Hate Speech

Devaluing Free Speech Will Always Backfire


Andy Lapham/Flickr

I've got a new piece up at The Week imploring progressives to think about what they're really risking when they rush to criminalize free expression. Some of the social justice left seem to believe that people "hide behind the First Amendment" because they love gay slurs and upskirt photos. Even more astonishingly, they think that broad laws criminalizing speech and expression could never be used in ways they don't intend. 

The shortsightedness with which the social-justice left embraces hate speech laws and other restrictions on free expression can only be chalked up to an extreme hubris, a belief that not only are they on the right side of history culturally and morally but that politically, things will never change either. Which seems unlikely. Ten years ago Karl Rove envisioned — and people (my young self included) legitimately feared — a "permanent Republican majority" built largely on socially-conservative concerns like opposition to same-sex marriage. LOL. Now even Michele Bachmann finds fighting marriage equality "boring" and the most compelling conservative candidate is the one calling for criminal justice reform instead of "traditional marriage."

Some see the takeaway here as progressivism having "won." But I think it's more realistically illustrative of the fickle nature of public opinion and party platforms. No, I don't see U.S. society going backward on things like gay rights. But look at the anti-abortion movement. Feminists thought they had abortion access locked in — and in fact, the country continues to trend in favor of abortion rights — but a loud, persistent, and passionate anti-abortion minority has managed to get more laws restricting abortion passed in the past few years than in the decades before.

When you're winning the culture wars, it tends to radicalize and mobilize the opposition. Even if U.S. society as a whole continues to become more liberal or libertarian, we'll still face folks who believe in the need for more authoritarianism, less gender equality, and less tolerance. Some of them will inevitably go into politics, law enforcement, and education. Some will become legislators. Prosecutors. Judges. City council members. School administrators. Police officers. Professors. And some will inevitably have wildly different conceptions of what constitutes "hate" or "obscenity" or "civility" than you or I may.

(…) It's not just a formal deference or fetishistic attachment to the Constitution that leads libertarians to push for very narrowly-written and interpreted speech restrictions. It's because this framework provides a means for free speech to be meaningful without regard to fickle cultural norms or prevailing political power.

Read the whole thing here. But might I suggest not reading the comments? 

NEXT: Meet the Conservative Federal Judge Who May Force SCOTUS to Rule on Gay Marriage

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  1. That commenter Bob Jack is an example of someone who is so stupid that he has no idea that he is stupid and thus thinks he is pretty smart. I believe it’s called unconscious incompetence.

    1. how the fuck could you even decipher that incoherent slog.

    2. Stupid or dishonest? I can’t decide. Bob Jack, that is, in case there was any doubt.

    3. I remember Bob Jack from his movies in the 70s. He was some sort of American Indian martial arts expert.

    4. On the far left side:


      1. You beat me by a minute. That’s just as bad as lynching darkies and commies.

      1. That Diane Kruger sure has an effect, AMIRITE FELLAS?

    5. So he’s basically a mini-Krugman?


  2. Come on ENB. Don Rusho is kind of right, I do hate me some commies.

    1. Yes, but I’ve never heard anyone credible in the liberty sphere seriously suggest that it was ok to lynch or otherwise attack commies, as much as we dislike and disagree with them. Because we actually believe in rights, even for people we don’t like.

      1. Come on Tonio you never thought it? not even once?

        1. The measure of a man consists largely of the difference between what crosses his mind, and what he says and does.

          1. That’s beautiful, but also makes me think I might be a belligerent retard.

            1. ‘Belligerent retard’ is a truly exceptional image.

        2. Unfortunately, i do think the commies will have no problem coming to lynch us, or round us up into camps, or just execute us in our homes because FYTW.
          amirite comrade?

      2. Well, it will be ok if they get power, because they’ll go on a murder spree that can only be stopped by violence. Same for neo-Nazis. But until then, we abide.

    2. Sure, but until an unless a commie actually tries to take my property or march me to a gulag, all they’ll get from me is a hearty “Fuck off” whenever they’re preaching their commie bullshit.

      I don’t get physical before the other guy does.


  3. Another good article, ENB. And thank your for braving the fever swamps of proggie thought for us.

    The real issue is that progs do not believe in rights in the same way we do. Their conception of rights is mostly focused on positive rights – their imagined rights to never be subjected to speech which they find offensive, for example. Also, they are only concerned with outcome, not process or principle.

    1. They are also concerned with rights for people whom they like. Once you fall outside of the tribe, you forfeit all rights. That’s why they have no problem with what to us looks like glaring doublethink and why they never stop to think that their proposals might backfire.

  4. The shortsightedness with which the social-justice left embraces hate speech laws and other restrictions on free expression can only be chalked up to an extreme hubris, a belief that not only are they on the right side of history culturally and morally but that politically, things will never change either

    This is partly true, but I think another, very important factor is that the social-justice left (let’s just go SJL) only cares about intentions, not results. As long as their intentions are noble (in their minds), nothing that comes of their actions matters, and frankly, they don’t care. They fought the big bad bigots or homophobes or whoever, and now they can bask in the glow they feel. Is everyone less free? Will innocent people get screwed in the future? None of that matters. Actions and results don’t matter. Only intentions matter, and those intentions need to be shown loudly to as many people as possible so they see how noble they are.

    1. “They fought the big bad bigots or homophobes or whoever, and now they can bask in the glow they feel. Is everyone less free? Will innocent people get screwed in the future? None of that matters. Only intentions matter, and those intentions need to be shown loudly to as many people as possible so they see how noble they are.”

      YES. This.

      1. True. But, I wonder if it occurs to them that Pat Buchanan, Rick Santorum and Tony Perkins all think their particular goals and intentions are noble?

        1. SJL: But… But… They’re Wrong

          1. Maybe.

            But, what the hell’s right and wrong got to do with it? It’s intentions that count, remember?

        2. The intentions of evil people are Evil, of course. Duh.

          1. Didn’t you watch cinderella as a kid? Evil people have hook noses and wear black!

        3. Yes i believe he did touch on PB, RS, and TP, they fall under the blanket of “progressives”


      3. Elizabeth Nolan Brown

        “Even if U.S. society as a whole continues to become more liberal or libertarian, we’ll still face folks who believe in the need for more authoritarianism,…… ”

        This seems to me that you are saying that liberals are not seekers of authoritarianism themselves and would “face” folks who are ?

        My impressions are that liberals are the seekers of authoritarianism themselves and only project it on others.

        After all, didn’t the Democrat Senate just vote overwhelmingly to restrict free speech that they deem “unreasonable” ?

        1. those aren’t liberals, those are statists…. Libertarians are liberal, Anarchists are liberal, Constitutionalists are liberal.
          Democrats are statists
          progs are statists
          republicans are statists
          socialists are statists
          and people who call themselves liberal are usually statists

    2. SJL is the Southern Jewish League, which is an organization of Jewish rednecks–you know, Confederate flags, big trucks, guns, bourbon, the whole shabbat. Kind of like of like the Milius fan club.

      1. That sounds entertaining.

        I thought the received label for lefty goons was “Social Justice Warriors” or “SJW”.

        1. I made that up, of course, but I actually have known a couple Jewish rednecks. And an Indian one and, for that matter, several black ones. The world is much weirder and diverse than our media and political “leaders” believe.

          1. Do the “Stars and Bars” flown by Jewish rednecks use six pointed stars rather than five pointed stars?

            1. Ah, I see you’re familiar with the SJL.

      2. Sounds plausible until you factor in BBQ.

        1. Brisket, mother fucker!

          1. Right. God hates Jews, which is why he won’t let them eat lobster, shrimp, and above all, pulled pork.

          2. He meant, REAL BBQ, not that stuff heathens eat.

            1. Pork!

      1. That looked suspiciously like mansplanation.

      2. I don’t know where you get the energy to go back and forth with someone like that (and yes, that’s a very good example). Do you take a lot of amphetamines?

        1. Oh my gosh, I don’t know where people do either. I almost never do, but I was on a wifi-enabled plane. And drinking.

          1. Yep, the drinking does it to me too. I end up pissing off relatives and high school classmates by disproving their posts sentence by sentence.

            1. I usually disprove posts sentence by sentence…

              But I don’t drink. So I guess that makes me worse?

              1. Worse but not the worst… We all know who the worst is.

          2. Bored, drunk, and tweeting is no way to go through life, Elizabeth.

            1. Are you joking? Add some creepshotting in there and you have a day well spent.

            2. You end up doing this.

      3. Someone posted that earlier. It baffles my mind how can someone be so ignorant yet so self-assured/smug at the same time. Also Twitter seems like it takes all the worst parts of the facebook and amplifies it by like a thousand.

        1. Arrogance and ignorance are frequently combined to disastrous effect.

          1. They’re so often in phase. The resonance is amazing to see.

            1. Highly correlated phenomena. Does one cause the other, or are they caused by a third, unknown factor, which I call. . .Q?

          2. Arrogance – the feeling stupid people have before they understand the gravity of the situation.

            1. Hahahaha so true

        2. Someone mentioned this yesterday, but Twitter: The scrolling suicide note of Western civilization.

          1. I like it..

      4. I would find it very hard to comprehensively rebut the entirety of his idiocy in Twitter form. Topics so dynamic and robust as the mental instability of this moron deserve 50 pages in a psychology journal.

      5. Are you a Republican? If not, the entire argument is pointless.

      6. “Trans* rights” are “common sense”? I don’t know, I have a hard time thinking of complex, internally-contradictory demands invented in the last few years as “common sense.”

        1. That depends on what you mean by “transsexual rights”. If it means the same constitutional rights as everybody else, I think it is obviously common sense.

          Of course, you should be free not to associate with, or do business with a transsexual; but then, you should also be free not to associate with, or do business with, a Catholic or atheist or Republican or Democrat.

      7. Oh why did I click that link?…I come here to escape that stupid bullshit of “CONFORM OR DIE!!” which is really all that Charles guy is saying throughout this entire exchange.

        To Progressives, individuality = diversity of the outside, not diversity of the inside.

    3. And they’re too stupid to realize that banning hate speech doesn’t eliminate hate.

      But once again, modern slacktivism demonstrates that supporting a law is a lot easier than doing the hard work of trying to convince those who hold hateful views that they are wrong. So much easier to vote to restrict speech and get that warm feeling in your tummy.

      1. It is much easier to recognize and avoid bigots when they’re tolerated and generally ignored. When you force them underground, they spit in your food and key your car rather than being outwardly offensive.

      2. They don’t care about eliminating hate. They care about being seen fighting it. And as bigotry lessens, they have to take the fight to greater heights in order to get their “noble glow”, and they don’t care if that means going into the realms of banning speech and hate codes and creepy consent laws. Because it’s all about them. If the hate was eliminated, they’d have no way to get their noble feeling on. They will find hate somewhere, don’t you worry, even if it’s actually coming from them.

        1. Moral preening as signaling. Look how superior and tolerant I am.

        2. They don’t care about eliminating hate.

          Indeed not. Their whole schtick is based on hating. As long as you hate the right people, though, its a good hate, or something like that.

          1. The whole “two wrongs don’t make a right” is lost on these people, isn’t it?

            1. Yes, because it is based on the concept that the ends do not justify the means. They categorically reject that principle, because it feels better to do something that will “help” no matter whether it actually helps or not. (see the holocaust, gulag, killing fields, eugenics, forced sterilization, victimless crime, alien and sedition acts, disrespect of authority crimes, and on and on)

              The reality of the means are of no consequence when the intent is to achieve good ends. The SCOTUS has a phrase for this when evaluating Congressional statutes for constitutionality under the Commerce clause. They call it “rational basis.” Congress has to have a rational basis for believing that their act would have affected interstate Commerce. They could be completely wrong, but it’s all about the feels and the intent, not about the means and the result.

              1. Evil is its own reward?

                We could really use an American Stoicism movement. Along with a Re-Enlightenment.

              2. You are completely correct. That’s why I love sharing this article with people like that whenever I encounter them…much to their annoyance, of course.


            2. “The whole “two wrongs don’t make a right” is lost on these people, isn’t it?”

              To the ideologue, their decision is never “wrong” in their mind. It’s just the egg you break to make the omelette.

        3. Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
          And the black folks hate the white folks.
          To hate all but the right folks
          Is an old established rule.


          Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
          And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
          All of my folks hate all of your folks,
          It’s American as apple pie.


          Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
          And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
          And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
          And everybody hates the Jews.

          — National Brotherhood Week, by Tom Lehrer

        4. If the hate was eliminated, they’d have no way to get their noble feeling on. They will find hate somewhere

          Which explains how the hysteria about racism has grown in recent decades, while actual racism has been on the decline.

        5. This has to be true for some of the more die-hard, loony progressives (many of the ones in academia, for example, or who make a living being grievance-mongers), but I think far more lefties have simply been bamboozled by fraudulent, evidence-free theories from the academic left. These theories tend to push all the right emotional buttons for certain people. In the same way cults snare perfectly intelligent people who are in vulnerable places in their lives, progs snare people by preying on their vulnerabilities. (Most extreme ideologies work the same way, actually.)

          It’s hard for me to ever believe large groups of people are actually “evil.” Confused and deceived? That I’ll buy.

          1. First paragraph is very insightful.

            1. By the second paragraph, I just meant that when groups of people are demonized as inherently “bad,” it sets off a red flag for me. Extreme ideology and cultures can warp large numbers of people, sure, as can extreme circumstances. And there are always dysfunctional people. But I think it’s simplistic, unrealistic, and mere tribalism to point to any demographic and say, “these guys are just bad by nature.”

              Science has confirmed the existence of empathy (our something currently indistinguishable from it) in creatures as simple a mice. Everything points to empathy being inherent in the human animal by default. Political correctness is bullshit, but there does seem to be some evidence for the belief that most people are decent and “good.”

    4. Thought ungoverned by emotion is devoid of compassion. Emotion ungoverned by thought is devoid of reality.

      1. Nice. I admire your pacing.

        I also like:
        “Thoughts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.” by I. Kant.

  5. Even if U.S. society as a whole continues to become more liberal or libertarian, we’ll still face folks who believe in the need for more authoritarianism, less gender equality, and less tolerance.

    Hate to break it to you, Ms. Brown, but the progressives you’re trying to address are the biggest champions of those things. The notion that the devil might turn ’round on them is entirely outside the scope of their imaginations.

  6. Lotta derp over there…gosh, those damn libertarians really are a fascist bunch – and RELIGIOUS too!!!

    1. Some people do pick peculiar things to be passionate about. I like to fancy myself a lint collector.

        1. Again with the again.

          1. Lint with the Lint!

  7. Harry T. Bagger ? a day ago
    “The court’s decision was widely panned by leftist media”

    Leftist media? Where?

    Awesome handle, but honestly didn’t these people ever learn that the first rule is to never believe your own propaganda? I mean at least most people I know who vote dem acknowledge that most news programs at least lean left.

    1. Well, if you’re a Trotskyite, the mainstream media is a bunch of right-wing reactionaries. When people say “the media is not left-wing,” what they often mean is “I am more left-wing than the media.”

      1. Indeed. I’ve had this argument. You’d be surprised at how many people think that every day The New York Times doesn’t demand that the Workers Strike and March on Washington and that the Capitalist Bankers be imprisoned is further ‘proof’ of the Right Wing control of mass media.

  8. N*GG*ER!!!!

    1. I don’t understand what this acronym means, It’s not even featured on Urban Dictionary.

      1. I believe it means that the sheriff is a near.

  9. So was the ‘shouting fire in a crowded theatre’ guy anti-Iraq War during the Bush years? Jail time for him. Because that phrase comes from the Oliver Holmes ruling that the defendant’s speech against the draft violated the Espionage Act of 1917. Stop interfering with the government’s ability to recruit, Bob Jack!

    1. Holmes’s quote was “falsely shouting fire in a theatre”. IOW, something deceitful said in order to cause harm. Holmes being the authoritarian he was, he said this in a decision upholding the constitutionality of conscription. (A fact I delight in pointing out to leftists).

      As for the simplified quote without the “falsely” to modify the verb, I would hold that a person has a positive moral duty to give warning of serious danger, such as there being a fire in a building.

      1. I’m aware of the full quote, I’m more just commenting on the idiocy of applying that argument to anything without understanding the actual historical consequences of that argument.

      2. Wasn’t it actually upholding the constitutionality of jailing someone for criticizing the draft?

      3. True, but I think I’d yell it as I was exiting through the doorway.

      4. A lot of leftists support conscription as it is “more fairer”. They also support conscription into mandatory community service.

  10. I love how all the idiots go out screeching about the “fire in a crowded theater” bit forgetting that decision was later overturned.

  11. Last weekend,as I was channel hopping instead of doing something useful, I landed on some Hitler Channel show about teh Nazi Americanus. At one point, just before I changed the channel, the narrator was expostulating in horrified tones about how George Lincoln Rockwell was exploiting his First Amendment Rights to spread his American Nazi Party propaganda.

    Plainly, the Constitution is a suicide note.

  12. But might I suggest not reading the comments?

    Elizabeth, you’re just afraid they’ll call you out, you gay-marriage hating conserving conservative!

  13. Don’t read the commentz? Why not?

    So, if I’m understanding the crybaby tone of this article correctly, I can yell ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded cinema like an asshole because everyone will “interpret it differently” – and also, because Jebus blessed America with Free Speechifyin’, so stoopid libbrals just need to shut up and let right-wing dipshits keep on calling the President “Obammy”.



    1. I’m sure that brain surgeon was oh so concerned when people called Bush McChimpy.

      1. It’s Chimpy McFlightsuit. Get it right.

    2. This guy’s a charmer.

      Wesley2006 ? a month ago
      I’m just waiting for someone to chloroform Zimmerman, strip him naked, paint ‘I kill nigger kids’ on his back & then drop him off right in the middle of Harlem.

      Then let justice take its course.

      Discussion on Wired.com

      1. That is a nice feature at the Week, being able to quickly see all of the comments someone leaves.

    3. So… he thinks people who call the President “Obammy” should be imprisoned? Is that what he’s advocating?

      1. Well to be fair, I don’t think he specifically mentioned imprisonment. He might be ok, with massive fines and public shaming, for any media source that posts their individual ‘hateful’ comments. Of course, the government would need to hire thousands of new Media Monitors to deal with such cases, but hey that’s creating new jobs. So it’s a twofer.

  14. Mahjudd ? 15 hours ago
    You are addicted to that “Land of the Free” Kool-Aid, Beth.
    ? Reply?Share ?

    1. Well, people do need to be disabused of the notion that they live in “the land of the free.”

  15. I don’t think it’s about progressives not understanding the consequences. I think the understand the consequences better than some of us do.

    Progressivism is the belief that the coercive power of government should be used to force individuals to make sacrifices for what they see as the common good. The biggest obstacle to that is people believing that they have individual rights.

    When they undermine rights like free speech, it isn’t because they don’t understand the consequences. No, they don’t want the Koch brothers to be free to express themselves, but more importantly, they don’t want people to think they have rights that can be exercised that are in conflict with their vision of the common good.

    They don’t even care about their own individual rights much, to the point that they’ll make a spectacle of themselves and their willingness to sacrifice their own rights. It’s how they show their devotion to the progressive cause.

    1. I think there’s possibly a lot of truth to this. It may not be something progressives understand about themselves, but it would be internally consistent.

  16. “literally counting the days until we can start lynching darkies”!!!!

    It’s not even lunchtime, and I can barely stand up.

  17. I’ll also ask, when the screw turns (and it always does), what do these idiots think they’ll have to rely on?

    1. Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
      More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
      Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
      More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast? man’s laws, not God’s? and if you cut them down?and you’re just the man to do it?do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

      1. That one is a particular favorite of mine (I sort of reference it above). That scene (hell, the whole play) should probably be mandatory for all high school students. You can pretty much guarantee it won’t.

        1. “A Man for All Seasons,” I assume?

          1. Yup. Probably not a damned thing near historically accurate. The More in the play was a lot more uniformly admirable. Some great points about individualism, conscience and rule of law.

      2. “The devil will turn on us in any event if the Republicans are elected. Because they’re evil, they won’t have to use any of our precedents to justify their oppression, they will commit such oppression simply out of their own evilness. Unless we suppress them and prevent them from taking over.”

        /did this pass the ideological Turing test? Not quite, but I think I’m getting close.

        1. No, too much thinking, not enough feeling.

          More like this:

          “We need to press Ginsburg to step down now and hope that one or two of those teabagging domestic terrorists who took money from the kochtopus to pass Citizens United into fake law keels over from sheer bigotry! Then Obama will finally be greed from the chains the Republicans have put on him for 6 years and can establish a true forward thinking court! Maybe then we can start working on convicting these traitors of the hate crimes that define them and lock up these fundie teabagging bigots once and for all! Wait what was the question again? I was too busy recovering from when the cashier triggered me by man’s planning about how much money he was giving back to me. Stupid Patriarchy! I know how to count my money, and I don’t need a man to do it! “

          1. *freed (although greed is acceptable there as a Freudian slip)


        2. I think you’ve come pretty close, as well. Of course, all that ignores the wide swath of the public that isn’t a solid Team player, doesn’t it? Why should they believe the action is evil when Team Red does it, but not Team Blue?

          1. Well, all those others will quickly agree with the Left, just as soon as the evil, lying Right Wing media is shut down. The only reason that most people don’t vote hard Left is they’ve been brainwashed for years by the Right wing corporations and their funded shills and politicians. /derp

    2. They’re convinced that everybody wants what they want–except for the 1% and ignorant who watch Fox News.

      They’re like Moonies, they’re so sure of their popular support.

    3. Good intentions and magic. These idiots can’t rely on anything because they have absolutely no plan for the future. I see this attitude all the time, they’re just pretending the death of the Republican Party and the continued rule of the Democrats forever, the return of a ‘better’ socialism, the death of organized religion, etc. They literally can’t think of an outcome where they don’t win. Probably why they flip the hell out when they do.

      1. *They’re just predicting dammit.

      2. :Probably why they flip the hell out when they do.

        Unlike those conservatives who took to losing the Presidency to that voter-fraud committing secret muslim marxist non-citizen just fine these past six years! lol

        1. Says the moron throwing a hissy fit on a libertarian website about conservatives. Lib-er-tair-ee-uh-n. Look it up.

          And for Vishnu’s sake, drop the lol, what are you, a fourteen year old?

          1. Conservative/libertarian, potato/potahto.

            1. Dr Doom/Moron, potato/potahto.

              1. What was that about being fourteen years old? lol

                1. Your claim above validates my ‘moron’ criticism. It’s not my fault you can’t understand the difference between different political philosophies. It is, however, entirely your fault for spewing your ignorance all over this comments thread.

                  1. It’s a Dunphy sock… All he’s missing is “hth”, “smooches”, and doing Morgan Freeman at the beach.

                  2. Trotskites were sure most people didn’t understand the difference between them and Stalinists either. They kept seeing them both as commies, the rats!

                    1. Shorter Dr. Doom: I know nothing about my ideological opponents, nor am I willing to learn anything to actually argue against them. I’m happy to remain stupid and ignorant.

                      Oh wait, that’s longer and more coherent than you.

      3. Even supposing that the Permanent Democratic Party Majority does come into effect and the ‘revolution’ is accomplished, do they imagine that there will be complete ideological conformity thereafter.

        I’d suggest they look up the phrase “the revolution devours its own children.”

  18. Social Justice Warriors also can’t get enough of the anti-gay slur “teabagger” for people who disagree with them. It’s OK when they do it.

    1. They also use that as if teabagger is somehow a blanket term for Republican.

      If only!

      Biggest threat to the Republican establishment in their generation, and they’re over there demonizing it.

  19. Conservatives are just angry because they’ve had exception to free speech written into the law for things that get their panties in a bunch for a long time and now liberals are trying to get in the game.

    1. What exceptions are you talking about?

      P.S. You find any conservatives around here, let us know.

      1. Things that make conservatives’ panties bunch, like obscenity which offends their FSM’s sensibilities or business secrets as trade secrets or business reputations as libel.

        So of course people should be able to engage in the most harassing sexual advances or perpetuating harmful racial stereotypes, but lawd forbid some poor businessman’s reputation is besmirched or somebody’s privates get shown.

        1. You’re babbling there, chief.

          1. Gimme examples!

            Examples given.

            Um, you’re crazy!

            If this I what passes for debate in these circles I can see why 2% of the vote would be double the usual.

            1. Let me help you out here, stereotypes don’t go away because you ban words.

              I mean why not ban certain movies because they perpetuate violence?

              1. The stereotypes were made by the law, they can be combatted by the law. But don’t worry, I’m not talking about using the law to ‘ban’ such stuff. I just think it should be made unacceptable in public spaces.

                1. Oh God!

                  It’s fucking Tulpa guys!

                  Why the hell do we keep falling for his shtick!?!?

                  1. What the fuck is a Tulpa?

                    1. Nice try, Tulpa! God! You didn’t even last one thread before people figured out it was you!!!!!

                      Don’t you ever get embarrassed?!? You suck so much you can’t even pull off pretending to be a retarded progressive commenter!

                      One fucking thread!!!! One… fucking… thread!!!!! This is even lamer than your Lt Womack effort!

                    2. You are a bit crazier than the rest of the commenters here I notice.

                2. So there were no stereotypes before the law?

                  1. Maybe, but the ones that are usually targeted are the ones the law pushed. You know, that women can’t practice law or own their own property or that black people are lazy no good criminal workshirkers.

                    1. And sicne those laws no longer exist, why are the stereotypes so harmful again?

                    2. Why are stereotypes harmful? Holy shit, talk about obtuse.

                    3. You claimed that certain laws created stereotypes (false). When I pointed out those laws are long gone, you can’t be bothered to answer why the stereotypes are so harmful, sicne we’ve already rejected the laws that purportedly caused them.

                      And this doesn’t even go into the fact that just because a stereotype is spoken, it doesn’t follow that the listener has to agree with it.

                      I can claim the moon is made of cheese, it doesn’t make it so.

                    4. Fact: laws oppressed people like women and blacks, keeping them from reaching their potentials for most of our history

                      Fact: these laws kept them in an economically and politically bad state and people started to assume and apply stereotypes to them to explain why they were in that state

                      Fact: the laws being removed doesn’t make the stereotypes go away

                      Fact: the stereotypes still harm the groups because people are less likely to hire or vote for them and other things

                    5. The last is opinion not fact. But thanks for giving a history lesson on harmful laws passed by our government and failing to make the connection to the point of this article.

                      I’m also impressed that you think banning a few words will somehow lead to boom times for women and minorities.

                    6. Dr. Doom also seems to hold the very questionable assumption that, because something is a stereotype, there is (apparently by definition) no truth to it.

            2. Those peasants, and their crazy idea’s.

        2. “or business secrets as trade secrets or business reputations as libel.”

          As far as I’m aware, such speech is not banned, people are simply held responsible for the material damages they cause by speaking.

          I mean, if I discover and publicly announce the password to your bank account and it gets drained, it isn’t a rejection of freedom of speech to believe that I owe you repayment of everything in that account, any more than it’s a rejection of the second amendment to believe at minimum I need to pay your hospital bills if I shoot you in the face with birdshot on a hunting trip.

          1. :people are simply held responsible for the material damages they cause by speaking.

            Yeah, it’s totally not banned, they just haul you into court and make you pay a fine, whoops I mean damages!

            1. Free speech doesn’t give you the right to violate someone else’s rights like the right to bear arms doesn’t give you the right to violate their rights with a gun.

              I don’t see why that’s hard to understand. It’s so common sense, it looks like you’re being willfully obtuse.

              1. It’s Tulpa. That’s the definition of willfully obtuse.

              2. And businessmen just have the natural right not to have their business reputations besmirsched.

            2. Apparently no rebuttal for the example I gave.

              1. Here’s your rebuttal: we decide that speech that harms someone by revealing their bank account number can be restricted and we can decide that speech that harasses someone or perpetuates harmful stereotypes we are fighting in many other ways is also harmful and can be restricted. See?

                1. So being offended is the same as having your bank account robbed?

                  1. Apples and oranges can be found in the fruit section.

                    You: so apples are the same as oranges! Gotchaz!

                    1. I guess you didn’t want to answer the question.

                    2. I did, you just don’t get the answer. Combating ‘bank robbery’ is a worthy goal and combating stereotypes that have been specially harmful in our history can be another. That does not make them the same or anything or say we should combat them in the same way of course.

                    3. So much question begging/ Who determines “specially harmful in our history” or “worthy goal”?

                    4. Who determines it w/regard to your example? To libel? To obscenity? See?

                    5. I didn’t give an example, so no, I don’t see.

                    6. You gave the same bank example as the guy before you.

                    7. Yes, and the direct result of that action is a bank accoutn being robbed. A clear crime and victim. Somethign your example is sorely lacking without the metal gynmastics of terms like “specially harmful in our history”.

                    8. we can decide that speech that […] perpetuates harmful stereotypes we are fighting […] is also harmful and can be restricted

                      So, perhaps there should be laws preventing race being mentioned in news reports of wanted criminals? Because those wanted criminals are disproportionately black, and it’s a stereotype that blacks are criminals. And maybe those laws should extend to fictional portrayals in books and on TV and in movies.

        3. So you’re the arbiter on what words are truly bad?

          1. No clearly you are.

            1. I’m not the one pushing for speech restrictions, nor lecturing others on what types of speech are truly harmful. Duh.

              1. No, you’re selectively complaining about recent attempts by liberals to ‘ban’ some speech while you seem fine an dandy with the much more entrenched exceptions to free speech that are conservative friendly. Double duh!

                  1. OK, so Tulpa is some ex of yours or something or some former commenter here? Of course I must be this Tulpa because no one could have read this silly tripe on the Week and linked over here an saw this golden treasure trove of simpleton comments. Whatever.

                1. is it conservative friendly if I can’t libel or slander Dr. Doom without consequences? show your work.

            2. NO U !!!

        4. Libel isn’t an exception to free speech. Neither are laws against threatening to shoot someone if they don’t open the cash register.

          Just because the government can’t restrict your right to say something doesn’t mean you can’t be held responsible for using your speech to violate someone else’s rights.

          By your definition of our Constitutional rights, the Second Amendment should give us the right to shoot people indiscriminately. That’s stupid. Just because you have the right to bear arms doesn’t mean you can’t be held responsible for violating other people’s rights with a gun.

          …and the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to violate someone else’s rights with your speech either.

          Fraud is a crime for good reason, even if it’s spoken.

          1. Libel protects a person’s monetary reputation. It’s a businessperson’s exception. Comparing it to robbery is some tasty derp.

            1. So, when did you switch from watching Firefly to watching the new Iron Man cartoon Tulpa?

              Is it better than the young Iron Man cartoon (with Tony Stark as a high school student) that’s streaming on Netflix?

              1. Von Doom Tony Stark in every way.

                Does Tony Stark have a time machine? Nuff said.

            2. This isn’t the UK, truth is a defense to claims of libel and slander.

              1. This isn’t the UK, truth is a defense to claims of libel and slander.

                But telling lies is otherwise protected free speech.* I think Dr. Dumb has a point here. Does a person really have a right to a good reputation? If you slander someone with falsehoods and their reputation doesn’t suffer, no harm no foul, but if their reputation does suffer, then you’ve somehow violated their right to a good reputation? I don’t see it.

                *Also with the exception of fraud. Now, I would argue that a person does have a right to honesty in contracts and commercial transactions.

            3. If you violate a business owner’s rights, why should he be treated differently than anyone else?

              … because it’s a business owner?!

              You’re the one that seems to be carving out some kind of exception. Why do you imagine business owners don’t have the same rights as everyone else?

              1. Ken! You realize you are wrestling with Tulpa right?

                You are wasting your time! He’s arguing in bad faith telling himself he is doing you a favor by educating you while what he’s really doing is gratifying his base appetites for controlling someone. Just walk away. Nobody benefits from interacting with Tulpa.

                1. Not until y’all pointed it out.

                  And reading some of those comments people are quoting, it just looked like some idiot progressive strayed in.

                  And to be honest, this still reds to me more like Mary. But I guess all of you can’t be wrong.


              2. You are really struggling with the analogy here buddy. The point is that libel is the exception carved out for businessmen. Trying to fit it under someone’s ‘rights’ shows just how duped you are into accepting the exceptions conservatives like.

                1. So if I found your real name, Dr. Doom, and then actively spread information that you were a pedophile, and that information lead to you being mistreated, you wouldn’t sue me for libel because libel is an evil businessman’s right, correct?

                  1. Like a lot of things that were created to protect the vested interests of the powerful they can be used to actually help others too. Libel was obviously an exception carved out of the ‘free speech’ mantra to protect businesspersons, but it could be used to protect Joe the Plumber types too. And just like we have had exceptions for sexually obscene speech we could include as obscene horrible racial slurs and such. That’s what I’m talking about.

                    1. Libel laws have a much longer history than protecting busines people.

                    2. Shit, libel has a much longer history than this idea of “free speech.”

                    3. I don’t think Dr. Doom is particularly concerned with facts or logic. His attempt to classify libel as some “exception to protect business persons” is completely ridiculous.

                      At least if he had gone with using rich people instead of business persons, his argument might have a slightly better grounding in reality, since historically only the rich bothered to sue over libel. Still, there are probably thousands of cases in modern America of a non-rich, non-business person suing for defamation.

                      Also, instead of libel, he really means “defamation”., which includes both libel and slander.

        5. Go look up the difference between civil and criminal law; you seem to have a major gap in understanding there.

    2. Some examples….

  20. Thanks for using the term “progressive” rather than liberal. It is a pet peeve of mine that the term “liberal” has come to be associated with statist authoritarianism. There is nothing liberal about censorship and progressives are anything but liberal in any genuine sense of the term.

  21. “Yelling Fire in a crowded theater”

    If these people understood that this was an analogy used to describe protesting the draft, in order to allow a racist, nationalist president to imprison the Socialist presidential candidate who ran against him, would they still use it?

    1. Yes they would.

      Because the vast majority of them are as mentally crippled as Dr Doom above. They have no knowledge of the past. They aren’t curious. Like Outer Party members in 1984, they think what they are told to think because its all they have.

      1. I need to amend my comment above.

        It’s really apparent that Dr Doom is Tulpa trying to edumacate insufficiently socratic liberty lovers while making the puppets dance!

        Dr Doom isn’t a proggie; he is an angry retard’s impression of one.

        1. I never understand how you can tell that. I’m not doubting you. I just can’t tell the difference.

  22. If I’m a conservative, it’s in the Barry Goldwater sense of the term.

    I want to abolish Medicare, social security, and the income tax, but I also want legalize marijuana, opposed the Iraq War, and think abortion should stay legal (even if it is unethical), support gay marriage, etch.

    I’m just a libertarian. Conservatives hate me.

  23. I’ve got an idea! Compare libertarians to conservatives, bash conservatives, and then expect libertarians to defend them! Yay!

    1. Well, this is Tulpa we are talking about. Logic was never his strong suit.

  24. Hi Elizabeth,

    So, I should vote for people like Rand Paul, who wants to eviserate Social Security, because a few people on campus take their women’s studies classes too seriously? Don’t get me wrong I love porn, drugs and sex as much as anyone, but I just have a feeling I have more in common with a liberation theology Catholic priest than I do with e-cig wielding libertarians.

    1. Do as you will, national socialist.

      1. He (or she) is saying that he (or she) is fine with having the church impose puritanical values on him (or her) as long as he (or she) gets some government loot. So, he (or she) is basically an early 20th century progressive.

    2. No you should vote for people like Rand Paul, who wants to eviserate Social Security, because Social Security isn’t a legimate function of government, and it’s funded by a (regressive) income tax.

      1. Absolutely right. When I come around here and suggest that rich people should, for starters, pay as much as a percentage of their income as poor people (to make it not regressive) I get all kinds of flak. I wonder why that is. Too much ayn rand on the brain, I guess.

        You say it isn’t a legitimate function of government. Who says? The Constitution? You know, I’m a revolutionary socialist so they can use the Constitution, written by White slavers, for toilet paper so far as I care.

        Is your problem with Social Security the way it’s financed? If so, you and I are in agreement.

        1. Yeah and when I talk to socialists about the right to self ownership and property rights, they give me all kinds of flak, man. It’s like their soul-less robot, hive mind assholes, or something.

          Then they flap their lips and start barking raving, lunatic marxist slogans and propaganda, all of which were debunked last century.

          O suppose you have to a special kind of boring person when you have no appreciation for individuals, and seek the glory of the valiant worker-bee drone in the collective. I’m just glad it isn’t me.

          1. “Lunatic Marxist slogans”

            Like “You Should Get Treated When You Go To The Doctor’s Office”

            1. No, more like:

              “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”
              -Karl Marx

              That’s some grade A stupid right there.

              1. Well I’m not a Marxist so I don’t really have to answer for everything he said. Want me to post stupid things libertarians have said? There’s a lot of that around.

                1. Want me to post stupid things libertarians have said? There’s a lot of that around.

                  Yeah, I kinda thought we were covering that already. You know, with the whole “Whenever I try to talk to libertarians about blah blah blah it’s so simple and right really and they all freak out blah blah blah because Ayn Rand is crazy blah blah blah.”

                  It’s all so original, really.

                  1. Is that like when people on this board think that I’m a supporter of Stalin and Pol Pot when I say that European welfare states are the system we should be emulating? Those things are same-same, right?

                    1. I say that European welfare states are the system we should be emulating?

                      You’re such a revolutionary socialist. No one ever thought about proposing tweaks to the status quo before.


                    2. “You’re such a revolutionary socialist. No one ever thought about proposing tweaks to the status quo before.”

                      I think my politics are boring too. Cradle-to-grave social security, low defense spending, universal health care, getting money out of politics, laws that protect the environment, adequate funding for transportation systems and infrastructure, etc. you know, the things that make scandinavia and Northern Europe such pleasant places to live. I’m a dedicated empiricist so I can’t claim my ideas come from a book like you guys.

                      You think these things can be achieved without fundamental, revolutionary change? I don’t. This country is too far gone to spend any time trying to fix it. I personally won ‘t mourn its passing.

                    3. You think these things can be achieved without fundamental, revolutionary change? I don’t

                      It’s cute how you try to pretend that the USA following the same slow road to serfdom as Europe, with California and Washington leading the way, is some sort of revolutionary change, and not the same stagnant progression of socialism we’ve seen for the last century, without revolutions.

                      You’re a regular Che Guevara, just off by about 100 years.

                      getting money out of politics

                      Sure. If you want to get taxes and government spending out of politics, then go ahead. Until then, I have a hard time believing that people obsessed with redistributing wealth, buying themselves goodies with other people’s money, and engaging in wild, failed experiments in price controls which have been proven not to work for about 100 years, suddenly want to “get money out of politics.”

            2. Why else would you go to the doctor’s office?

              Oh, you meant treated for free, because the doctor is your slave. Right slaver?

              1. I think doctors should be paid by the state from taxes derived from a progressive tax system. That’s different than slavery. See thread above with another commenter who thinks the only crazy libertarian things were said by ayn rand. I’d say she has some company or at least people willing to employ hyperbolic analogies.

                1. That’s exactly right: the only crazy libertarian things were said by ayn rand. That’s exactly what I said.

                  You’re so fucking smart, it’s boring. It’s like trying to talk to a high school girl who hears only what she wants to hear all the time.

        2. This one is for you AMSOC.

        3. I wish I could pay the same percentage as poor people. I would be able to keep so much more of my money that I could afford to buy more orphans!


          I know, I know. Numbers hard.

          My problem with Social Security is its existence not to mention the fact that it’s an involuntary Ponzi scheme.

          1. You pay 12.4% of your income in social security taxes if you make 50k a year and a little less than 1.5% of your income if you make a million dollars a year. Social security can be made solvent, and then some, until Buck Rogers arrives if we were to tax the latter group as we do the former.

    3. So, I should vote for people like Rand Paul, who wants to eviserate Social Security,

      Social Security is eviscerating itself.

      but I just have a feeling I have more in common with a liberation theology Catholic priest

      Yes, you certainly do. And you have a lot in common with a whole bunch of other unsavory left wing and right wing characters too.

  25. This thread has been TUPLAFIED… Tulpafied… tulpafied… echo… echo…

    1. Amputate the thread, cauterize the wound, observe HyR for signs of relapse. Quickly!

  26. “No, I don’t see U.S. society going backward on things like gay rights.”

    I can imagine it.

    Not so much that tolerant people will decide to become hateful, but as a result of either

    A) some new STI spread more rapidly within the gay male population causing people to panic and look at homosexuality as a public health issue again, or

    B) importing people from cultures that are deeply homophobic without assimilating them, in the name of diversity, until they have enough political pull at the margins to change elections, and enough social pull to change marginal attitudes and embolden native homophobes to be more open about their views. To those that think this is implausible, just look at the resurgence of antisemitism in Western Europe.

    1. Careful, ant1sthenes. You can catch a lot of flak around here for suggesting that importing large numbers of anti-libertarians might hurt the cause of liberty.

      1. You might also get in trouble for suggesting that people who say things like “importing people from different cultures that are deeply homophobic…” Might not be entirely motivate by libertarianism.

        1. Suck a Camels Ass AMSOC.

                1. AMSOC. Mr. Willis thinks you bought a one way ticket on the retard bus.

        2. followed by “without assimilating them”. It’s the specific cultural value (ie, homophobia) that is the problem, not the person.

    2. Forcing enough people to bake a cake they don’t want to might help it get there evenetually too.

    3. B) +1 Islamophobe

  27. ENB. I dedicate this song to your efforts to inform the progressive community on the dangers of restricting free speech, because without free speech Wesley Willis would have never been able to get a decent gig anywhere. =)

  28. “Even if U.S. society as a whole continues to become more liberal or libertarian…”

    Cite needed, ENB. You can probably make the case that the US has become more permissive and liberal in a social sense in the last 10-20 years. But from an economic and military sense, it’s headed in the opposite direction. And judging by various real world examples, the eventual destination, doesn’t appear particularly Libertarian.

    Gay marriage isn’t much of a win in my book. A win would be completely removing the requirement for state certification from the marriage process. Marijuana legalization does look to be a win, but it’s (at this point) as a small one.

    Obamacare is a straight-up loss. The Iraq War (Bush) and the Iraq Air War (I don’t need Congresses approval, Obama) is a loss. Etc.

    1. The main evidence is that they talk about us all the time. If libertarian values weren’t a threat, they would just ignore us, not make us into Anticitizen One.

  29. Even more astonishingly, they think that broad laws criminalizing ANYTHING could never be used in ways they don’t intend. Not just speech, etc.

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