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What Is Hate Speech? We Asked College Students

Should the U.S. join other countries in regulating certain speech? Can people even agree on what 'hate speech' is?

What do you think of when you hear the term "hate speech"? For many, it conjures images of torch-wielding mobs in Charlottesville or right-wing provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos. For some, such conduct seems reprehensible enough to merit government regulation.

But it turns out that defining "hate speech" isn't as easy as pointing to extreme examples of bigotry and racism.

In the United States, the First Amendment grants absolute protection of even the most vile speech, as long as it doesn't directly incite violence. There is no special legal treatment of hateful words. But the tide may be turning. 40 percent of Americans now believe the government should regulate so-called "hate speech."

Many developed countries, including Canada and much of Europe, have passed laws that criminalize certain speech deemed hateful. France has prosecuted comedians for Facebook posts, the U.K. has imprisoned people for offensive tweets, and Germany threatened to prosecute a comic over a poem about Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Social media examples have also demonstrated how speech codes often backfire and hurt the very minorities they are intended to protect. Though Facebook and Twitter are private companies free to ban whatever they like on their platforms, their attempts to control hateful speech have resulted in bans of feminists for saying that "all men are trash," and rapper Lil B was suspended for posting "White people are the only ones who really love they guns U can tell they are violent people!"

College campuses have become the epicenter of the free speech debate, with incidents of college students shouting down and even physically attacking controversial speakers becoming increasingly common in recent years. So we headed to the University of Southern California to see if students there could define "hate speech" for us, and whether they thought it should be outlawed.

Many who desired government intervention were motivated by what they see as the rise in hateful rhetoric associated with Trumpism and the far right. But does it make sense to give the government more control over speech, when the government is run by people like Donald Trump?

Can speech ever be violence? Is bigotry and ignorance best countered via the free exchange of ideas or the criminal justice system? Do universities have more of an obligation to let students be challenged and possibly offended, or to protect them from "harmful" or "hateful" ideas?

We found opinions on campus that ran the gamut.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller and Justin Monticello. Hosted by Monticello. Edited by Weissmueller. Camera by Weissmueller and Monticello. Graphics by Brett Raney. Music by Elvis Herod.

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  • Longtobefree||

    Hate speech is anything said, printed, posted, tweeted, or otherwise made available to any human by anyone who is politically to my left.
    So lock them up and take away their internet forever.
    Thanks; next question?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    People whose frontal cortex has not finished myelinating should not have a say in any matters of policy. Raise the voting age to 25.

  • Widhalm19||

    I agree with you. Clearly, youngsters from 18 to 24 may have acquired some knowledge but have little experience to temper their understanding of the way things actually work in this world. Raise the voting age to 25!

  • operagost||

    But allow people with Alzheimer's or the mentally ill to vote? How about healthy people who are growing older, as the frontal cortex tends to atrophy by about 0.5% every year after 60? No voting for people over 65! The AARP will love that!

  • p3orion||

    You must have missed the stories about Alzheimer's facilities registering all their residents, then bussing them to polling places to "assist" them with voting for obama.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    That would cost a lot, to incarcerate them. Instead, offer them a chance at a new life, with all the comradery they want, in a new place. That place is Antarctica.

    If they don't leave, then it's the woodchipper for them.......

  • Quixote||

    There's plenty of room for them in the penal colonies of America, and who cares about the cost. I say jail them all, preferably at Rikers Island, and then send them to Antarctica along with the trolls and "satirists" of the Net. Surely no one here would agree with the extreme, liberal position taken by a single so-called judge in our nation's leading criminal "parody" case? Articles such as this one, clearly written by a left-wing academic, should rapidly be banned from university libraries:

    https://forward.com/opinion/385050/

  • ||

    Can speech ever be violence?

    By itself or are we allowed to invoke weirding modules and the bene gesserit?

  • Jimothy||

    I have no idea what those mean. Hate speech!

  • sarcasmic||

    "sarcasmic" is a killing word.

  • Billi||

    Enough about your erections.

  • Aloysious||

    Politics is all about erections, especially on erection day.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The Chinese love reception day. So many tiny Chinese chubbys............

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Of course speech can be violence. I can think of a dozen examples. But you need a direct causal link between the utterance and the act of violence, with no free choice between the two.

  • Widhalm19||

    Funny comment. In the original text, there were no weirding modules. The Bene Gesserit and Paul Mo'hadib spoke "The Voice" when necessary. Great novel ....

  • Azathoth!!||

    Muad'Dib

  • Zeb||

    "Hate speech" is an evil, insidious concept incompatible with any notion of free speech or rational discourse, and is ultimately pretty meaningless. Hate is how you feel about someone or something, not what words you use or whether you offend people. So it just ends up punishing people for being assholes or holding unpopular views.

  • Rhywun||

    It is truly evil. If these kids get their way, you can pretty much say goodbye to the American experiment.

  • Billi||

    So what to do about it? The overwhelming desire to not be publicly bullied into compliance is pretty strong, and most people don't want to deal with being stigmatized.

  • Rhywun||

    The grown-ups in the room need to curb this s--t before it gets any further out of hand. With helpful references to the Constitution as appropriate.

  • Billi||

    The grown ups have become afraid of Twitter

  • Billi||

    Seriously, I don't mean to be snarky, but it's like you didn't read my post, or think there is a secret cabal of grown ups waiting to step in once things get bad enough.

    There isn't. The grown ups have abdicated.

  • Zeb||

    I don't mean to be snarky

    If so, you aren't doing a very good job.

  • Billi||

    In THAT post? Oh, ok, fuck off then.

  • ||

    The grown ups have become afraid of Twitter

    Right, when I send my kids to their room for being obnoxious or ignore a crying infant it's because I'm scared of them.

  • Billi||

    Totally relevant.

  • Billi||

    ...also...what kind of fucking idiot brings up an infant in response to twitter?

    How would an infant even post on twitter? Would they be able to type with their stubby little fingers? Seems impossible.

    One wonders how much of an imbecile a person must be to even suggest such an idea.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You sound like you are on the spectrum, Billi.

  • Billi||

    This is exactly the sort of childish shit that you see in twitter.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    LOL chipper that killed me.

  • ||

    ...also...what kind of fucking idiot brings up an infant in response to twitter?

    What kind of emotionally-stunted nitwit unequivocally associates dislike, aversion, avoidance, or even just under representation with fear?

    You can be an adult without ever having visited Twitter. So why would you assume that the lack of adults on Twitter is because of fear?

    You sound like the children you're emoting against. May as well call those of us who don't wade into the self-identifying shitstorm that is Twitter as Twitterphobes perjoratively.

  • Billi||

    "So why would you assume that the lack of adults on Twitter is because of fear? "

    Why would your stunted fucking reading skills !election think I said that, imbecile who brought up infants posting on twitter?

  • DesigNate||

    You don't see any similarity between the retards who screech and cry on twitter and infants? Really?

  • Billi||

    "May as well call those of us who don't wade into the self-identifying shitstorm that is Twitter "

    You seem to have utterly misread what I posted.

  • Billi||

    "What kind of emotionally-stunted nitwit unequivocally associates dislike, aversion, avoidance, or even just under representation with fear? "

    What kind of poorly reading waterhead thinks someone did that.

  • Billi||

    I think it's fucking awesome that mad.casual actually showed his ass over something he read and didn't actually understand properly.

    That made my day.

  • BYODB||

    Yep, Billi is indeed on the spectrum after all.

  • Billi||

    I like how you stigmatize autism. Classy.

  • Billi||

    Hey BYODB, can I have your na!we so I can let your friends and family know on Twitter That you guys stigmatized autism?

    Oh right...That would perfectly prove my original point.

  • Billi||

    *your name

  • BYODB||

    Amusingly, your statement only holds true if your behavior is stigmatizing.

  • ||

    I like how you stigmatize autism. Classy.

    I like how you think he's the one stigmatizing autism.

  • Billi||

    I mean, he ACTUALLY THOUGHT I MEANT LITERALLY AFRAID OF TWITTER ! The APPLICATION!!!

    "You whippersnappers and your demon apps!!!"

    Lololol are you ACTUALLY retarded?

  • Dai wie||

    "LOL"? What are you? Thirteen?

  • Billi||

    Ahahahahahahahahahah

    The fucking idiot ACTUALLY THOUGHT I MEANT HE WAS SCARED OF THE APP HIDING UNDER HIS BED!!!!

    IT'S GONNA GET YOU !!!!! BOOGABOOGA!!!

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAAA

    /sock

  • BYODB||

    Well, that is what you wrote. Ergo if that belief is retarded, one should examine where it originated. (Hint: It originated with your statement.)

    The grown ups have become afraid of Twitter

    This is a fairly simple statement with clear meaning.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The grown-ups ARE afraid of twitter--and pretty much all the rest of weaponized social media

    Haven't you noticed?

    Do you think whining anonymously here has any effect?

    If all the 'grown-ups' who bitch about the actions of the SJW generation actually did something about it in the real world--like firing their asses when they can't grasp that no one cares how they feel about the task at hand, just get it done, correctly and within the profit margin--we wouldn't be having these problems.

    Instead, workplaces are offering classes in how to coddle your millennial co-workers--and you HAVE to coddle them because it's pretty easy to generate a social media shitstorm.

  • Widhalm19||

    Good point. My god .... how did so many Americans become so spineless?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That could be said about every generation of college students.

    Which, ugh.

  • JFree||

    If these kids get their way...

    The actual responses were perfectly fine. Yes - they had an initial reaction towards regulation of it. And they also pretty much realized that it isn't something that can be regulated.

    Personally I see them in a much better place than those who fearmonger themselves into hysteria that hate speech is no longer 'allowed' - but is 'necessary' as well - in order to suspend all disbelief about voting for a guy like Trump because he 'proves' that it can still exist - even though he's exactly the sort who would regulate speech.

  • BYODB||

    And while we're at it, hate crimes need to be erased from the books as well. As if you can ever know the intent behind a crime, or even that the intent itself matters in relation to the crime itself.

    It's bizarre that someone beating the shit out of someone because they're black is worse than beating the shit out of someone because you hate their stupid face. It's the exact same action, yet a different punishment. This erodes the very foundation of equal protection under the law.

  • ||

    Damn you BYODB!

  • Kivlor||

    Just remember, it's only a "hate crime" if it happens to non-white people. Look at the Chicago kidnapping and torture of that sped kid. The Negroes live streamed it to the world, and specifically stated they were doing it because fuck whites and Trump won the election.

    Hate crime charges are just a way to try to keep white people in fear of speaking up about what is happening to their communities and their people.

  • ||

    Actually I have to hand it to the justices here, probably only because of the HUGE backlash and the idiots' idea to live stream it--this became a clear case for "hate crime" as it is defined. It was one of their charges.

  • Devastator||

    "The Negroes" lmao get thee back to the 40s

  • mtrueman||

    "As if you can ever know the intent behind a crime, or even that the intent itself matters in relation to the crime itself."

    The difference between murder and manslaughter is what?

  • Devastator||

    That's wrong. There are certainly crimes based on hate. However consequences are the same. If I walk over to your house and hit you in the face with a brick because A) you kicked my dog or B) you are black, what is the difference? In both cases you have a black eye and it's assault in the 1st degree. Why should B result in a longer sentence than A? But you can't deny it's a hate crime in the case of B. To do so is disingenous.

  • Cyto||

    This example actually helps make the case for hate crime laws. Here's why"

    Smashing a neighbor with a brick because he kicked your dog results in damage to the neighbor. It also damages the civility of the neighborhood. But that is about it.

    If a klansman purporting to represent "white people" attacks a neighbor with a brick because he hates black people, that also damages the neighbor. But far beyond that incident, it creates animus and discord in the community. People are almost automatically tribal, so attacking "one of us" will almost always draw groups together and set them against each other.

    Look at the OJ Simpson case for an example of this. The minute OJ got accused of murder, US and THEM became the litmus test. When F. Lee Bailey made it about "using the N-word", that was solidified.

    So if you want to have a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society, you'd better do something to keep the easily identifiable groups from balkanizing.

    Not that I actually support such laws.... but if you want an argument in favor of them, it is an argument of practicality. "Crimes against ethnic minorities because of their ethnicity have a high probability of generating lasting racial tensions and more violence. Therefore, such crimes must be deterred at all costs..."

  • JFree||

    This. Hate crimes are intended to intimidate more than just the victim. The original 1968 legislation simply provided federal protection for some activities - attempting to vote, attending school, being in a public place, applying for a job, serving on a jury, etc. So it gave the feds the legal ability to step in and prosecute in exactly the situations where courts in the South had, for generations, deliberately let those crimes go unpunished because the community wanted the broader intimidation to occur. So the effect was highly unequal protection under the law.

    The post-1968 definitions at the state level are legally little more than an explicit statement of an aggravating sentencing circumstance - which has always existed in all jurisdictions - but which prior to 1968 were often treated as mitigating circumstances instead.

    And it doesn't seem to me that that legal authority is really being abused either. In 2008, 7 out of 16,000 homicides - and 1,000 out of 800,000 aggravated assaults were deemed 'hate crimes'. Statistically, that's about a 4 sigma event (a 0.1% probability) - and most of those were probably done purely at the state level with no federal override.

  • ||

    Hate is how you feel about someone or something

    I kinda wish Reason were more adamant about extrapolating this to and from hate crime in general. Once the motive or emotional state intrinsically carries weight on a/the crime, you're effectively diminishing the crime itself. I know it sounds like a bit of a leap but you can find examples, far and wide, of people who've slid all the way down this slippery slope and believe that intentionally misgendering someone's pronouns is an offense worse than if you'd just punched them in the face randomly or over some money or spilled milk. The crime itself is entirely obviated, to the point where they won't admit that violence is a crime and the intent, which they acknowledge they can't know or distinguish, is the socially unacceptable act. Reason, at times, seems to stop shy of rolling things all the way back to a point where punching someone in the face was a crime, full stop.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Once the motive or emotional state intrinsically carries weight on a/the crime, you're effectively diminishing the crime itself.

    It's one reason that I have philosophical difficulty with Murder/Manslaughter. Or Murder 1 versus Murder 2. Or Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Things like that are hard cases for me.

  • Zeb||

    Hmm. I tend to think that those (especially the manslaughter/murder distinction) are exactly the cases where it is clearly necessary and appropriate to look at intent. If state of mind and intent don't matter, how do you make a self-defense claim to defend against a murder charge, for example?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I know, and agree. The question is what is the line for intent for Murder/Manslaughter versus intent for a hate crime? I think maybe we can discuss the issue of planning being the major distinguishing factor, which is an action, distinct from the actual reason why.

    Also, we can probably argue the difference between agreeing an intent exists period versus the actual quality of the intent. As in, there is a valid philosophical difference between doing it for SOME conscious reason, versus caring what that specific reason is. Should murdering one's wife for insurance money carry a worse penalty than murdering them so they can marry someone else versus murdering them so they can be alone? That, I would be willing to argue, is not a meaningful legal distinction.

    Though I truly don't know. I am not a legal guy. Maybe I can go bother Eugene Volokh.

  • Devastator||

    that's not a good comparison is why would murder 2 again a black man result in a longer sentence (because you have a history as a white supremicist) than murder 2 towards a white guy you killed in a bar fight. Why would the sentence be different?

  • JFree||

    The purpose of the hate crime statute is to prevent a defense from putting the victim on trial for exercising their protected rights. That is actually what happened in the Jim Crow south - beat up a black man for something now protected (registering to vote, attempting to desegregate something, being in town after sunset, etc) - then claim the victim actually 'provoked' the response by being uppity - in order to appeal to the jury for a lesser sentence or even jury nullification of the specific crime itself.

    Ignore the murder stuff. It is statistically insignificant as a hate crime. Aggravated assault is where the hate crime designation has had an impact. Simply charging them with aggravated assault and leaving the broader hate intent/impact unstated DID open the door for a defense that resulted in only misdemeanor conviction (and not even that for most of the jim Crow era). Attaching the hate crime designation (in now 1 out of 800 aggravated assault cases) made it a)possible to charge for aggravated assault and b)eliminated the defense/juror strategy of 'outside agitators are making our niggers uppity and so it is obvious that that upsets us good people. JimmyBob was just upset at that. He's good people too.'

  • JFree||

    Actually looking back at the last year (2008) for hate crime designation before it dropped dramatically under Obama (imo- the mere existence of a black Prez changes the perception of most normal people on a jury that it is just plain wrong to fuck with someone merely because they are black - so fewer offenses need the designation of 'hate crime' attached):

    Of the 9168 'offenses' designated as hate crimes:
    2970 were property destruction/vandalism
    2704 were intimidation
    1778 were simple (misdemeanor) assault
    1025 were aggravated assault
    53 were arson/bombing
    11 were rape
    7 were murder/manslaughter

    The stuff at the bottom of that list is basically irrelevant. The stuff at the top is what people could/did get away with with 'hate' undesignated.

  • p3orion||

    "The crime itself is entirely obviated, to the point where they won't admit that violence is a crime..."

    Of course. That lets them justify burning cars, smashing windows, and beating anyone with a MAGA hat in protest of conservative "hate speech."

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Ugh, college students.

  • albo||

    Asking college students for their opinions is like interviewing your dog.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    At least the dog shows gratitude.

  • Kivlor||

    Yeah, I'd rather interview my dog any day of the week. And he gets excited in a positive kind of way when you talk to him, opposite of the screeching you hear from campus kids.

  • DarrenM||

    They lick the microphone?

  • John C. Randolph||

    They are depressingly stupid. Like if Tony was cloned a couple hundred times.

    -jcr

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I remember when my mother taught me about what these folk call "hate speech" and how to deal with it. I was five years old. Why can't college students--who at least technically are adults--learn how to deal with it?

  • DesigNate||

    Sticks and stones?

  • MoreFreedom||

    Exactly!

    Hate speech to me, is any argument to use government to restrict our freedoms or take our stuff when one is not harming anyone else.

    They hate that you've got a lot of money and they don't, that you burned a flag you bought, that you're eating goose liver, that you're smoking pot, that your not attending their Mosque, that you kneel during the national anthem, that they don't want you in their club, that you think poorly of homosexuals, that you think highly of homosexuals, etc. They can pound sand as far as I'm concerned, because their words can never hurt me (slander excepted).

  • Marshall Gill||

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can really, really, really hurt me

  • Billi||

    "What Is Hate Speech? We Asked College Students"

    Ok, but what did you do to actually answer the question.

  • Rhywun||

    rapper Lil B was suspended for posting "White people are the only ones who really love they guns U can tell they are violent people!"

    If only Facebook had a stupidity filter.

  • Kivlor||

    There would be no Facebook.

  • ||

    Yeah, the sign up page is the stupidity filter.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    "White people are the only ones who really love they guns U can tell they are violent people!"

    Based

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Not on crime statistics, obviously. But there you go with the "fact stuff"[article from yesterday]; if I don't like it it don't matter.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    College student? Hate speech is speech that comes out of the mouths of people I just hate.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    That ? is supposed to be a :.

    Try again,

    College student: Hate speech is speech that comes out of the mouths of people I just hate.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Obviously a very limited survey, but going by what I heard prohibited speech will only concern persons on the "protected" list and anyone else will be fair game. Of course this also presumes that the "right people" [the "wise decision making of politicians"] will be in government to manage this, and any concern of such laws being turned on them is little more than an afterthought [as in "oh yeah, that could be a concern too"].

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Hate speech is anything I don't want to see. The government should crack down on it by asking me what I think should be banned. If they ban anything I like, then they're violating the First Amendment.

    ~Proglodyte

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Agree: what concerns me is how many countries have actually enacted this tyranny and just how many [40% presumably] seem to think it's an idea whose time has come here as well. If a government can enact prohibition because of the emotional clamor for it, then that can certainly happen as well, even if it takes a Constitutional convention to bring it about [and it that ever happens, everything will be on the table/ chopping block].

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    If anyone hasn't read it, I recommend this excellent piece, Is the First Amendment too broad? The case for regulating hate speech in America by Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky.

    Did you know that racist hate speech can increase the blood pressure of African Americans? In this way, we see that hate speech can be considered a form of physical assault. More libertarians need to follow Berlatsky's lead and abandon the counterproductive obsession with "free speech" absolutism. Instead, we need to embrace a more nuanced approach that appreciates the context of centuries of white supremacy in this country.

  • Billi||

    Government regulations increase libertarians' blood pressure (except Berlatsky, apparently).

    So? What now?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I assume you have a citation for that claim? And even if it is true, libertarians as a group are not a protected class or a marginalized community. POC are. There is already so much violence done to black and brown bodies in this country by racist cops, the last thing we need is to give black bodies high blood pressure just so disgusting people like Richard Spencer can have "free speech."

  • Billi||

    Both your best work really. Asking for the citation and the protected group thing are dumb, and the rest is just mailed in.

    If you're going to bother with this schtick, Try to step it up.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    My post was "dumb" and "mailed in," while yours actually compared the plight of African Americans in this country to libertarians?! Were libertarians ever enslaved for their political views? Ever subject to Jim Crow? Sent to "separate-but-equal" schools? Of course not. Your comparison was absurd and offensive, so I called you on it.

    But I bet you're the type who recites garbage like "ALL Lives Matter" whenever you hear Black Lives Matter.

  • Billi||

    My post was "dumb" and "mailed in,"

    Well, yeah. Look how salty you got, you know it's true.

    If you were actually putting any effort into your impersonation, you'd understand that.

  • Frederick Douglass||

    "Were libertarians ever enslaved for their political views? "

    Yes.

  • Kivlor||

    But I bet you're the type who recites garbage like "ALL Lives Matter" whenever you hear Black Lives Matter.

    You know, I hear tons of people say "Black Lives Matter" and the thought that always comes to my mind is:

    To Whom?

  • ||

    I know a paid hack when I read one.

  • Billi||

    *Not your best work

  • Alcibiades||

    At least be honest here.
    You're just an old-fashioned statist thug that pines for the power to shut people up and silence speech you find upsetting.

  • Kivlor||

    He's a spoof dude. Read his name and check the link. It's a pretty fun run at embodying Poe's Law.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Not marginalized? We've never had a congressional seat or a Libertarian President.

    Every other one of these protected classes has had representation.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yep, leave it to the fried chicken to give them high blood pressure.

  • Rhywun||

    Heh - well-played. If that garbage makes it onto this website I want my donation back.

  • albo||

    Your demand to regulate my speech increases my blood pressure.

    Constitutional rights do not get abrogated by questionable studies.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Hello OBLT; I've come around to appreciate the role you play here, and read the article. Hopefully I will not let myself be "OBL'Ted" again.

    The most telling quote for me is "...we wouldn't look like Orwell's 1984...we'd look like France, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, or Sweden"

    All of which look more and more like "1984" to me.

  • Alcibiades||

    "Other countries are willing to take the health and safety of their most vulnerable citizens into account. Were the U.S. to properly recognize the danger of hate speech, we wouldn't look like Orwell's "1984." Instead, Delgado told me, we'd "look like France, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada or Sweden, all of whom regulate hate speech but where the political climate is just as free and healthy as our own, if not more so."

    "Free" to be jailed and fined for the act of secular heresy.
    No thanks.

    Hitchens at his best on this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyoOfRog1EM

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Thanks for the link; well spoken.

  • Dai wie||

    Not just "no", but "fuck no". You are either a troll, or a traitor. Either way, fuck off.

  • Rich||

    Obviously the solution is that people sensitive to "hate speech" should wear "smart" earphones to filter out whatever they personally consider "hate speech".

  • DarrenM||

    People should be protected from hate speech by the government instead of learning how to deal with it themselves, because that would require growing up.

  • Leader Desslok||

    I was going to say the solution to grow up, but your answer has a certain snarkiness to it that I find compelling.

  • esteve7||

    As Shapiro says, the right and libertarians need to stop arguing on efficiency terms. Hate speech isn't bad because it often hurts those its trying to protect... hate speech is bad because the concept is evil. What is defined as hate is completely subjective, and you have no right to violence to force me into saying things you approve of.

    When you argue for hate speech laws, you are saying people should be forced at the end of a gun to not say certain things. People should be jailed or killed for their opinion, and that makes you a fascist. I don't give a damn about your intentions because a hundred million people died last century for what the left would call "good intentions", but in reality is just another evil, immoral belief system.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Shapiro makes some good points. Unfortunately, it is hard to take him seriously when he starts complaining about pre-marital sex being shown as acceptable on television.

  • DarrenM||

    It's always hard to take seriously someone who disagrees with you on anything.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Nah, Shapiro's a special case in hard-to-take-seriously.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, it is hard to take him seriously when he starts complaining about pre-marital sex being shown as acceptable on television.

    Like actual depictions of pre or extra-marital sex or just the implication in a plot that extra-marital sex occurred?

    If the latter, I agree. It's one thing to say people shouldn't talk about hate and hate crimes in a specific application or legal sense but it's another to say that they shouldn't even conceptualize them in random pieces of fiction.

  • Zeb||

    "Shown as acceptable".

    I'd have to agree that it makes it a bit harder to take someone seriously on free speech if they complain that TV shows aren't pushing the right kind of morality. Free speech needs to be a cultural value as well as a legal one for it to really work.

  • BYODB||


    As Shapiro says, the right and libertarians need to stop arguing on efficiency terms.

    Shapiro is right on occasion. I'll tell you what I've seen, from people arguing in terms of efficiency. The left constantly learns the lesson of what the next thing is that they need to destroy.

    When we point out that vehicle deaths are way bigger of a problem than gun suicides in the country, they don't stop trying to double down on regulating guns. They start to try and make driving illegal.

    They hear the argument, but they don't process information the same way we do. What is intended as an argument against the current thing they're trying to regulate out of existence, it just gives them another target to destroy. Ergo it is not a good strategy, it simply gives them a roadmap of all the things that need to die.

    Besides, that whole line of defense assumed that those types actually give a shit about the ends. They don't. Their stated ends are not the same as the actual end destination. It's the convenient lie that feels good on the road to hell.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    well, that is depressing.

  • GILMORE™||

    Hate speech isn't bad because it often hurts those its trying to protect... hate speech is bad because the concept is evil

    This was pointed out to Robby 1000 times, yet he endlessly reiterated the argument that speech codes/hate speech laws/'silencing of speakers', etc. was bad *mainly because of its blowback effects, and its potential to hurt the left*

    its this absurd utilitarian claim that "things are bad because their outcomes are perverse". Yes, sure, that *can be true*. But what if it wasn't?

    If hate-speech laws "worked", according to this argument, and they were able to 'create more racial harmony' or some other impossible-to-measure stat, why.... whomever makes that argument would be forced to say, "well go ahead then".

    If hate speech is wrong in principle, make that case. Because then it doesn't matter what stats people wave in your face claiming regulations produce desired results.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    And if they're not swayed by the principle, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • BYODB||

    Pretty much. If the principle itself doesn't hold water with them, than no other line of argument is likely to sway them since they are ideologically against the fundamental principle you're talking about. If nothing else, arguing in good faith on our part puts them on the record as being against this or that basic principle. There is value in that, I think.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That's the reason for the 'efficiency' argument: Take their principles as given and try to present their position as contradictory and self-defeating.

    It may be futile, but you're giving up the game one step too soon.

  • Zeb||

    And most people really don't care that much about principle. But if you can show them that it hurts something they value personally, maybe you can get somewhere.

  • GILMORE™||

    But if you can show them that it hurts something

    that's the feature, not the bug.

    as long as they believe they can make it hurt their enemies while protecting themselves, why, its working just as intentioned.

    they're perfectly comfortable with the idea that ideas about "hate speech" would be applied unequally. You can say, "nigger" 100 times in pop music or in a movie, but if someone so much as says, "niggardly" in a corporate boardroom, you will lose your job and be demonized and shamed in the media ....and no one thinks anything is even slightly wrong about that.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Very true. Liberty is a not a utilitarian means to an end. It is an end per se.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    In which case you're not engaged in an argument, but a declaration of aesthetics.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    At some point you have to get down to a first principle. Is liberty not a first principle for most here?

    If you clarify that your opponent values 'X' before liberty, it saves you a lot of headaches.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's pretty simple. People on the left have good intentions. The only possible reason to disagree with the left is to have bad intentions that are motivated by hatred. Therefore any disagreement with the left is hate speech, and should be punishable by death.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    In addition to bad intentions those who disagree can also be stupid, crazy, or motivated by profit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nothing is more evil than being motivated by profit. Profits are how the rich rob the poor.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    There is no such thing as profit on a truly free market, except for the first-to-market enterpreneur's initial sales.

  • John C. Randolph||

    People on the left have good intentions.

    BULLSHIT.

    -jcr

  • albo||

    I'll let you make hate speech illegal if you let me define "hate speech."

  • Billi||

    Also, I don't care what regulations countries have instituted, when they don't have a 1st amendment, or something like it.

    Stop pretending it matters.

  • esteve7||

    and I told my teenage cousin the other day (when talking about Star Wars)... you have to keep fighting for freedom because the natural order isn't freedom, it's tyranny.

    We live in the freest, most prosperous place in the history of the god dammed world, and all the leftists I talk to are completely fucking ungrateful and happily work to tear it all down. Look at what they've done to places like Venezuela. No matter how often their ideology fails, it keeps coming back.

    Freedom wins in the long term, but it's so rare because usually marxism and other tyrannical ideologies "wins" in the short term.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort."

    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  • sarcasmic||

    "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can really kill me!"

  • creech||

    They really want the government (i.e. Trump administration) to define "hate speech" and crack down on it?
    Watch what you wish for.

  • Leader Desslok||

    In that case then pass the popcorn, this is going to be good.

  • BYODB||

    Well yeah, that's why we should stop having elections and settle on someone with pure intentions like Obama and make them King...err...I mean 'Representative of the Will of the People'. The title should be grand, but not something the conjures up an image of an Emperor, y'know? Even though, basically, what we want is an Emperor.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    "Hate speech lead to the rise of Literally Hitler.

    So... we need the government to crack down on hate speech. The government lead by Literally Hitler."

  • Leader Desslok||

    Yes, because only Palpatine can save us from Hitler.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Words... hurt, people. Words hurt.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    My friend told me that he went to his favorite Chinese food place to get dinner the other day, and the owner told him "You got fat!" That's hate speech right there.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Many developed countries, including Canada and much of Europe, have passed laws that criminalize certain speech deemed hateful. France has prosecuted comedians for Facebook posts, the U.K. has imprisoned people for offensive tweets, and Germany threatened to prosecute a comic over a poem about Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    Proving that developed should be in scare quotes (except the fear is legitimate in this case).

  • GILMORE™||

    We found opinions on campus that ran the gamut.

    You will always find the same thing when you do random interviews of college kids: impassioned opinions about shit they actually know little-to-nothing about

    How about actually asking random adults on the street what they think? You know, people with life experience who are less influenced by peer-pressure and fashion? Just a thought.

    at the very least you'll get fewer (facepalm) replies.

  • BYODB||

    I think the goal of this type of thing is to increase the number of facepalm replies. It's clickbait journalism, and it works.

  • Jimbo||

    You won't believe what person #5 said!

  • GILMORE™||

    yeah. its shooting fish in a barrel.

    But i dislike this whole "focus on university students"-journalism (see: campus reform, et al) It treats this relatively narrow slice of the population as some *very important and crucial constituency*... when in fact, only a fraction of them vote, they have little to no coherent views on anything, and their primary concerns are (rightly): getting laid, partying, and passing classes. (in that order, likely)

    i honestly don't think anyone's opinion matters until they're employed and paying taxes. leave the tadpoles alone. the attention they get confuses them into believing their view is important.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, a good thing about college students is that they don't continue being college students forever and don't keep their fashionable college student radical ideas forever. Most of them will grow up to some extent.

  • BYODB||

    Yeah, probably shortly before or shortly after 'getting a job' since it's amazing how quickly someone can shift away from socialism once they have assets and start paying taxes instead of receiving them.

  • Flinch||

    Because the cancer of 'hate speech' as a concept was birthed on campus for the most part. It is the source - if you want to know what the temperature is outside, you gotta take the thermometer out of the house.

  • Jimbo||

    My Alma Mater looking like a bunch of control freaks, again.

  • GILMORE™||

    "Does it bother any of you that your answers to these questions are often entirely contradictory and reflect your complete lack of consideration of the issues involved, and inability to see obvious consequences of political-regulation of everyday activity?"

    /implicit question never asked

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I thought they're not supposed to ask that question...

  • GILMORE™||

    the same people who said "there should totally be regulations" also said, "you totally can't define it" and they're "totally against actually like enforcing stuff"

    all their responses are basically whatever sounds good in the moment. Feels-based-reasoning: thought not required. which i can only assume is the same standard their university holds them to.

    If you actually pressed anyone further on this stuff, why, you'd be a Hatemonger like that evil alt-lite Steven Crowder

  • Aloysious||

    Hate speech is Liberty.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    All people who aren't me are idiots.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You are not yourself today, Fist.

  • Flinch||

    Great topic, and... I wish the networks had a similar bent towards finding out what's going on, rather than accepting the blastfax/email from their approved special interest hacks and going out in search of the video needed to produce the accepted narrative.
    Sadly, the average man on the street will actually try to answer the question, when they should reject the premise out of hand and trash the question itself. They ought to ask this: if we have free speech, what need is there for putting ANY adjective in front of it?
    To be blunt, I hate 'hate speech' rules and laws - our rights to speech are also our right to be offended. You have to preserve both, because a coin without two sides is not worth spit. To that end, a very special message to those decrepit souls out there just waiting to be offended: up yours. I think George Carlin would tell you just as much if he were still with us today.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I didn't donate good money so that Zach Weissmueller and Justin Monticello can flirt with attractive college girls in halter tops.

    However, I respect the dickens out of them for doing so.

    Kudos!

  • Think It Through||

    Didn't listen, but the girl on the opening still frame definitely needs some kind of spanking. A gentle one. That I can provide forthwith.

  • Empress Trudy||

    We should start by banning 100% of all speech of all forms on all college campuses entirely. Anyone who speaks up about anything at all at any time should be criminally sanctioned to the point of imprisonment or even death.

  • DaveSs||

    It must be said

    The First Amendment doesn't GRANT us anything, its a prohibition on our governments.

    Come on. Ya'll should know better.

  • Tony||

    It's easy enough to be an absolutist here, and that's my tendency. The only pragmatic reason to entertain the idea of banning hate speech is if we've admitted that human beings are by nature horrible people for whom speech countering speech does not automatically elevate and educate, but can and does often result in mayhem. The invention of the Internet is testing this more than anything has before, I think.

    It would be one thing if banning hate speech were ineffectual, but it may not be. The Internet more than any previous forum permits people to assemble and disseminate and reinforce dangerous bigotries and create communities of dangerous bigots larger than was possible before without outright social and government endorsement. Societies have had to keep a lid on bigoted movements one way or another, at the very least by keeping them at the margins of what prevailing standards tolerate. Prevailing standards can change. We're seeing it with Trump, who both leads the US and has formed a de facto neo-Nazi party of his own.

    Furthermore, the point of freedom of speech is the hypothesis that it does actually elevate the human species. But there are plenty of examples where speech alone was sufficient to cause even genocides. Propaganda exists because it works.

    I'm still on the side of not banning speech, but it doesn't hurt to think about these things so that we're not just taking the easy way out.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I support free speech, too, but... I could change my mind any moment.

    Don't worry, though: I'm not a censorship jack wagon asshole, though. I promise.

  • Tony||

    I get that libertarianism's main appeal is how simple it pretends everything is, but it won't kill you to put a little thought into something or play devil's advocate in order to ensure that you've arrived at your conclusion after examining all the angles.

  • BYODB||


    The only pragmatic reason to entertain the idea of banning hate speech is if we've admitted that human beings are by nature horrible people for whom speech countering speech does not automatically elevate and educate, but can and does often result in mayhem.


    Amusingly, Liberals were the one's who supposedly sided more with Hobbes while Conservatives supposedly sided more with Locke. If true, who is pushing hate speech bans? Well, to be fair Progressives who are essentially political nihilists.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Actually Tony, it's authoritarians like yourself that pretends things are simple. It's why you advocate for top down solutions from Top Men. Because surely a bureaucrat in DC knows what health insurance should cost, or what the best medical procedure is for a particular patient. Surely they know more than the messy market, which tries a wide variety of different solutions to things (at least when government gets out of the way and lets them).

  • John C. Randolph||

    libertarianism's main appeal is how simple it pretends everything is

    What's your next guess, asshole?

    The main appeal of libertarianism is that you have no right to force other people to obey you. If you have a problem with that, go fuck yourself.

    -jcr

  • JuanQPublic||

    I'm still on the side of not banning speech, but it doesn't hurt to think about these things so that we're not just taking the easy way out.

    The easy way out is actually the opposite: banning speech. The harder path is to defend principles of free speech in the face emotionally-driven impulses of those who want to end it, and force said people with ideas expressed in their hate speech to defend their ideas in the face of scrutiny. That's not the "easy way out". It's the exact opposite.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Hate speech is speech totalitarians hate and would use violence and threats of violence to suppress.

  • Rockabilly||

    I hate fucking commie rats I hate Jeff sessions commie rat and barack Obama commie rat.
    There is no such thing as hate speech
    I recall a former friend tried to convince me to sign this retarded hate speech petition back in 1987. I looked at him and said, are you fucking retarded? Poor glen is now working for George fucking Soros in excremento CA

  • GamerFromJump||

    Don't trust anyone under 30 (with your rights).

  • ||

    The absolutely zombie like responses to certain questions, and the inability to actually think anything through is what blows my mind. It's trained and propagated cognitive dissonance, "death to all white people?" nah it's good, "promoting genocide?" man that's a crime!
    It's partly that those who think are too afraid to say anything and those that are intellectually lazy and useless are given the false confidence of shit academia unquestionably drilled into their heads.

    The proggies and Globalists know they just have to knock off that 1st amendment by working on naive, impressionable children and all the rest of your rights will collapse with it.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Validation of "hate speech" is just another accomplishment of the victim movement.

    Once upon a time, when life resulted in winners and losers, the outcome seemed settled. Of course, winning and losing was not just the result of inter-personal actions; it could also come from people vs. nature.

    So back then, it was much better to be a winner. And people had motivation not to be losers.

    Now we have cultures that have at least partly inverted that natural order. Too many people with soft hearts and soft heads, shepherded by those with more aggressive agenda, have promoted the holy elevation of the victim, and elevated the status of the loser to that of, well, the winner. Today it can be much better to be a loser.

    As Jonathan Haidt has written, the urge to prevent harm is a fundamental human urge, and especially dominant in Leftist morality. And since victims have been/might be harmed, we must do something!

    Promoting politically biased censorship of speech is understandable, even if unreasonable. Those who knowingly give up speech, even their own, to "protect" people are the real danger.

  • UnityFollowsValues||

    The backlash of all the extreme groups who now feel emboldened to preach their garbage is the need to have better laws that ensure the values of the constitution are in play so crooked politicians, such as Trump do not label peaceful protestors as a threat to democracy. He has already attacked free speech through his fake news rants and attempted to shut down or minimize the value of checks and balances. He has no respect for intelligence and does not even read or listen. So if Congress and the Senate ever come out of their self-imposed coma, they need to stop the nonsense once and for all.

    Personally, i think groups that represent a known threat to our democracy, such as Nazi's, the KKK, Extreme Right should not be allowed to parade, protest or express views contrary to the values that define America from a majority perspective. Perhaps they can be escorted from their parades to pass go and be deported to Russia as that country appreciates their vile views.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So Trump is not entitled to stifle speech he dislikes, but you are?

  • JuanQPublic||

    Personally, i think groups that represent a known threat to our democracy, such as Nazi's, the KKK, Extreme Right should not be allowed to parade, protest or express views contrary to the values that define America from a majority perspective.

    This is an unconstitutional, anti-intellectual and generally awful idea that constitutes mob rule and authoritarian impulses.

  • L.G. Balzac||

    It wasn't "hate speech" when it left my lips, some people hear .... Who gives a shit..;
    Left here fine, Sarge, must be a receiver problem.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    What is Hate Speech? Hate Speech is a political shell game designed to win approval for gutting the First Amendment. Period. The First Amendment covers all speech. Attempts to stifle any speech are Fascist at their core, which explains why the Left os so goddamned fond of it, because the Left is ALSO fascist at its core.

    I don't care how unsafe somebody's speech makes you feel. Get some therapy. I don't care how vile somebody's speech is; a government that holds to power to censor is a worse danger.

    Except for letting your lips move when you read in the reading room of the Charles Dexter Ward collection of the Miskatonic University Library.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Defining "Hate speech" is completely arbitrary. Application of "Hate speech" law is arbitrary application of law, and runs counter to both the general principles of liberty and the 1st Amendment itself.

    "Hate speech" regulation is also antithetical to intellectual inquiry and critical thought, because it removes certain ideas from intellectual scrutiny. We are supposed to submit to an arbitrary standard that supposedly "isn't up for debate."

    One can practice hate speech that doesn't fall under the prescribed categories like race or sexual orientation, and yet it doesn't qualify as "hate speech." If someone, for example, engages in speech that promotes hatred of an individual, or an unprescribed "category" of person outside the list of arbitrary categories, all is fine with the "hate speech" regulation proponents. That is, until that category is arbitrarily added as a "vulnerable" population.

    In reality, the smallest minority, and the most vulnerable, is the individual. And everyone is an individual, irrespective to their categorization under race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

    The individual must be protected, held accountable, and guaranteed due process with fair, reasonably proportional outcomes. That, of course, runs counter to the interests of those who would rather put people in a set of categories and appeal to them for political and social reward.

  • Roy Batty||

    Any speech that is not promoting neo-marxist, statist, or anti-white (male) ideas.

  • Liberty Lover||

    Hate speech? Any speech that disagrees with my views. The new American mantra "STFU"!

  • ecstatist||

    Words have never harmed anyone. It's actions or inactions that harm (sometimes initiated by gullibility)
    The only time speech should be restricted (and to the truth only) would be when made under oath. There should be no laws against slander or shouting "Fire" in a crowded cinema. One of the unintended consequences of restricting speech is that it retards the growth of healthy skepticism of everything one hears.
    If someone shouts fire the correct reaction is to look at the shouter and make a judgement of the likelihood of his veracity. Sniff the air, do you smell smoke? look around, do you see a fire? Do you see some people in one section moving to an exit? Does that indicate the likelihood of a fire in that area? Don't react blindly.
    People will get use to insults hurled at them and simply ignore them.because any reaction would be an indication that there is some truth to the insult. If someone "slanders" or accuses someone else you will investigate how frequently that person has been correct before and judge his credibility on his "reputation."
    Curses, dirty words, references to body parts, excretions and functions will soon lose their power to shock and even children when they see the lack of reaction from adults will not be "damaged" or "corrupted" by the utterance of mere words.

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