Charlie Hebdo Massacre

One-Third of Americans—and 51 Percent of Democrats—Favor Hate Speech Laws


Charlie Hebdo

Today we are Charlie Hebdo. But what about tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow?

I think most observers would agree that over the past 20 years or so, we've been witnessing a paradox when it comes to free speech. On the one hand, it's easier than ever before to express oneself, especially in a public way (thank you, internet). On the other hand there is a huge attack on all sorts of speech that can in any way, shape, or form be deemed offensive. From trigger warnings to microaggressions and everything in between, all speech is suspect these days.

In popular culture, there are outliers such as South Park, Family Guy, and Tosh.O, where the envelope of taste and propriety is not so much pushed as shredded completely. Just in terms of comedy, does anyone think Inside Amy Schumer or Curb Your Enthusiasm's "Beloved Aunt" episode would have seen the light of day when Janet Reno, the Clinton administration, and all of Congress was voting overwhelmingly for the Communications Decency Act?

That terrible law would have regulated the emergent web like a broadcast network in the name of protecting kids from sexual material. It only was gutted after the Supreme Court struck it down in 1997. Christ, back in the 1990s, Bill Bennett and Joe Lieberman were giving our "Silver Sewer Awards" to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox Network for airing Married…With Children and The Simpsons, and The Weekly Standard was making "The Case for Censorship"!

And yet for all our expressive freedom, there's a huge pushback against speaking freely, especially on college campuses and in many news platforms. Chris Rock doesn't play colleges anymore because audiences are buzzkills:

I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they're way too conservative…. Not in their political views — not like they're voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of "We're not going to keep score in the game because we don't want anybody to lose." Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can't say "the black kid over there." No, it's "the guy with the red shoes." You can't even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.


As unimpeachable a progressive satirist as Stephen Colbert was targeted with a #CancelColbert campaign while mocking Redskins owner Dan Snyder's devotion to his team's nickname and mascot image. Lefty comic and actor Patton Oswalt no longer reads Salon because

…they write articles  "Did The Onion Go Too Far?" or " Is Patton Oswalt Supporting Rape? " They already know the answer, but they know by feigning ignorance they can create all this debate about it. It upsets me because I used to really, and still do sometimes, love the articles Salon writes. They used to have Heather Havrilesky and Glenn Greenwald, and now they have become Fox News with all this look-y look-y shit. It hurts progressives. It's very personal but the fact is that that they want comedians to think twice, three times, four times about any kind of comedy.

A YouGov poll taken just last fall found that equal amounts of Americans support and oppose "hate speech laws," defined as laws that would "make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation." Thirty-six percent said sure and 38 percent said no way. That's disturbing enough on its own, but here's something even more unsettling: Fully 51 percent of self-identified Democrats supported hate-speech laws.

That's not good.

I will not be surprised if the Charlie Hebdo massacre has the effect of increasing support for hate-speech laws in the United States (as Jacob Sullum has noted, hate-speech laws are already in place in France and most if not all European countries). Many Americans who don't particularly care about freedom of speech may look on the carnage and conclude it makes sense to avoid such scenes by stifling expression. Social Justice Warrior types will take another long look at Jeremy Waldron's 2012 book, The Harm in Hate Speech, and gussy up their interest in controlling thought and social interactions with philosophical language and social-scientific "rigor." Conservatives, sniffing out a possible way to screw liberals and libertarians, may rediscover The Weekly Standard's case for censorship and decide, hell, it makes a lot of sense. Aren't Christians the folks who are picked on in America and treated unfairly by the media and intellectuals? It's always "Piss Christ" and never "Piss Mohammed," right?

Which makes it more important not simply to show solidarity with the dead and wounded in France but to rehearse the arguments for unfettered trade in ideas and speech. A good place to start is the reissue of Jonathan Rauch's more-important-than-ever book Kindly Inquisitors. Originally released in 1994, the Cato Institute republished as 20th anniversary edition and published a new foreword by Rauch.

Here's a snippet:

The case for hate-speech prohibitions mistakes the cart for the horse, imagining that anti-hate laws are a cause of toleration when they are almost always a consequence. In democracies, minorities do not get fair, enforceable legal protections until after majorities have come around to supporting them. By the time a community is ready to punish intolerance legally, it will already be punishing intolerance culturally. At that point, turning haters into courtroom martyrs is unnecessary and often counterproductive.

In any case, we can be quite certain that hate-speech laws did not change America's attitude toward its gay and lesbian minority, because there were no hate-speech laws. Today, firm majorities accept the morality of homosexuality, know and esteem gay people, and endorse gay unions and families. What happened to turn the world upside-down?

Rauch tells the story of Franklin Kameny, a government astronomer who lost his job for being gay. How Kameny won it back is an epic story of slow-moving but ultimately triumphant justice. More important, Kameny and others like him never supported laws that would limit speech. Instead, writes Rauch, "They had arguments, and they had the right to make them."

Read the whole piece by Rauch if you care about the future of free expression, which is integral not just to identity politics but progress in science, religion, culture, economics, and every area of human flourishing. It will help remind you—and everyone you speak with—that threats to free speech do not always come from someone holding a gun and shouting Allahu Akbar. Indeed, they are more likely in America to come from people you know and respect.

NEXT: Acclaimed Writer Neil Gaiman Stands Up for Charlie Hebdo and Free Speech

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  1. Nick, we aren’t nor have ever been Charlie Hebdo. Didn’t you get Matt’s memo?

  2. It’s amazing on how many issues the Democrats are wildly out of touch with overall American sentiment, and yet they idiotically profess to speak for the public.

    Tony once tried to tell me that there are no issues on which the American public agrees with Republicans.

    Well, virtually everyone except fascist Democrats oppose hate speech laws, so I guess we found one, huh Tony?

    1. Republicans only disagree with hate speech laws because they long for the days when they could call blacks “nigger” with impunity. The first thing they’ll do is pass a law outlawing criticism of Jesus and Ronald Reagan should they ever regain power.

      1. Well, the control Congress, so I guess they’ll be sending a bill like that to Obama pretty soon, eh?

        1. Under Bush II they controlled Congress *and* the White House – remember how they passed the Blasphemy Act?

          1. Under Bush II they controlled Congress *and* the White House – remember how they passed the Blasphemy Act?

            I don’t, because all my fellow Latinos were deported during those years.

            1. Now we live in a Latino-free paradise.

            2. I’ll have a coke, then.

          2. I do, which is why, as a Christian, and registered Republican, I have personally reported hundreds of individuals, who are consequently contemplating their inappropriate thoughts, and statements, behind bars….Oh wait, no that was just a flight of fancy I made up for if conservative Christians were all as we were characterized by the left.

      2. Yeah, it’ll be a return to the bad old days when they controlled both houses f Congress and Bushitler was in the white house and they past all those anti-blasphemy laws and threw teh gayz into concentration camps and teh wymenz into forced breeding camps and re-instituted slavery. /DERP

        1. I think KDN was being sarcastic.

          Despite all the problems with the Republicans, they’re consistently better on freedom of speech than the Democrats. And it’s not even close.

          1. Depends upon how you define “speech”. If your definition is strictly confined to written/spoken words, then I suppose you have a point. But if you lump the the aligned term “expression” in with speech, then Team Red is just as bad if not worse historically.

            1. I do seem to remember some obscenity prosecutions. And “Free speech zones”. Both sides have some big failings when it comes to free speech.

          2. I think KDN was being sarcastic.

            It’s so hard to tell these days. I’ll just claim I was playing along.

          3. Sometimes satire is hard to distinguish from reality. If he was being sarcastic, then my apologies to him.

        2. They did, in fact, push obscenity efforts and imposed ridiculous fines after Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

          1. That is whatever you think of it a completely different thing that hate speech laws. First, that isn’t an attempt to ban boobs from the public space, only from the public air waves. Yeah, I know the FCC is a crock. But its not like the major networks are not a bunch of welfare queens either. Second, even if it did mean, “no more boobs on TV, not even HBO”, that would be no where near as wide ranging or damaging of a rule as a no kidding federal hate speech law. A hate speech law would subject every American to criminal prosecution for saying the wrong thing. That is an order of magnitude worse than sending TV back to the 1950s. I think broadcast obscenity laws are idiotic, but they are utterly incomparable to hate speech laws.

            1. It wasn’t just broadcast obscenity. There were obscenity prosecutions of some porn producers.

              I agree that hate speech laws are worse than obscenity laws, but they are both completely in opposition to free expression.

              1. It’s a good thing Obama and the Democrats stopped all of those obscenity prosecutions against porn producers. /s

                1. I’m not defending anyone. Just pointing out that it went a lot further than fining broadcast TV stations for broadcasting tits or saying “fuck”.

            2. 1. We were talking about anti-blasphemy laws not hate speech laws (or their lack thereof). Either way, both are affronts to 1A and freedom of expression.


              They did, in fact, push obscenity efforts and imposed ridiculous fines after Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

              The obscenity efforts cited was:

              The Obscenity Prosecution Task Force (OPTF) was an organization created in 2005 by the United States Department of Justice. The OPTF’s job was to investigate and prosecute producers and distributors of hardcore pornography that meets the legal tests for obscenity, as defined by the Supreme Court of the United States.[1][2] The group was led by U.S. Attorney Brent Ward.[3]

              The task force was formed during the Presidency of George W. Bush to investigate hardcore pornography at the urging of social conservative groups.[4][5] Notable cases were brought against Joseph R. Francis’ Mantra Films, Inc. (Girls Gone Wild), as well as producers Ira Isaacs and Max Hardcore.[6]

              Which is EXACTLY the same, wrt 1A, as hate speech provisions.

              1. And those efforts continue to this day Fransisco. And sorry, porn is not hate speech. Hate speech since it can be applied to anything, not just sex, is much broader and much worse. It just is.

      3. Holy fuck, you’re a living cliche, aren’t you?

    2. Have you ever watched any of them give a speech? It is more like a pre-school teacher addressing their class than the leader of a free nation speaking before fellow educated, responsible, and mature citizens.

      They keep talking about the “grown ups” taking control. Perhaps they need to treating citizens as grown up.

  3. Overall, Americans take a very dim view of individual rights. They use what I think of as a lowest-common-denominator approach: if a right can be misused in any way, shape, or form by even one criminal, lunatic, or addled child then it’s “too dangerous” to tolerate and the government has a “compelling interest” in suppressing it.

    Both Right and Left make exceptions for a few pet rights that they’re fond of, but both would really rather read individual rights out of Western civilization. “Not a suicide pact!” and all that.

    1. They don’t take any dimmer view than do people in other countries.

    2. That’s because everyone is convinced that we belong to this 300 million man tribe known as the Americans. That we are “global citizens” and have some arbitrary responsibilities to one another. Doing things for the “greater good” leads to trampling on individuals, however respecting individuals has never harmed the “greater good” that I can think of.

  4. “A YouGov poll taken just last fall found that equal amounts of Americans support and oppose “hate speech laws,” defined as laws that would “make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.””

    I would remove “genocide” from that question and see what happens to the percentages. A respondent hears advocacy of genocide, (s)he’ll be more likely to say, “censor it!” So either I’d have separate questions about advocating genocide vs. advocating hatred, I’d confine myself to the word “hatred.”

    A poll respondent hears “advocate genocide” and (s)he’ll think about Illinois Nazis urging the massacre of Jews. But “advocating hatred” is more broad, and the respondent might be less likely to give a knee-jerk pro-censorship answer.

    At least try modifying the question.

    1. Yeah, I think many people would agree that “advocate genocide” goes beyond “hate speech.”

      The title of this article and the content of the poll don’t match.

    2. It’s also a YouGov poll, so taken by people with a vested interest in the answer being “most people support government regulation.”

  5. Thin-skinned, weak-minded fucking pussies.

  6. I brought it up in another thread but it bears repeating-

    Good to know that The Catholic League president Bill Donohue is now aligning himself with the Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary in justifying the attack on grounds of blasphemy.

    1. I was surprised to find that Bill thinks Mohammad is sacred.

      1. He’s just hoping they’ll reach over and give him a stroke in return.

      2. The Pope is going to make Mohammed a Saint, so Bill is down with him.

        1. Really?

          I’m not down with condemning every Muslim in the world or anything, but Mohammed was clearly wrong according to Christian doctrine and, from an objective point of view, was a violent warmonger and cultural imperialist of the worst variety.

          1. Wasn’t he also a pedo?

      1. Sad but true.

  7. It’s easy to support the denial of rights to those in the fringes when one views himself or herself as being in the mainstream.

    1. The juggernaut that I helped build will never run down me or anyone I care about, right?

      1. It’s why I sometimes wish Leviathan would truly become the monster that it yearns to be.

        It’s fucks everyone over in a myriad of small and insignificant ways. Nothing that anyone will ever foment revolution over or even demand change in any meaningful way. But, it only fucks over a small minority of people in a big way.

        As long as that’s always happening to someone else, particularly of another tribe, they could care less. But, once it starts eating its own, then maybe the hoi polloi will give a shit.

        Of course, it will likely be too late by then.

  8. democrats believe in the 16th amendment which is weird because it’s like a hundred years old.

  9. Indeed, they are more likely in America to come from people you know and respect.

    If they are trying to censor or erode free speech, I do not respect them, whoever they may be.

  10. Given that “free speech” is literally used as a punchline by the Gawker/Tumblr SJWs/Twitter ‘journalists’ crowd, not too surprising.

  11. But the Democrats are better on civil liberties, are they not?

    1. It seems to me this is still slightly the case. However, the Republican, conservative grass-roots (base or whatever you’d call it), seems to me to be miles better than the current sitting politicians, supposedly representing them. I’m slightly hopeful that this is a leading indicator that in 5-10 years, Republicans will be much better then Democrats on social liberties also.

    2. Mickey Rat|1.8.15 @ 2:04PM|#
      “But the Democrats are better on civil liberties, are they not?”

      Some, but try to get moonbeam to back legal dope.

  12. According to Gallup, in the fall of 2014, 30% of Americans identified as Democrats, 26% as Republicans and 42% as independents.

    So if 51% of Democrats, 27% of Is and 25% of Rs support hate speech laws, that means that 16% of the country are Democrats who support such laws, 11% are Is and 7% are Republicans who support such laws.

    It is impossible to say what way the Is who support these laws lean, R or D. Regardless, I think it is fair to say the Democrats have a real freedom of expression and 1st Amendment problem.

    1. All of their senators voted to gut the first amendment.

      1. As opposed to those noble R’s who would bravely oppose a flag burning amendment, right?

        Just admit that they all suck equally and it’s easier not to have to backpedal later.

        1. Yeah, the flag burning amendment is just exactly like an amendment designed to strip every corporation in America of any constitutional protections.

          It is like saying I am the same as Bernie Madoff because I stole some office supplies from work once.

          1. It’s not a contest to see which party sucks more, John.

            Though, you’d think it was.

            1. Yeah it is. If one side is measurable worse than the other, then one side is measurably worse. The flag burning thing may not be good, but it is nothing like anything as bad as the amendment over turning Citizens’ United. It just isn’t.

              1. Well John has a point. It isn’t usually a choice between Democracy and Dictatorship but between corrupt incompetent statists or a dictator. Or a dictator or a worse dictator.

                1. If given the choice between I don’t know which to take, being ruled by one large tyrant or millions of mini tyrants.

              2. What about the continued fealty to the Patriot Act? With the exception of a notable few libertarianish Repbubs, the section of the Constitution containing the 4th Amendment may as well be toilet paper to Team Red. In my book, Citizens United is shite compared to that abomination.

                1. Not sure using a bill the Democrats supported at the time and still do is the best comparison?

                  1. You sure about that? Look at the Reauthorization vote counts from the House in 2011:


                    1. Obama is a Republican?

                    2. Obama represents ALL Democrats as much as W represented ALL Republicans.
                      Since you’re going to force me to call your bullshit, the vote was as follows:

                      54 D’s in Favor vs 196 R’s
                      122 D’s Against vs 31 R’s

                      That means that in the House (the branch more reactive to the electorate), 86% of Republicans voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act in 2011, vs 31% of Democrats. That’s more than 2/1.

                    3. Isn’t the Presidency more reactive to the electorate then the House? And Obama wasn’t primaried. Oh and most Dem Senators voted in favor…

                    4. In Dungeons and Dragons terms, Obama is a Neutral Evil Illusionist. Probably secretly a vampire, like most progressives.

          2. It is like saying I am the same as Bernie Madoff because I stole some office supplies from work once.

            No, not the same (in magnitude), but you committed the same crime.

        2. As opposed to those noble R’s who would bravely oppose a flag burning amendment, right?

          Well Mitch McConnell for one. More than can be said for Ron Wyden…

          Just admit that they all suck equally and it’s easier not to have to backpedal later.

          Not sure they suck equally but that isn’t saying very much…

        3. They all suck in different ways. No need to compare apples and oranges.

          At this point I will say that, while I am pretty unlikely to vote for either, I’m probably more likely to vote for an R than a D.

  13. Speaking of quibbling over free speech

    We all have sacred taboos.
    Why is individual autonomy sacred? Why shouldn’t the individual be subsumed within the needs of the group? For instance, what’s wrong with arranged marriages and being obligated to work at your father’s trade?

    I’m being facetious of course, but we often imagine that our secular Western beliefs are somehow universal and impartial, reflecting some objective reality to which no reasonable person could object.

    The current round of free speech arguments have the aura of supremacy about them, that we demand that Muslims accept the defaming of their idols.

    Even as a Christian, I don’t want legal protections for the image of Jesus; but we should remember that the limits and boundaries of our cultural attitudes towards free speech were not unilaterally imposed, but rather, negotiated with religious and secular people over a period of centuries. There was give and take on both sides, and this negotiation needs to happen with the newer groups, Muslims, Hindus and others.

    1. there’s more:

      For some reason, the speech that is most in need of protection is the one that is intentionally insulting. At least, this is what I’ve been told. I thought free speech meant you could draw what you want in response to a tragedy, without government interference. But it seems that it must be whatever could be the most reactionary and awful. I join most people in feeling the only harm the killers have done is to the Islamic faith itself. But it’s a big faith and will survive. My hope is that it modernises quickly, faster than the weapons the leadership of extremists are more prone to latch on to.

      A few families might disagree with you.

      1. that’s straight up sociopathic.

        1. Balloon Juice went off the rails a long time ago.

      2. . I join most people in feeling the only harm the killers have done is to the Islamic faith itself.

        They didn’t harm the people they shot?

      3. What the fucking fuck?! So a few dead satirists and cartoonists is “no harm done”? Talk about letting the mask slip.

    2. we demand that Muslims accept the defaming of their idols

      They don’t have to accept it, they just can’t use force to stop it. Why is that such a difficult concept?

      1. Why is that such a difficult concept?

        Because you’re talking about a bunch of the worst spineless, mewling quislings to ever sully the face of the Earth.

    3. and this negotiation needs to happen with the newer groups, Muslims, Hindus and others.

      Hinduism predates Christianity by centuries.

    4. Dear lord, the comments are even worse.

      1. Never read balloonjuice comments. That way lies madness.

        1. Even I can’t do that to myself.


        The left wing Hot Air.

    5. Where is [Matt] Welch on the spectrum of showing dead American soldiers in US media?

      I thought that was known to ‘only help the terrorists’.

      They really have no fucking clue what this place or libertarianism in general is about.

    6. “but we should remember that the limits and boundaries of our cultural attitudes towards free speech were not unilaterally imposed, but rather, negotiated with religious and secular people over a period of centuries.”

      Rights are unalienable; they are not open to negotiation, especially with some myth-spouting ignoramus.

  14. So, Democrats are twice as likely to oppose free speech as Republicans. But, there’s no difference between the two parties.

    1. That and gun rights. As long as you don’t care about the your right to criticize the government and defend yourself against the mob, there is no difference at all.

      1. Well, that and gun right and due process. As long as you don’t care about the your right to criticize the government, defend yourself against the mob, or argue your case in court, there is no difference at all.

        1. As much as I despise hate speech laws, I’m not willing to crown Team Red the Party of Freedom, especially as abhorrent as they are on Fourth Amendment issues.

          1. I’ll concede the Republican party has a long way to go. But, honestly, even the 4th Amendment issues you reference look like a wash between the two. So, true, the Republican party isn’t the Party of Freedom. But, the Democrats are sure as hell looking like the Party of Tyranny.

            1. Both parties are the Party of Tyranny. It just depends upon where you stand demographically as to which one is worse to you personally.

              1. Sorry, but that’s just silly. If the limits of one party are consistently beyond the limits of another (and they are), you can’t say both parties are equally bad. And I really can’t say I know of an individual liberty where the Republicans are more restrictive than the Democrats.

                1. Pot, Mexicans and ass-sex. And abortion if you think that’s an issue of individual liberty.

                  I think you will find much diversity of opinion about most issues of personal liberty in both parties. But right now, at least, I’m inclined to agree that Republicans are slightly better in most areas.
                  There are some pretty libertarian Republicans, and there are still a few proper liberals among the Democrats. But there are also plenty of people opposed to individual liberty on both sides.

                  1. Pot? Sorry, but it really isn’t clear to me that one party, per se, is better. Ass sex, as in gay marriage? Sorry, but that issues done. Even Michelle Bachman isn’t interested in talking about it anymore.

                    I’ll grant you immigration.

                    Now compare that to a majority in one party thinks we should scrap the First Amendment.

    2. But, there’s no difference between the two parties.

      it’s a difference without a distinction.

      They both want the total state; I don’t really care why they do. Fuck ’em both.

      1. There are probably more libertarian friendly people on the R side. But the mainstream of both parties is pretty solidly in the total state camp, in slightly different ways.

  15. It’s almost more depressing that 25% of Is and Rs support them. We have a lot of work to do.

  16. And in the meantime, Brandeis U is harassing a student who dared publish an article about a fellow student (and of course SJW)’s public tweets.

    True commitment to free speech

  17. SF’ed the link:…..unishment/

  18. I have to ask, do the social justice warriors think these laws will never be used against them? You can barely glance at one of their screeds without finding a level of vitriol towards Christians or white males or those who believe in traditional values that even a diehard KKKer would refrain from using against blacks or Jews because it’s just too over-the-top. If they ever passed such laws, they’d best pray to their personal God that their Republican counterparts in opposing free speech never gain power.

    1. I have to ask, do the social justice warriors think these laws will never be used against them?

      Yes. They’ve actually said that that’s a slippery-slope fallacy. They don’t appreciate it when I point out the ways in which reality disagrees.

      1. That is just because they are not being honest and admitting that those laws are not intended to ever be applied in any kind of equal fashion. Those laws are there for the single purposes of oppressing their political enemies

    2. I have to ask, do the social justice warriors think these laws will never be used against them?

      Yes. They, in general, believe themselves so wise, so smart, so insightful, so superior, that history simply does not apply to them. They sincerely believe that the atavistic carnage of the revolution they desire will not consume them along with the enemies they hate. They believe that the ignorant shitlord peasants over whom they are destined to rule would never turn against them and send them to the guillotine/noose/firing post/etc. Because of the inherent righteousness of their thoughts, they are immune, now and forever, from the depredations of power.

    3. In my experience, they haven’t a clue that they are being in any way, intolerant or mean. They honestly seem to believe that they are truly more enlightened, intelligent, and informed than any who would disagree, and therefore above reproach. So it isn’t that they don’t think the laws they push for wouldn’t be used against them, but that they couldn’t.

      1. In my experience, they haven’t a clue that they are being in any way, intolerant or mean.

        The worst ones actually do, but don’t care. If called on it they’ll respond with a flurry of Tu Quoque logical fallacies and and army of fundie strawmen. They actually believe that turnabout is fairplay.

        1. Rules don’t apply when you have to save the world from itself.

      2. It’s easy to believe you are superior when you won’t let anyone argue their point with you. I had a history professor like this, he would make grand claims and then if you tried to debate he would shut you down immediately. Funny thing was, class discussion counted towards our grades and by the end of the semester he was pissed because no one would talk to him. He was all for honest and open debate….as long as you agreed with him.

  19. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Now what speech are you for passing laws against?

    1. But fire in a crowded theater!!

      They will never read the 1st Amendment as it is written because that would take away too much government power and the Courts are too stupid to understand what the words mean.

      They honestly think that fraud laws are restrictions on speech rather than laws against theft and therefore commercial speech somehow doesn’t count as real speech. It is not a crime to yell “Fire in a Crowded Theater” anymore than it is a crime for me to tell you I own the Brooklyn Bridge. What is a crime is my intentionally causing a stampede in a theater endangering the lives of the people there and my taking your money, regardless of the means. It is the act that is illegal not the speech.

      The courts are too stupid to understand that.

      1. It is not a crime to yell “Fire in a Crowded Theater” anymore than it is a crime for me to tell you I own the Brooklyn Bridge. What is a crime is my intentionally causing a stampede in a theater endangering the lives of the people there and my taking your money, regardless of the means. It is the act that is illegal not the speech.


        1. I hate the “fire in a crowded theater” argument. Because if someone yells “fire” in a crowded theater, you’re going to look around and see if there’s a fire. I mean, the logic behind the statement implies that any time you pull a fire alarm–even if there is actually a fire–people are going to get stampeded and hurt.

          Not to mention the stupid nazgul decision that coined the term, anyway.

      2. I don’t think the courts are too stupid to understand, I think they’re mendacious and malignant.

    2. Meh, ancient document written by dead white guys. /derp

      1. Ezra Klein told me it is written in like Sanskrit or something. No one even understands what it means anymore.

        1. Ezra Klein, isn’t that the little fuckweasel who said he likes the idea of innocent men having their lives ruined because rape is so bad we need to have a Terror?

          1. Slimy fuckweasel. Don’t forget slimy, and yes he is. I believe he also was one of the voices advocating for dictatorship in the US.

            1. Yup. I think its a mistake to comment at length about Ezra Klein being an idiot. Yes, he is. But, if that were the only issue, he’d just be just another run-of-the-mill, leftist, half-wit, hack. The worse part is when Klein does get it, he’s an slimy, evil, fuck.

              1. So what should be done about the orogressive problem in this country? They will never stop.

      2. +1 Their letter “s” looked like an “f”!

  20. I think this is why we have to be firmly and unapologetically against Public Accommodation type laws. Once you’ve admitted those are OK, I think you’ve ceded the moral high ground on “hate speech”* as well.

    *and of course hate speech with time will mean “any speech found sufficiently unpopular”

    1. I think the campaign finance laws are more of a threat to free speech than public accommodation laws.

      If any of the civil rights laws are a threat to free speech it is the work place discrimination and “hostile environment” laws. Those laws have essentially made large areas of speech illegal in the work place.

      1. But if I hear two of my coworkers telling a dirty joke, it might OFFEND me!

      2. You are probably right about direct threat to freedom of speech.

        I’m talking about the more general right to be an asshole. So many people hold a special place in their heart for public accommodation laws that the starting point in the discussion is “when is being a huge asshole crossing the line? so that guys with guns should make you stop?”, instead of “hmmm, how can we peaceably defeat or avoid these assholes who are also acting peaceably?”.

  21. There was some debate the other day as to whether this person was serious or trolling. The fact that we had to debate about it is telling in itself. There is nothing in her article that hasn’t been advocated in earnest by others, and nothing in it that is not currently being implemented in the UK.

    Like any good leftie she assures us that we have free speech, we are just forbidden to say certain things. We are free… to do as we are told.

    If we cave, even a little bit, on the first amendment all will be lost.…..n-america/

    *I would like to add that I do disagree strongly with Gillespie, Welch and most of the writers here on a number of things, and that is fine. What they have given us is one of the very few censor free platforms in the world. As a result the discussions are often priceless and occur nowhere else. Even Spiked!, a free speech advocate, does not contain as good a dialogue. Thank you very much Reason, and every individual responsible for it.

    1. Yeah, I read that a few times to see if I was missing some obvious signs of satire or trolling but nope. She meant every word.

      Which is “holy shit” level baffling. It’s like they have had the logic part of their brain removed or something. I don’t get it.

      1. Check out her twitter. She has been spouting that horse shit for a while.

        1. I did that after reading the article. That’s when I got further confirmation that her article wasn’t satire.

          That’s how far we’ve come. When someone like her writes something so unbelievably idiotic and fascist that you can’t even believe it’s not satire.


          1. I still can’t believe it. I may be naif, but I’m happier this way.

      2. God bless Thought Catalog for allowing comments.

    2. The principle of guilty until proven innocent may seem a bit harsh to some, but it makes sense when you consider how severe the crime of hate speech is ? it is a crime that simply cannot be tolerated in a democracy.

      Holy Mother of Donkey Balls

    3. I’m still not sure if it’s satire or not. Based on some of the other posts on that site, like this one, and this one, I’m really hoping it’s satire.

      But those are by a different author, so who knows?

    4. The Money Quote:

      We are not talking about censorship here.

    5. Was…was that actually a real person writing that?

      She wants to ban “Speech that voices approval of oppressive, anti-freedom, anti-democratic, and/or totalitarian ideologies.” Does she seriously not grasp what she is proposing in her 7th grade level SJW treatise DOES EXACTLY THAT?!

      1. Well obviously she opposes those things so therefore she can’t be engaging in that behavior.


    6. i will never click on a link you post again.

  22. With all that, freedom of speech is in much better shape than freedom of action. The general public, even little children, are allowed to speak & write without any kind of license. How many types of actions can the same be said of?

  23. As to the Rauch bit, freedom for you is just a way station on the way to your acquiring the power to stomp someone else.

  24. they have become Fox News with all this look-y look-y shit. It hurts progressives. It’s very personal but the fact is that that they want comedians to think twice, three times, four times about any kind of comedy.

    Uhm, no, it’s what it means to BE a progressive. The fact that you’re standing on the precipice, but just won’t quite take that extra step to realize that, tells me something about you.

  25. I hope Charlie’s next issue will be scathing for Mo & them.

  26. How many Conservatives? Libertarians? Socialists? Greens? Independents? REPUBLICANS ….. just the title of the story shows once again how right-wing, conservative/republican/tea-party friendly Reason is.

    1. They are sometimes friendly to people who have similar thoughts on certain issues? THOSE FUCKING MONSTERS!!!!

    2. From this shit-stain’s site:
      “To a real Christian, (one that follows the bible and those Christians who spread their message throughout the year and the reason why Christianity has become so widespread) the only good non-Christian is a dead non-Christian.”
      Hey, fuck-face! Eat shit.

  27. As for ending free speech, why not look who is already doing it? CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS. They have groups that literally tell tv/public funded museums/movies/books/ etc what is allowed, they literally are the Nazis of censorship!!! Those who think otherwise need to get their heads out of their butts!!! Those who want to prove me wrong, give it a try. Those who LOVED censorship: Hitler, Catholic Church, Gulliano…..

    1. Those who LOVED censorship: Hitler, Catholic Church, Gulliano…..

      Lenin, Stalin, Bloomberg, Maria Cantwell…..

    2. Mao, Kim Il Sung, Putin, you…

    3. Obama…..

  28. The link in the essay to the book at University of Chicago Press is broken. Looks like the correct link is:…..40749.html

  29. They support Hate-Speech Codes/Laws because they absolutely know that they are the only ones qualified to determine what is or is not Hate Speech.
    What they say, and write, are pretty good indications of what would be determined by them to be speech that needs to be banned – if it was said by others that Progressives, of course.

  30. And since the Democrats control our universities, political correctness and speech laws are the worse on our campuses. We need to take back the world of academy. Begin teaching our students again the values this nation was created on – Individual freedoms, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and government by the People and for the People. Not a the collective, big brother, the nanny state, and career politicians that are owned by trade and government unions, large corporations, and professional guildes that use the power of the state to advance their special interests, usually under the ruse of “protecting the public” FREEDOM should alway trump security and the sensitivities of the easily offended.

  31. Can’t find fault with any of this. Bigotry and bigoted speech is and should remain at the far end of the spectrum we call rudeness. But we don’t deal with mere rudeness by legislation, we deal with it socially. Any law intended to police people’s speech is simply un-American. While I agree with the politics of the writers at Salon, et al., when they obsess over speech and triggering and such, it tells me that they must all the real problems of the world must have been solved. It’s particularly silly at universities, where I don’t think there is a serious white supremacist problem (college Republicans notwithstanding).

  32. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
    go to tech tab for work detail ????????

  33. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did

  34. Can somebody please tie in these trendy free speech arguments with the Redskins hysteria?

  35. I vaguely remember reading that Rauch piece, so I reread it again. I mostly agree with Rauch on this… “Finding the proper balance is not easy and isn’t supposed to be.”.

    Historically, humans have gone from one extreme to another. Look at the NFL’s handling of domestic violence, first it doesn’t exist, then it will get you expelled from the league. Seriously, that’s like handing out ice bags to wives and girlfriends. What woman dares report abuse if she is going to permanently lose her financial stability??
    Then look at that idiot Sterling, that was a bit scary. I would rather have seen all the players signing a petition telling him to stay the fuck away from their games or they wouldn’t play, than the League forcing him to sell. There is nothing like lost revenue to spring a collective conscience. And while I’m still on sports, how about Mark
    Cubans comments about thug looking guys walking down a sidewalk ?
    Wouldn’t we all want to step across the street? I mean, there are even
    thug looking guys– to thugs! All he got for being honest was a slew
    of media backlash.
    About the university student crisis on hurt feelings…you are honestly not going to find people to give a damn
    about educated ignorance. This oxymoron phenomenon deserves its own thesis.

    Then Mr. Rauch says, “If a Catholic adoption agency wants to refuse placements to same-sex couples, we will have to argue about where to draw lines.”

    Yup, we all have those lines to bare. What’s yours?

  36. Advocating genocide is advocating murder. That’s a far cry from mere hate speech.

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