Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Chicago Students Vow to Destroy 'Hate Speech' As Soon As They Figure Out What It Is

What is hate speech? The aptly-named Chicago Maroon has no idea.

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University of Chicago
Adam Jones

What is hate speech? The aptly-named Chicago Maroon has no idea.

The University of Chicago's Committee on Free Expression recently published a surprisingly unqualified defense of free speech on campus (surprising only because university commissions are often hostile to speech and the group's name was fairly Orwellian). Its authors noted the university's rich history of bringing controversial speakers to campus for the sake of exposing students to a truly wide-range of ideas.

In response, The Maroon—a student newspaper—ran an editorial requesting clarification from the committee. Because free speech is all well and good, but what about hate speech? Obviously, we can't have any of that. Someone's feelings could get hurt. The editorial demands that the university do a better job separating good speech from bad speech, thereby protecting the community:

The University needs to clearly differentiate hate speech and offensive speech. Hate speech is defined as "speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits," according to the American Bar Association. The report's failure to clearly define hate speech implies that all speech short of unlawful harassment is acceptable, no matter how vile or cruel. While it is important for students to challenge each other's opinions, this should not come at the expense of students' mental well-being or safety. …

Freedom of expression is essential to a productive and creative learning environment. This means students must be prepared to listen to opinions that differ from their own. Speech that challenges commonly held assumptions can be beneficial. Hate speech benefits no one because it seeks only to tear down, not to build up. The University needs to directly address hate speech for the good of productive discourse.

Unfortunately—or quite fortunately, depending upon your perspective—The Maroon's definition of hate speech is hopelessly subjective. Who gets to decide whether certain kinds of speech reasonably contribute to a person's mental anguish? And the assertion that hate speech serves no public use is simply untrue. We learn as much from listening to ideas that we vigorously oppose as we do from ideas that we already hold to be true.

The university's only obligation with respect to hate speech is to make sure everyone on campus knows that all speech—even the confrontational and irritating kind—is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, many college administrators do a terrible job of communicating these fundamental freedoms to their students. And clearly some students have no respect for such freedoms, in any case.

The Charlie Hebdo attack has thrust the issue of censorship into the public spotlight. Many Americans are saying "Je Suis Charlie" to show solidarity with the satirical magazine that drew the wrath of radical Islam. But, as The New York Times' David Brooks recently opined:

Let's face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

The Maroon's editorial—which is one of the most staggeringly unenlightened student op-eds I have ever read (and I've read lots of them!)—gives credence to Brooks' assertion.

The Committee on Free Expression has its work cut out for it, that's for sure.

Hat tip: Robert Shibley / FIRE

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  1. Hitchens on Free Speech

    Hate speech benefits no one because it seeks only to tear down, not to build up.

    Because we should ban wrecking balls since they don’t build new buildings

    1. Fungus and explosives benefit no one because they seek only to tear down, not to build up.

    2. Hitchens hit that one about 550ft.

    3. Hitchens was a brilliant guy, profoundly well-read and knowledgeable about a narrow band of philosophical pursuits. His talents were strong in the areas of Socratic dialog and as a theology/mythology polemicist. An intelligent well-spoken guy, who was backasswards retarded about political philosophy and economics, or any of science of human action.

      To his credit, he abandoned Marxism in his later years and maybe had he lived to be a hundred, he might have seen the light on the issue of freedom.

  2. While it is important for students to challenge each other’s opinions, this should not come at the expense of students’ mental well-being or safety.

    I’ve said it before. If you’re that fragile that you can’t be exposed to words without your feelings of safety being shaken, higher education might not be for you.

    Ha, maroon.

  3. The Maroon

    Racist!

    1. And what does that make Maroon Five?

      1. shitty. it makes them shitty.

      2. The most awesome band since Silverchair?

        1. At least the singer from Silverchair sounded like a human being. The Maroon Five dude uses so much AutoTune that Stephen Hawking’s voice sounds more natural.

  4. Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance.

  5. “Hate speech is defined as “speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits,” according to the American Bar Association”.

    If this were any other organization or any other topic, more people would recognize this as rent seeking.

    Litigating First Amendment cases is more fun than chasing ambulances, and I bet it pays better, too.

  6. What about “icky” speech*? I mean, shouldn’t we all be protected from “icky” speech?

    *Definition- anything said by someone who I think is icky.

    1. shouldn’t we all be protected from “icky” speech?

      Right on! Except, of course, when said speech is uttered by someone with a discernible lisp.

    2. It all depends on why you think they’re icky.

      If you think they’re icky because they’re Christian, then it’s all good. If you think they’re icky because they’re Muslim, then you’re a hater.

      If you think they’re icky because they’re breeders, then it’s all good. If you think they’re icky because they’re homosexual, then you’re a hater.

      If you think they’re icky because they’re conservative, then it’s all good. If you think they’re icky because they’re progressive, then you’re a hater.

      Principals, not principles.

      1. no, they’re icky because they’re uggoes and fatties.

        1. That’s intolerance.

          If you hate them because they’re thin and good looking then you’re being tolerant. Because by being thin and good looking, they make the uggoes and fatties feel bad about themselves.

      2. There actually is a principle at play, sort of: shit flows downhill. So the “privileged” can be evil, but the oppressed can’t. If the oppressed do something shitty, it is only because they are inundated by shit flowing down from those above them in the hierarchy. And of course, being collectivists, it’s groups that hold power, not individuals. So straight white men are powerful and privileged, regardless of what any individual straight white man may experience. You build the hierarchy down from there. It’s why it was so important to the people in that stupid video to rank eachother based on their level of oppression. It sets a upper limit on how awful different groups can be. The whole microagression, trigger warning, privilege checking thing is designed to force people to debase themselves and wallow in the shit that groups lower on the social ladder supposedly find themselves mired in.

        1. By debasing yourself, you partly lower yourself in the hierarchy and limit how evil you can be.

        2. The whole thing is built on a giant conceit. They claim that people are victimized by false consciousness or poverty or oppression such that they are no longer responsible for their actions. Okay, but how then do the people who point this out know this? How are they not victims too? And indeed, once they realize this, doesn’t that make them no longer victims?

          The whole thing is nothing but them asserting their superiority over the people they claim to help. You are oppressed and don’t know any better but I do.

  7. Hate speech benefits no one because it seeks only to tear down, not to build up.

    Some things should be torn down.

  8. And my God, if universities are a bellwether for the next generation of politicians, we are so fucked. The First Amendment will be dead in 20 years.

    1. What’s probably more scary is that all of our future judges are coming from these intellectual shitholes.

      Politicians, being politicians, can and do alter their views according to political expediency.

      Judges don’t necessarily do that.

      First, Second and Fourth Amendments are likely to be gutted in the next 20-30 years, if you ask me.

      Of course, within that time we are also likely to see an economic implosion which will drive a shit ton of bad policy so maybe it won’t matter.

      1. And worse still, the legal field is dying. Ever year fewer and fewer people apply to law school and the intellectual capital of the ones who do is worse than before. Overall, that is a good thing. We don’t want our smartest people going into the law. The downside of that is that our judges are going to get even dumber. It is amazing how the quality of applicants to law school has dropped. They made the LSAT easier about ten years ago and the LSAT scores of even the top schools are going down.

        1. [T]he intellectual capital of the ones who do is worse than before.

          Hey, now!

    2. They are the bellwether for our next generations of elites. I think a good portion of the rest of the generation is fine. But the ones at the top of it seem to be hopeless. If we don’t get new elites, you are probably right.

  9. What is sad about this is that this is one of the great educational institutions in America and in the Western World. This is the place that gave us the Chicago School of Economics, where sustainable nuclear fission was first achieved, that runs one of the great particle accelerators in the world, and does a lot of other things. And now, the students who attend there, all of whom are no doubt some of the brightest people, are this ignorant and muddle headed. The issue of free speech aside, this makes me think the country, our civilization and the world in general is doomed.

    1. Maybe it’s just the bubbleheaded undergrads that are targeted by this stuff. The grad students and professors who are doing all the real work don’t have time to waste on such nonsense.

      1. Lets hope so. I would like to think that for every idiot out protesting against “hate speech” there is at least one person in a library or a lab actually doing something.

      2. The liberal arts are dead though. Just a guess, but I bet most or all of the people doing this are liberal arts majors. I say this as someone who loves the liberal arts, but anyone who majors in liberal arts today at all but the most backward and conservative schools is wasting their time at best and mostly likely risking real intellectual damage to themselves. And I don’t mean that because of the lack of job prospects that come with these degrees. I mean, job prospects or no, getting these degrees at these places makes you stupid.

        1. Sadly, I think you are right, John.

          Back when I was applying to schools I had no idea what I wanted to do after. My dad actively encouraged me to get a liberal arts degree – it would teach me to consider multiple views, think, be critical, and to communicate. This was back in the mid-80’s and I think I got out before Grievance Studies and all the other PC bullshit began to take over.

          I don’t know if a liberal arts degree is worth it anymore especially if you are just going to be indoctrinated and not educated.

          1. I disagree, we can’t have non-credentialed social justice warriors just roaming the streets. Chaos would result, how would we know who to listen to? The progressive stack can only do so much!

          2. My dad did the same thing. He worked in business with technical people and he knew the value of being able to think and communicate effectively. I was really lucky that I was a screw up in high school and didn’t get good grads. Had I gotten good grades, I might have gone to a top school and ended up learning a bunch of shit or worse. As it was, I went to a state school that was 20 years behind the times, which in the late 1980s made it a pretty enlightened place.

        2. Check out “Why Literature Is Bad for You”:
          http://www.amazon.com/Why-lite…..ad+for+you

      3. Probably. That was a fair summary of Princeton, at least with regard to grad students and professors in the STEM subjects.

  10. Speaking of free speech, David Brooks manages to be such a smug asshole, even Salon manages to rightly call him out. Just days after the Charlie Hebdo murders, Brooks goes on national TV and talks about how he and others are at the “adult table” and Hebdo and Maher and Coulter are at the “children’s table”. That is right, he calls the victims of political terrorism and murder “children” just two days or whatever after their deaths. Yeah, David is a real adult alright.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/0…..columnist/

    1. David Brooks is a cunt.

      1. I call for Restoras to be banned for uttering such an offensive, hateful thing.

        1. I am offended! I demand RBS be banned for being offended by my offensiveness and for his ugly othering of me!

      2. When you are such a cunt that Salon calls you out and makes sense doing so, you are some kind of epic cunt. What a disgrace that guy is.

  11. The report’s failure to clearly define hate speech implies that all speech short of unlawful harassment is acceptable, no matter how vile or cruel.

    See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?

  12. The funniest part was:

    [i] What is more concerning are the University’s apparent inconsistencies on this issue. In an e-mail sent on November 24 in response to the false hacking incident, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Karen Warren Coleman reiterated the University’s “commitment to a diverse campus free from harassment and discrimination.” [/i]

    I had to read it about six times – if I understand correctly, the fact that some student posted racist threats against himself on his own facebook page shows the need to punish speech.

    1. Sort of like how the fact that some nut made up a story that she was gang raped at a University of Virginia Fraternity shows the need to do something about the sexual assault problem in the fraternity system.

      Its the narrative that matters, not the truth or the facts. In both the hacking case and the false rape case, the made up stories show the importance of a problem and their being false doesn’t matter because they are helping to bring attention to the right narrative.

      This is actually how these people think.

  13. On this topic we actually do have hate speech laws in the US. It’s just predicated upon other conditions. RC Dean also mentioned it before.

    Fire or not hire someone? Perfectly legal…. Until you combine it with hateful speech. Now you’re in big trouble.

    Shoving someone or slapping them without injury might result in a minor misdeamor at worst. The judge may even let you off if it’s your first time and seal the record. But combine it with hateful speech? Felony hate crime.

    Remember this case?
    How Dharun Ravi’s Prosecutors Turned a Minor, Nonviolent Offense Into a Felony Subject to a 10-Year Prison Sentence
    The sentence was reduced to 30-days jail and probation, but he’s still now a felon. This would not have been possible if it were not for his tweets mocking homosexuality.

    1. That was appalling on so many levels. And wasn’t the whole thing a lie anyway? I seem to remember it turned out that the kid didn’t kill himself because of what Ravi did. The kid killed himself because his affair with a much older man ended badly. Maybe I am not remembering correctly, but I really remember that the kid’s suicide wasn’t even as simple as “my roommate was mean to me”.

    1. I love the “partial list of free speech exceptions” that is in like 5 point font, single spaced, and takes up the bottom quarter of the poster. That is a hell of a lot of exceptions.

  14. One thing that I like to point out to defenders of restrictions on hate speech is that people whom they oppose can and do cry “hate speech” to avoid criticism just as easily. I have yet to get a response.

    1. Hate speech is determined by the speaker, not what is spoken.

  15. The University needs to clearly differentiate hate speech and offensive speech. Hate speech is defined as “speech that offends…”

    Emphasis added.

    1. They left out the last clause of what they really meant, “speech that offends me”.

      That is what is even more pathetic about these people. As dumb as the things they say are, what they actually want is even worse. These people love to offend people. They love hate speech. Get up and call every white male an oppressor and a rapist or talk about how Christianity is a homoerotic pagan cult or how Jews are a fifth column for Israel and these people will think you are just speaking truth to power.

      1. These people love to offend people.

        When they do it, it’s just being “fucking edgy, because cunts.”

        1. That is right because there is nothing more edgy and courageous than being a Marxist or feminist or both on an American college campus. It takes real courage to do and say exactly what the powers that be want you to do and say and go after groups of people who have been declared open targets.

          1. Marxism and feminism are for those that want to be special achievers but don’t want to put in the mental effort it takes. They’re intellectually lazy and constantly making excuses for their positions.

            It’s always “yeah, but that person is privileged, that’s a philosophy that was held by patriarchal society, that goes against the progressive stack…” and so on. It the constant beat of the ad hominem argument.

            1. True. They are not even coherent enough to be called Marxists anymore. It is nothing but one giant juvenile scream for attention and privilege. The most ironic part about this, and there are many ironic things about this, is that they spend their lives obsessed with everyone’s privilege when they are in reality the most privileged people on earth. Who is more privileged than a student at an elite American University? Not many people I can think of.

              1. None more so. They have so much opportunity that they can afford to waste it pursuing dead end philosophies.

    2. Because speech that is inoffensive and popular is what the First Amendment was intended to protect.

  16. Now that this is posted on Reason, look who’s shown up in the comments over there!

    (responding to someone who said the article was offensive)

    Kizone Kaprow ? 11 minutes ago

    “I find this really offensive.”
    Wait, you’re “offended” by free speech? Oh, the irony.

    1. Oooh! I shoulda scrolled down more!

      Kizone Kaprow ? 18 minutes ago

      Nice going! Do you know what you’ve done, Maroon Editorial Board? According to the keyboard warriors at anarcho-libertarian propaganda site Reason.com, “The country, our civilization and the world in general is doomed” because of one editorial at one newspaper at one university. Is my cited quotation just a hysterical anomaly? Apparently not, judging by the comments below.

      Get a grip, kids. Free speech means the freedom to say dumb things, as you have unwittingly demonstrated. And the world never ends. It just gets noisier.
      https://reason.com/blog/2015/01

    2. That is Mary Stack. Don’t encourage her. She just wants attention and is dangerously crazy.

      1. I know it’s Mary. Not engaging her, but just pointing it out after it happened last week with the Tamir Rice articles. She’s scarily obsessed.

        1. She is. Warty told me about that and I went and looked. I thought she was just a Prog troll. But there she is some kind of cop worshiper. She doesn’t believe in anything other than she hates Reason. It is just crazy.

          1. And she reads everything. Imagine the commitment to hating us that must take.

            It’s also been demonstrated many times that she also monitors all of our personal blogs. And she wormed her way into grylliade and they refused to ban her.

            1. Psychiatrists say that not even the most skilled professional actor can fake real insanity. She really is an example of that. The normal trolls who have come on here are obviously people of whatever political persuasion coming on here to say outrageous things to screw with the board because they don’t like its views. She, however, is something different. You can always tell after a few posts when its her. It is coherent for a while and coherent enough it doesn’t look like someone just screwing with things. Then there is always some kind of twist where she goes crazy.

              1. Agreed. She has some very poor impulse control. Borderline personality disorder for a start, with massive paranoid fixations and a raging martyr complex.

                If it wasn’t for us, a place she can blame for all her problems and vomit her vitriol all over, she’d probably be in jail or dead.

            2. I should start a personal blog, then. I need a hater to annoy.

      2. The only stack more fucked up than the progressive stack.

  17. I think only hate speech should be allowed on campuses

  18. I think only hate speech should be allowed on campuses

    That’s crazy. You’re crazy. People go to college to learn what to think. They don’t want a bunch of random crazyness cluttering up their heads.

    1. You’re crazy.

      ABLEIST HATE SPEECH!

  19. Nice work Robby.

    You don’t know the power of the hate speech!

  20. Imagine the commitment to hating us that must take.

    Why can’t it just take up a nice hobby, like building ships in bottles, or self-flagellation?

  21. “Hate speech” ranks up there with “thought crime”.

    1. The notion of “hate speech” IS “thought crime”.

  22. Let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

    That’s the smartest thing David Brooks ever wrote.

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  24. Their fear of “hate speech” is funny in one way. These folks, after all, pride themselves on their intellectual superiority–in other words, exactly the sort of folks who could most easily debunk arguments that aren’t based on reason.

    Mayhaps their pride in their intellect is misplaced, and deep down they know it.

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