There is No Hate Speech

Published January 4th, 2019 by Oldmenadmin

Words or Rocks?

There Is No Hate Speech

     As early as the 1960’s the concept of a hate crime was added to federal statutes. Public outrage at the Birmingham Sunday bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963,[1] prompted passage of the Civil Rights Act within the year. It was passed in the Senate by 69% of the Democrats and 82% of the Republicans, while in the House it passed by 63% of the Democrats and 80% of the Republicans. The Voting Rights Act was passed a year later, in the House by about equal margins of Democrats (78%) and Republicans (82%). In the Senate, it passed despite the votes of all Southern Democrats against it. Within the Civil Rights Act the next year, federal punishments for crimes were increased if those crimes could be imputed to be due to “enmity against” anyone based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. Thus, was the “hate crime” born. Presumably, “hate” has been the component of crimes in the past, whether acknowledged or not. “Emotions” have been a part of jurisprudence since recorded history. Strangely, “crimes of passion” are given some leniency, I understand. The difference seems to have been perceived as “enmity or animus against a protected class of persons.”[2]

     Did you see what happened there? “A protected class of people”? In a republic? In the land of “all men are created equal”? It inevitably means that there is an unprotected class of people. Some people have become more equal to others,[3] in America, within my lifespan.

     Despite the uncertainty (the wording is “actual or perceived enmity”) of a jury to ascertain what the mental condition of a perpetrator is, the law has stood the test of time and has been embellished in the intervening years. Today, all jurisdictions in America have methods to increase the punishment for such crimes. This has not stopped our exalted law-givers from embellishing their own careers by creating a new class of crime, “hate crime.” A few in the minority rebel, thinking that if an act is already a crime, why should it be necessary to pass a new law calling it a “hate crime.” They have been ignored.

     Almost immediately “hate crime,” and surprisingly “hate speech” became common words in America., as Ngram shows:

     It even has a definition of sorts. Merriam-Webster says hate speech is “speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people,” which is a tautology. The definition contains the word it was trying to define. has it as “speech that attacks, threatens, or insults a person or group on the basis of …etc.” If that were taken to its reasonable conclusion, then every time I describe a patient as “The twenty-seven-year-old African-American man (no longer to be called colored, black, Afro-American although, strangely, a mere inversion, “man of color,” is now currently PC) was discovered drunk and disorderly by the police and brought to the Emergency Room.” If I say I “hate child molesters,” I bring myself under censure from The Law? I know of no one who is not of some specified race, religion, country of national origin, sexual persuasion, yet ugly, evil, harmful and invidious things occur, and we are not allowed to say who did them? Even lexicographers can’t seem to get this right.

     Anti-Fa, the neo-fascist arm of the progressive wing of politics, are not the sharpest knives in the drawer,[4] yet, they equate violence as the cure for speech with which they disagree.[5] Even so, almost half of college students, presumably the brightest and the best that this society can produce, consider that “hate speech” is not protected speech.[6], [7], [8] Rather more telling, prestigious scholars blithely lump in “hate speech” as the necessary antecedent of “hate crimes.”[9] Even the self-described most prestigious journal in America, the New York Times, advocates for halting speech it deems offensive.[10]

     Nevertheless, the highest court in the land denies “hate speech” exists.  In The Slants case, the Supreme Court of the United States reconfirmed that derogatory and insulting speech is still legal. The only exception found to be acceptable is that of the great Oliver Wendell Holmes’ of “clear and present danger,” better known as the “Shout ‘Fire!’ falsely in a crowded theatre” Rule. Unless speech is meant to incite violence and the means to that violence are at hand, the speech is allowed, EVEN if it is false, hateful, and just plain rude. This rule has been used to protect some of the most egregiously foul language ever uttered in America. In 1969, The vitriol of an Ohio KKK meeting was recorded and the speaker, Clarence Brandenburg, arrested for inciting violence. The SCOTUS overturned his conviction as the speech, as odious as it was, had no immediacy available for its consummation.[11] There was no crowded theatre in which to cause a stampede.

     Few in America seem to have gotten the memo.[12], [13]“Hate speech” is increasingly referenced as equivalent to violence.[14] If an equivalent to violence then the anti-fa thugs have gotten it right, despite their feckless stupidity.[15], [16]

     I think it apt to understand the alternative. If I call Islam’s inventor, Mohammed, a lying, cheating, camel-thieving pedophile, I say nothing more than what he claimed for himself. Nevertheless, it will be called “hate speech.” This is a dangerous thing for a republic: picking and choosing what things are truth. When truth is outlawed, it does not die but “dries up like a raisin in the sun,” becoming an exceedingly strange fruit.

     I imagine that our inchoate ancestors invented language, in part, to spare bloodshed. Og, given to bloody physical disputations about which haunch was his, would most likely have taken a rock to the head of Grok or whoever challenged his judgment. All things being equal, things would not have gone well for Og thereafter. You gotta sleep sometime. In his own interest, he learned to communicate with words; no doubt some of these words were hateful. Grok, after all, is a haunch-stealing dungball. Despite the contention by some that “words can hurt as much as a blow” they did not then—nor do they do so now. Trust me. Rocks to the head do more damage. Words, even the snarky, hateful words of the late-night comedians, cause no harm unless you want them to. They wound only the pride and puncture nothing but the pomposity and presumption of their target, at the very worst.

     What is true is that when words are equated with violence, we become desensitized to violence. If this becomes the understanding of America, as it is in other lands (yes, I AM talking about the reach of Islam) and my words offend you, whether true or not, you now believe that you may use force to silence me--with the brute force of government or a rock, whichever suits you.

     We have come full circle. We are rapidly abandoning free speech to the new barbarians. If we no longer have words, we will once again have rocks to the head — your choice America. 



[3] Apologies to George Orwell and Animal Farm














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