.

      This is why I did not support the Committee on UnAmerican Activities. This conservative led lynch mob wanted to punish a label, communism, without definition, without explanation, without debate. They wanted to silence a political idea, destroy it, by keeping it confined to the darkness. Well, the conservatives won. And the idea flourished, just like the harmful drugs they ban, and for the same reason. People don’t want to be prohibited from freely trying drugs or ideas. Conservatives, like progressives, know this but don’t care. They don’t respect freedom of any kind, except their freedom to oppress.

  • Don Duncan

    Presenting logical, well thought out arguments like in these comments presuppose laws are susceptible to argument. The law is a tool used in a system of institutionalized violence called government. Violence is not an argument. It is the refutation of argument by substituting violence. Therefore the law is not based on reason. When people argue law before the court they assume a reasonable presentation, the correct argument will decide the outcome. They same with arguing the validity of legislation. But to whom are they speaking? Their fellow citizens? Or to creatures of violence, bulwarks of the govt.? Are those who pursue a life of violence, even indirectly, going to be swayed by reason? Or are they going to pretend to be reasonable, and then act unreasonably? Isn’t that the reality? And don’t they get away with their blatant hypocrisy because their victims pretend to believe them?
    And now we find the root of the problem: The futility of making reasoned arguments to unreasonable people. When we address “willful blindness” maybe we can begin to lay the groundwork for a reasoned argument, but not before.

    • This hits one of the really key quandaries that people face when thinknig hard about government.

      There are a whole raft of common law maxims that predate the State, and, if applied to the State, completely undermine any claim it has to anything approaching a ‘right’ to enforce its edicts.

      Some of those maxims apply to the so-called ‘social contract’: if the ‘obligations’ of citizens derive from a contract, and the contract is synallagmatic (i.e., involves bilateral obligations), then government breaches the contract if it changes any of the terms… and the exceptio non adimplenti contractus applies: if one party is in breach, and the breach in not remedied, then other parties are no longer bound.

      There is also the maxim that dates from Roman times: frangenti fidem, fides frangatur eidem (“Break faith with those who have broken faith” – note that it is exhortative, not a suggestion).

      And if the “contract” is not synallagmatic, then it is not enforceable even under the State’s own law – because of an absence of consideration and an absence of proof of intention to create a legally-enforceable contractual relationship.

      There is also a common-law meta-argument against the State’s underlying legitimacy.

      The State generally asserts in its foundational documents (constitutions etc) that its power derives from consent, and also usually asserts representativeness – however the mechanism by which political mandates are obtained cannot be representative (that is, it cannot properly reflect social preferences) and consent that does not reflect social preferences cannot be valid since those whose preferences are being reflected are forcing those preferences on the rest of society.

      That can be said to be absolutely true: it’s a simple combination of the Arrow Impossibility Theorem (concerning ordinal voting mechanisms generally) and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem (concerning cote-counting mechanisms). These are not ‘fringe’ stuff: Arrow was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work, and the second theorem is also fully accepted as mathematically rigorous.

      The legal maxims that apply the moment Arrow and GS are understood, are two:

      (1) ratio legis est anima legis, et mutata legis ratione, mutatur ex lex – the reason for a law is the soul of the law, and if the reason changes, the law must change. (see, e.g., Milborn’s Case 7 Coke 7a King’s Bench [1609]).

      (2) (moving to more recent jurisprudence): cessante ratione legis, cessat et ipsa lex: if the reason for a law ceases, the law itself ceases (see, e.g., Boucher v. the King SCR 265 [1951] at 330, Fox v. Snow 76 A. 2d 877 [1950], Funk v. United States 290 US 371 [1933]).

      Arrow and Gibbard-Satterthwaite, taken together, show that claims of legitimacy deriving from consent or representativeness are false, ergo the “reason for the law” (‘the law’ being literally any enacted legislation) has ceased.

      Given that their legitimacy is now proved false, States cannot simply enact legislation exempting themselves from the common law principles that pre-date the Treaty of Westphalia.

      We have no duty to obey them: neither a contractual duty, nor a duty that derives from their representativeness – because neither are true.

      They know it, and they are desperately keen to ensure that We the Livestock are kept in our pens.

      Otherwise their hold over us will disappear, just as happened to the historical antecedents of the political class – the clerical class, who ruled us for 1500 years until the force of argument proved the falsity of their assertions of their ‘right’ to rule.

  • James A. Todaro

    The best defense of free speech is a good offense. Free speech advocates are always playing defense. Another encroachment of our rights, and another, and on and on. You can’t play defense forever and win. Over $25 trillion of assets and revenue streams are controlled by non-military, non-police uses of violence to control communication. Let’s put them out of existence and take the $25 trillion left behind. With numbers like that, you don’t have to win to get paid, there only has to be a one out of a million chance. Just make your claim, there’s nothing else to it http://www.itsunholy.com/freeoffer.html

  • Praetor

    Well, the guy in Portland was yelling I have free speech rights.

    The funny thing about the guy he supported Bernie. Another funny thing about this guy, I saw pictures of him over a period of years. One picture show him arrested at some point in the past for committing some crime, the one side of his face looked caved in and badly cut and bruised. Then the picture of his arrest after killing those two guy, his face and above his eyebrow were still caved in and a big scare. This guy had got beaten at some point of his first arrest. I would say he was mentally damaged by that beating. Not to make excuses, but mental health for this guy and two people would still be alive. There are to many mental ill people just walking around.

    You don’t have free speech if you’re in someones face and are threatening them with harm, mental or not. And lying is not free speech but is a crime, lying harms, it may not harm immediately but its harm will happen. A person finds out the lie and the harm begins.!!!

    • Rosicrucian32

      Why was the beating at the arrest your reason for his change in behavior? His active resistance at being handled by authorities may have been the cause for his injuries, but the damage emotionally to the individual is of unknown origin at this point. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying that there are no facts that prove or disprove that statement at this time.
      I agree with you that there is an abundance of individuals that could benefit from some type of counseling or long term mental health care that have not received it.

      • Praetor

        It’s only supposition! The first picture showed he was really smacked in the right eye area. The second picture shows a concaved area that was healed. I’m just saying. Brain damage can happen after bring kicked bunch hit in the head. He was defiantly a mental case and I do not think his real problem was political.

        The Politicians in this country are stoking violence and mental ill, alcohol/drug abuser and overly involved people in politics can become unhinged by the tension the politicos are fomenting.

        For this twit in Oregon to come out and say the words ‘hate speech’ is stoking the fire of violence.!!!

    • Col. Edward H. R. Green

      “You don’t have free speech if you’re in someones face and are threatening them with harm, mental or not.”

      Yes, you do have the right to freedom of speech even if you are facing and threatening someone with violence.

      The words alone do no harm. It is only when you choose to initiate the violence that you threaten that you have crossed the line and committed a crime.

      If the person whom you have threatened with merely your words initiates violence in response, that person is guilty of a crime, and you have the right to defend yourself.

      Words cannot physically compel one to respond physically to them. That is entirely a matter of choice.

      The proper response to threatening words is more words, not blows.

  • georgesilver

    So what are your thoughts on the “holocaust’ industry?

  • Praetor

    It’s like that old saying. One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Hate Speech is now fighting words. One mans hate speech is another mans free speech.!!!

  • Independent Voter

    sure it’s protected but not stopping someone from speaking when you don’t agree with them…… looting, burning and attacking people are not part of free speach

  • henrybowmanaz

    “There was a time when it was obvious to anyone with a brain that the limits of free speech do not stop when speech becomes offensive.”

    Indeed, the First Amendment comes into play ONLY for offensive speech. Speech that offends no one NEEDS NO PROTECTION.

  • teabagger_1

    It is the same with hate crimes. Crimes are just crimes. Most violent ones involve some level of hate. Words may be offensive, they are not criminal. The absurdity of the direction the politically correct have taken this nation have lead us to a form of stat-ism, you could also call it fascism, that the left seems to be the biggest purveyor of. It is a 21st century absolutism disguised as preventing injustice. When the reality is that what they do is far more unjust than any “hate speech” or words could ever be.

    They constantly change the rules to progress their aggrandized paradigm. The model they pimp has no relation to freedom. It is about control and societal engineering. They try to create a utopian prototype through forced assimilation. Conform or be ostracized or worse, incarcerated and/or terminated.

    Unfortunately we have a majority class that would prefer to go along since using a brain and thinking would be way to much work for them. Just as long as they have their measly paycheck and a television its all good. Most are completely brainwashed by an indoctrination system cloaked as education.

    On top of that we have so called journalism that should be the biggest defenders of speech who are signing on with the jackboots of the autocracy. Journalist that were once supposed to be the watchtowers for freedom, in reality they have become the guard towers of thought. The real reporters that do stand up to the barbed wire of tyranny are either thrown behind the wall or eliminated. Such is the condition of our so called “progressive” society. All brought to us by modern Liberalism. Unfortunately, it parallels totalitarianism.

  • ddearborn

    Hmmm

    The term “hate speech” like “enemy combatant” have no place in nor bearing upon our Rights as enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They are both in this context contemporary constructs designed specifically to circumvent the Constitution and illegally take away our rights. I have no doubt that our founding fathers would label as contemptible and seditious any individuals attempting to use such trickery to claim that these magic phrases somehow have the power to override the Bill of Rights. The fact that the Supreme Court has gone along with allowing the Judicial and Executive branches to steal our freedoms is evidence that rather than acting independently to protect and preserve the Republic, they are colluding to destroy it.

  • william beeby

    If you want to know who rules over you just think of those you cannot criticise , or something similar by Voltaire , is pretty near the mark. Most people know who calls the shots in the Western world but are afraid to say it . We can criticise polticians as much as we like because they are just front men in place to soak up the blame and then just leave the stage for the next lot of puppets.

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