This may seem counter-intuitive, but the proper way to tackle the issue of “hate speech” is to have more speech, not to silence the speaker. I have to put that term into scare quotes because it is often invoked for any kind of contradictory speech. By the massive overuse of the term, it destroys any impact it would normally have. Overuse almost normalizes real racists, like Louis Farrakhan, who compared the Jewish people to termites, or Sarah Jeong, recently named to the New York Times Editorial Board, who has Tweeted things like:
- “Dumbass f***ing white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.”
- [It’s] “kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men."
- “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically only being fit to live underground like groveling bilious goblins?”
You can find even more of her best Tweets in the article Racism, Revised.
Can you imagine the outrage if Jeong had said “Black” instead of “white”?
Please, spare me the “it can’t be racism if the race of the person has no power,” implying minorities can’t be racists. Which, of course, defies how Merriam-Webster defines it: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”
To defeat true hate speech, both factually and sociologically is to allow more speech to fight the hate speech. If we do not curtail the speech of these haters and we let them prattle on long enough, there's multiple things that are going to happen.
First of all we're going to see who they are. We won’t need to doxx them, they will proudly step out into the open and say who they are. This means social conformity pressure can be applied to them.
Second, left to their own devices they will eventually counter their own arguments just through ideological inconsistency. My favorite example of this is Leftists say, “we should remove soda and snack machines because teenagers can’t make good food and lifestyle choices by themselves.” Then they turn right around and say, “Pregnant teenagers should be able to abort their unborn baby without parental knowledge or consent because they should have the choice.” Any rational person will rightly think, “You can’t have this both ways. If teenagers aren’t mature enough to handle the decision on to buy a candy bar or soda or not, how can they be mature enough to decide about aborting a pregnancy on their own?”
Third, the longer we let them shout their hate, the more extreme they will inevitably become. They will instinctively get more and more radical, looking for how much they can get away with, just like a child who tests the limits and resolve of their parents. The good side of this is people who initially followed this person out because the ideas “sounded good” (or maybe a morbid “train wreck” curiosity) will leave in droves as this person becomes less and less rational.
Fourth, I will never condone any governmental control over speech other than the minimum. Right now these types of speech do not enjoy a Constitutional protection:
- Obscenity (Using SCOTUS’ Miller Test)
- Child Pornography
- Incitement for imminent lawless action
- False alarm (shouting “Fire!” when there is none)
Those are all well-defined and socially unacceptable in any context.
Now, if a committee (A committee is a life form with eight or more legs and no brain) were appointed by the government to decide on what is hate speech or not, would not the opinions and decisions of that group change over time? If scrutinizing statements A and B to determine if they were hate speech, this year they might decide A is the hate speech and B is not. Yet next year B might become the hate speech and A is acceptable.
I only have to point to the recent “Net Neutrality” regulations as a clear example. The regulations were made official one day, then a few months later after the administration changed, the regulations were rescinded. Would you really want your freedom of speech Rights subject to such whims of men and government?
I will never call for the restriction of a persons’ free speech outside of the already declared terms above. If I were to call for the speech of any person to be curtailed, be they Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan or Sarah Jeong today, tomorrow I might be the one who is silenced. That will just not do at all.
I for one do not want to be the next Maximilien Robespierre, who orchestrated the French Reign of Terror, the march of thousands to the Guillotine during the French Revolution. Robespierre did that job so well he eventually made that march himself. We should all learn from that lesson before we lose our heads, both freedom-wise and literally.
Winston Churchill defined a fanatic as, “Someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.” If you get into an argument with a fanatic, be they Left, Right or Center, always remember that you most likely are not going to win them to your point of view. It would be easier to turn a Cleveland Browns fan into a Baltimore Ravens fan. You will not win despite your best reasoning and most persuasive arguments. I admit, while winning the fanatic to your side would be a wonderful thing, your real target and victory goal is convincing everyone who is watching the discussion and may not be decided on the subject.
Here’s the most important point. If we as a society silence anyone, we are all damaged. That silencing of someone, it doesn’t matter if you agreed or disagreed with what they said, that act will cause you to pause ever so slightly in what you have to say from then on.
Or as I saw on the Web a while back:
Q: How do all Soviet-era jokes begin?
A: By looking over your shoulder.
To silence any person, for whatever reason, puts us all on that path. Think on that very carefully.