Hate Speech

'Hate Speech Is the Secular Equivalent of Blasphemy' & Other Truths

As the EU tries to police offensive language, here's a better way to think about censorship: Screw off.


Haters, commence hating
Teen Street LDN, Tumblr

"The internet is a place for free speech," says the European Union's commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, Vera Jourová, "not hate speech."

To which, I literally reply: "What the fuck is hate speech, exactly? Like another phony, malleable concept — obscenity — it is simply a political category that gives power to the powerful to pick and choose what lesser mortals are allowed to read, think, and discuss (in the US, obscenity law did keep Lady Chatterley's Lover from being published for decades, so it did have that going for it)."

The EU has released a new code of conduct for social media and the Internet and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft have all signed up to help police "hate speech," with a particularly sharp eye on "racism and xenophobia." The great good people at Britain's Spiked are hosting a debate about this in London on June 15 (attend!) and they asked a bunch of folks, including me, to comment on the EU restrictions and whether any sort of speech should be restricted. It's a sharp group of commenters, many of whom—NYU psychologist Jonathan Haidt, FIRE's Greg Lukianoff, the ACLU's Nadine Strossen, Reason contributor Cathy Young—will be familiar to Reason readers. Go here to read the full exchange, but here are some highlights from other participants who are better known in the United Kingdom:

  • "Hate speech is the secular equivalent of blasphemy."—Frank Furedi, sociologist
  • "Everybody must be free to hate what or who they choose. That means being free to hate, not just fascists or Nigel Farage, but Muslims or Christians, transsexuals or Scousers, bankers or Bono."—Mick Hume, editor at large, Spiked
  • "Writing off opponents as haters, so that you can then just ignore them, is usually a precursor to dishing out today's acceptable form of hate speech: labelling those you disagree with as bigots."—Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas

There's many more provocative contributors and lines at the full forum. Speaking of hate, here are my thoughts on that:

Hate — like envy — is the planet's greatest renewable energy source, motivating humans to live better, richer, freer lives (my grandparents didn't leave Europe in the 1910s because they loved it). In the US, libel, which by definition is false, is already punishable by law. So are 'fighting words', and plots and actions to cause physical harm. Beyond that, let speech rip like Lear howling on the heath.

Read the whole thing.

Spiked is edited by Brendan O'Neill, who contributes to Reason, and always brings his A game to arguments about free speech. Last December, he stopped by the Reason DC offices and told us that "the real threat to free speech now is conformism and cowardice."

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  1. I literally reply:

    we get the point. now please stop

    1. Did you click the fucking link?

      1. I wasn’t talking about the link

        I was talking about the term “literally” being used as a snark-device

        1. The EU says “Free speech, not hate speech.”

          So I says “What the fuck is hate speech? I’m makin’ a pizza ova heeaa!!”

          Reminds me of that.

  2. “in the US, obscenity law did keep Lady Chatterley’s Lover from being published for decades, so it did have that going for it”

    I remember being up one bight and some Lady Chatterley soft core porn micie was on starring Adam West. Thought it quite funny.

    1. soft core porn micie

      I think you mean Richard Gere, not Adam West.

      1. I meant movie and Adam West. I hate this phone. 2 more weeks to upgrade.

        1. I seem to remember Adam West being in a number of soft core porn movies back before the internet, when you subscribed to Cinemax solely to see such programming (late 80’s-early 90’s?). He was in some series where there were a number of sequels, not sure if it was Lady Chatterly or Emmanuelle or something along those ‘super-R-rated’ lines.

          IIRC he was more of a comic foil character than someone actually getting nekkid.

          I think it’s how he kept food on the table between Batman and Family Guy. He certainly wasn’t doing much else back then.

          1. It’s not a tough transition from playing a guy who has a machine which strips off his clothes and puts him in a bondage outfit.

            1. BATMAN: “Oh, by the way, old chum, I sent your Robin costume off to be cleaned.”

              ROBIN: “Gosh, Batman, you could have told me *before* we slid down our automated stripper poles.”

              BATMAN: “Never mind, Robin, just but on this thong.”

  3. Hate speech is coming to America via the Democrat Party. It will be the same thing they do with the 2nd Amendment where they claim to support hunting. We need “common sense” speech laws. I support the first amendment in fact my friends and I often argue openly about deep dish versus thin crust and we agree that since we’re not Italian we have no right to eat either cause cultural appropriation.

    1. But the 1st Amendment will still protect porn. You will no longer be able to dissent or offer any opinion the powers that be don’t like but you will still get your porn. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

      1. Not once the SJWs have porn sex declared rape.

        1. Yeah. But gay sex is sacred to the SJWs. So you will still get gay porn. And Muslims are okay with pederasty. So, pederast porn will be okay.

          1. This deal is getting worse all the time.

      2. Well clearly the founding fathers created the 1st amendment to protect obsenity.

        1. Aren’t there like seven or eight federalist papers dedicated to the proposition that freely available hard core porn is essential to any properly functioning republic?

          1. Yes, I’m quite sure cussing like a sailor at a public park would not have got you thrown in a stockade by those same men who wrote the first amendment.

            1. They weren’t throwing you in the stocks for your language, but for being a mega-asshole. I bet it worked wonders.

              1. I don’t know why I always call them stockades. Stuck in my head for some reason.

                1. Pillbox? Pillsbury dough-boy?

    2. Hate speech is coming to America via the Democrat Party.

      Coming? It’s been here for decades. See “hostile work environment” for details.

  4. I got this box at my house that says awful things to me.

  5. There aren’t many things more hateful than locking someone up for saying words. I guess that’s the good kind of hate.

    1. If the SJWs want to get violent they really should learn how to fight first. That screeching idiot swings like a girl.

    2. Wow! Did that kid have rabies, or what?

      1. I think it was feral.

        1. It should be thankful it doesn’t live in Brazil or Colombia.

      2. I remember when that video originally came out. Someone on another site was supposedly a student at the same college, and was an acquaintance of the kid. Apparently he has significant emotional (psychological) issues and has almost no impulse control. The kid had had problems before.

        So he was biochemically a violently self-righteous asswipe.

    3. “I don’t like you!”

      Damn, the guy with the sign got rekt.

    4. Seems pretty obvious to me that poor kid has a developmental disorder. Which begs the question, why does Arizona State admit retards? Has equal opportunity come this far?

    1. The segment at 0:21 is quite instructive.

      When “the Right” (broadly speaking) has an incident such as Todd Akin’s comment, or Rush with the Sandra Fluke thing, or Trump with the Mexican judge, there is always a Call For Decency. “You must repudiate this hatred and disavow these people immediately!”

      But then this asshole in the video literally threatens someone…did anyone on the left have a single problem with that?

      1. Of course not, they applaud it.

  6. It is depressing how leftists take over everything. My Discques feed has a portion called “interesting users” where various users are suggested to be good to follow. I started looking at them out of curiosity and sure enough every single “interesting user” turns out to be a Huffpo Super User type appallingly stupid leftist. Progs really do ruin everything they are associated with.

    1. It’s because we’ve let them do it. For 100+ years now, 10-15% of the population (and it used to be a lot less) have screeched, screamed, plotted, and succeeded in taking over the media, our education system, our legal systems, and culture in general. While the rest of us just ignored them and went about our business like normal humans do.

      Who’s standing up to these assholes? Our entire media and legislative branch are terrified of them. All they have to do is just say they’re offended by something, no matter how absurd it is, and it get’s more absurd by the day, and the politicians just shut up and give in. Actually, they’ve went way beyond just shutting up and giving in. Now they have to issue humiliating apologies and actually stress how right the SJWs and the other assorted leftist retards are.

      That’s how we got here.

      I’m sick of it. These assholes deserve about a million more of Milo, Gavin M, and others like them . Fuck these assholes, they want war, they need to get it. And really there’s no choice now, there has to be severe blowback against these people, they need to be ridiculed mercilessly.

      1. That is why I want Trump to win. I just want to see these people suffer. And him winning will cause them to suffer the most. And whatever you think about Trump, it is not like any of the options are any better. So why not?

        1. I do appreciate what he’s dong to the PC nazis. He’s the first politician that I can remember not only standing up to them, but trolling them and refusing to back down. I hope this starts a trend, but it doesn’t look likely to happen out of the current group of spineless pussies in the GOP.

          1. I think his constant PC “gaffes” might be more clever than it looks. He keeps making them and doubling down on them knowing that the media will go crazy and make a big story about it. Since they can only talk about him so much, this pretty much ensures that all of their criticism relates to his alledged hating of Mexicans and being vulgar and all that. Meanwhile, Hillary never makes a “gaffe” and her various scandals and corruption are too big to ignore. So when the media talks about Hillary they invariably have to talk about real corruption and real scandals. The entire thing ends up framing the race as being between one candidate who commits the sins of saying mean or unPC things (which most people are tired of hearing about) against another candidate who seems to commit or is accused of crimes and public malfeasance. That is not a bad way for the public to view the election if you are Trump.

            1. The left are just asking for it. The like constantly and are always spouting the same debunked lies, like the 1 in 4 women are raped and so many others, and no one calls them on it. If leftist politicians start getting confronted in debates by people like Shapiro, McInness, or Milo, they will be humiliated. Of course they will cry foul and act like victims and demand apologies, but it won’t work. Are politicians on the right really too stupid to see this? Or just too cowardly?

              1. Also, I’m going to laugh when ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner threatens someone like he did Shapiro and then gets a well deserved beat down. What a fucking cunt.

    2. How kind of DISCUS to generate a troll target list for me.

      1. I know I’m late to this thread, but I like how you think. =D

  7. All I did was say to my wife, “That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!”.


    1. You’re only making it worse for yourself!

    2. I *totally wouldn’t recommend this* but I wonder what would happen if, at some university where they’re going to show Life of Brian, a bunch of flyers appear on campus proclaiming the movie to be triggering, sexist, racist and transphobic and demanding that the showing be cancelled.

      Just troll the media enough to call up the campus gender-studies people and ask for a reaction.

      1. Don’t forget it’s also triggering and offensive towards those with speech impediments.

        I image it would take little effort to play out your scenario on the right campus.

        What a strange world indeed we live where, albeit for different reasons, 20 year old Socialists and Strom Thurmond’s wife could walk in step on any issue, much less what is considered appropriate comedy.

        After mulling that last thought over, I need a drink.

        1. Strom Thurmond’s wife? You mean her?

      2. They’d have seizures if they ever saw Blazing Saddles.

        1. But the kids at San Diego State would *love* The Producers.

      3. And you wouldn’t even be lying about the “transphobic” part

  8. Hate Speech Is the Secular Equivalent of Blasphemy

    Of course it is. When I was a kid, you had the church ladies to deal with. But overall, they had no real power and no influence outside of their small fiefdoms.

    Now the church ladies have vast amounts of political part and have turned into insane militants. The left is the new religion that’s here to oppress and intimidate with their constant witch hunts and threats of force. Every faction of the left are like this. SJWs have labeled everyone haters, racists, bigots, etc, and the cult of warmists label everyone deniers and threaten them with force to try to silence them.

    1. I think those church ladies are a big reason I’m a libertarian. God, they were awful.

      1. Yeah, they were, but all they could do was call your mum and bitch about how your son is going to hell if he doesn’t straighten up. Now they have elected politicians and want those politicians to silence you and send armed goons after you if you don’t shut up.

    2. Progressive Theocracy

  9. Is it hate speech to mockingly repeat the words of a SJW back at them?

    If so, then it’s all about the, um, tone rather than the words.

    1. What they are doing is hate speech. Let me rephrase it, they are engaging in hateful speech. Unlike them, I support their right to say whatever they want. They should be mocked for it, but they shouldn’t be shut down or threatened for it. That’s the difference between them and the ones of us who will stand up for liberty. When they get their way, we won’t have a right to say anything, and neither will they. The latter part of that point is lost to them.

  10. As an online fighter of hate speech, my response is “Let ‘er rip!” Normally the people who commit hate speech are the ‘victims’ of hate trying to engender sympathy for their cause, or government/corporate agents trying to make everyone so angry that they start banning the speech which would give them an eternal jobs program like they already have in Europe – complete with midnight panty raids on Muslim neighborhoods televised nationwide. Speech restrictions provide justification for ‘extra-judicial enforcement’ (“If speech is illegal then I am justified to bomb the people who commit it”) and excuse for their own (“Arab countries are justified in speech bans since Europe does it too”). And yes I have heard both of these arguments explicitly – see the comment section in the recent Altantic article entitled “The Meaningless Politics of Liberal Democracies”. Speech is the new drug war – Europe must decriminalize immediately or they are headed for another periodic massacre as they well know. Oh and did I mention that the top Nazi propagandists were radicalized by Weimar blasphemy laws against anti-Semitism? Well, I’m sure you already knew that.

    1. complete with midnight panty raids on Muslim neighborhoods televised nationwide

      Do you have links for that?

      Europe needs for Brexit to happen.

  11. This is the Nick I know and love.

    Full throated defense of free speech.

  12. “Hate speec

    In other words, the state has no interest in regulating it? Perfect! Now fuck off.

  13. Hate ? like envy ? is the planet’s greatest renewable energy source

    Always good to start your comments with something completely nonsensical

  14. Here’s one hypothesis:

    The prog worldview is inherently absurd and ridiculous, and as such is highly vulnerable to ridicule.

    At some level the progs know this, and they know that mockery is a threat to their power.

    So they wish to criminalize mockery aimed at their pet causes, suppressing such mockery under the guise of “anti-racism,” “anti-Islamophobia,” and the like.

  15. “Hate speech is the secular equivalent of blasphemy.”?Frank Furedi, sociologist

    Hate Speech is to Progressivism as Blasphemy is to Islamism.

    1. The quote is fundamentally mistaken on one point.

      “Hate Speech”, as blasphemy law, is entirely antithetical to secularism, which is separation of Church and State. Hate speech laws, like blasphemy laws, are a characteristic of a theocracy – in this case, the Progressive Theocracy.

  16. The comparison to heresy and blasphemy laws was done by internet racists first.

    1. Says you? Sounds like something that is impossible to know. Particularly if you’re going to cite “the internet”.

      Does the idea of comparing of a new form of censorship to an old form of censorship really require a source?

  17. I am not cursing. I am praying in a profane manner.


  18. “The internet is a place for free speech,” says the European Union’s commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, Vera Jourov?, “not hate speech.”

    ‘Free speech’ is not ‘hate speech.’ Central committee wants speech to be ‘free’ of ‘hate,’ so we can love each other as long as you don’t touch each other for that is wrong and brings blushes to Vera.

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  20. RE: ‘Hate Speech Is the Secular Equivalent of Blasphemy’ & Other Truths
    As the EU tries to police offensive language, here’s a better way to think about censorship: Screw off.

    We simply cannot have hate speech.
    Otherwise the First Amendment would have meaning.
    We all know what that leads to.

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