Free Speech & "Hate Speech"


Key Concept Explored in this Article:

“Hate speech” has been re-defined away from the historical/rational view of a person expressing their hatred through speech.  In its place, the new definition is ‘speech that offends me or contradicts my beliefs’, even if the person expressing the view does not hate anyone.  The purpose of this re-defining of "hate speech" is to force certain people to not express their beliefs.

 

This is an extremely important issue for any group of people (from small local groups to nation states like the U.S.).  If those in power have poor character and insist that you support them and the views they consider important, that will often result in the loss of free speech.

It is very important to define terms to have a reasonable discussion about the concepts those terms represent. 

Here are the dictionary definitions of “hate”:

Cambridge, “to strongly dislike someone or something”.

Oxford, “Feel intense dislike for”.

Merriam-Webster, Noun, “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury”; Verb, “to feel extreme enmity toward : to regard with active hostility”.

Dictionary.com, “to feel extreme enmity toward : to regard with active hostility”

As you can see, the dictionaries are pretty much unified in the way they define hate.

As you can see, “hate” or “hatred” is defined as an emotionally rooted viewpoint of a person.  In other words, a person who is engaged in “hatred” has strong and active hostility or enmity towards someone or something.  It is fair to say that a person who hates another person or persons would like to harm, or would like harm to come to, the object of their hatred.  A person who hates another person or people group would like to see that person or people group harmed or to experience suffering or to be disadvantaged so that they would fail and be humiliated.

Enter the concept of “hate speech”.  Did the dictionaries say anything about hate being speech?  No, they did not.  Rather, they defined “hate” and “hatred” as a condition of the human soul.  A mute person can hate another person or persons, just to make it clear that “speech” is not intrinsically tied to “hate”.

Let’s take the next step.  Yes, a person who hates someone or something will normally express that hatred through their speech.  This author does not deny that and certainly does not advocate hatred towards anyone, nor am I justifying the speech of a hateful person.  Rather, I am making critical distinctions so we can understand the importance of “hatred” in relation to free speech.

The Fundamental Problem Exposed:

The concept of “hate speech” has been redefined from a rational concept, into an irrational concept (irrational concepts don't pass the test of reason).  The rational concept of “hate speech” is a person who hates someone or something expressing that hatred towards that person or thing through their speech.  Remember, the expression of hatred, by definition, would include a personal attack or denigration of that person or persons, normally expressing the desire to see that person or persons harmed or to experience suffering.

“From a legal standpoint, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that hate speech is legally protected free speech under the First Amendment, except where such speech is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. The most recent Supreme Court case on the issue was in 2017, when the justices unanimously reaffirmed that there is effectively no "hate speech" exception to the free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_in_the_United_States )

So, to summarize, the U.S. Supreme Court says that even the rational concept of “hate speech” is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  As long as that speech does not incite people to imminent lawless action, a person is free to speak out their hatred of other people or groups.  Prime examples of people who express their hatred and yet enjoy the protection of the First Amendment would be Louis Farrakhan (a clear anti-Semite) or the White Supremacists who regularly use language to express their view that  people who have a different skin color than themselves are inferior to them and should be subjugated to them or worse.

The rational concern behind the writing and adoption of the First Amendment was concern about those in power shutting down free speech.  In other words, every tyrant who came to power would use the shutting off of free speech to consolidate their hold on power…all criticism of their beliefs or behavior MUST be shut down in order to avoid or minimize rebellions against their unjust rule.

The irrational view or definition of “hate speech” is speech that offends me by contradicting my beliefs about what is good or right - things ethical.  Some of those who take the label “liberal” in the U.S. are the primary people advocating the new and irrational definition of “hate speech”.  These folks have a basic world view that is rooted in ethical or truth relativism

Unfortunately, truth relativism is leading people to reject any and all standards other than their own views.  In other words, they don’t care what a dictionary says (an objective standard), or worse, they will publish a new dictionary which will put forth the definitions they want instead of definitions’ rooted in reason and experience.  In short, ethical relativists (or ERs) believe there is no higher standard to judge the rightness or wrongness of human morality other than the individual human being.

Now, in practice, they group together just like other birds of a feather, and they do collectively start to believe and advocate certain ethical positions.  The key belief they are advocating in regard to free speech is as follows:

Premise 1:  There is no transcendent or higher ethical framework given to humankind by a Creator;

Premise 2:  Since premise 1 is true, each individual human being can decide for themselves the ethic they like and that works for them;

Conclusion:   A person who challenges, contradicts or argues that an individual’s ethical principle is wrong is acting wrongly or is engaging in unnecessarily divisive or ‘hateful’ behavior.

Here are the problems with the prior argument or position and its supporting beliefs.

Premise one is not necessarily true.  I would advocate that the real, historical Jesus of Nazareth was the Messenger sent by the Creator to provide humankind with The Ethic we need to thrive.

Premise two is not necessarily true.  Furthermore, it is impractical and dysfunctional for groups of people NOT to share a common ethic.  If a group of people cannot agree on the rights and wrongs of human behavior, then there will be discord, conflict and division.  We see this happening in the western nations today, at what appears to be an increasing rate.

The conclusion is based on false or impossible-to-practice premises.  Furthermore, the conclusion is self-defeating meaning is contradicts itself.  To demonstrate this, please consider the following:

  1. A person who holds the above beliefs hears an ethical belief they disagree with (for example, that two men or two women being married is ethically wrong);
  2. They respond by saying, 'You are wrong, a bigot and a hater'.
  3. They just challenged and contradicted my ethical belief!  Worse, they demonstrated woeful intolerance of my person and labeled me with some harsh judgment labels!

In other words, their own belief above says that it is wrong to “challenge, contradict or argue” with another person’s ethical belief.  Therefore, if they say, “oh, you are a hater for believing homosexual marriage is ethically wrong”, they are breaking their own rule and behaving contrary to their own stated beliefs!

Unfortunately, those who are trapped in this circle of irrationality are blind to their own hypocrisy and that makes them very dangerous if they get into positions of power.

The Creator designed human beings with a conscience to know right from wrong, and a mind to reason.  Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we all care about right and wrong regarding human behavior to some degree.  True and false, right and wrong exist, and those facts are only undeniable to those who are delusional.  The questions is, where should we human beings get our ethics from?

Please see my article on relativism for greater understanding on this basic “operating system” view of human life on this planet.

The New Ethic

The truth is that a new group of people have created a new ethic that THEY insist is the only right ethic and that everyone MUST agree with and abide by.  If we don’t agree with their new ethic, then we are ‘the enemy’ and we are ‘haters’.  This new group of people are ethical relativists or ERs…typically they are people who don’t believe God exists (and thus don't believe a higher Standard or accountablity exist) and typically those who identify with and hold what is labeled as liberal ideology.

This, dear reader, is the beginning of the end of free speech and ultimately, the beginning of the end to political freedom as well.

The ERs believe that since no transcendent or higher or God-given ethic exists, that THEIR ethic is the ultimate ethic that must be adopted.  They are as convinced of this as the eager young preacher is convinced of God’s rules, and they are just a fervent.  Unfortunately for the general population of the U.S., the ERs don’t believe their ethic is optional, or that it can only be practiced within smaller groups within the U.S. culture (“churches” or religious groups or communities).  Rather, they believe their ethic MUST BE UNIVERSALLY accepted by all of the U.S. population, and they intend to use the U.S. Government and new laws to force that view.

Perhaps the primary tool they will use to attempt to propagate their new ethic is the shutting down of free speech.  According to the ER’s, views that do not align with their ‘universally correct ethic’ are evil and must be shut down.  For example, if I express the view, “homosexual marriage is wrong”; or “homosexuals should not raise children”; or “those with male anatomy are men and those with female anatomy are women with no exceptions”; then that will be considered “hate speech” because it goes against the new ethic.  Even though I don’t hate homosexuals or transgender people, nor wish harm upon them, my view will be labeled “hate speech” and I will have to suffer the consequences of expressing a view against the new moral orthodoxy.  This is already happening in the U.S.

Conclusions:

  • “Hate Speech” should continue to have a rational definition of a person expressing their hatred for someone or something;
  • The U.S. Supreme Court currently holds to the traditional/rational view of ‘hate speech’ and allows for all expressions of speech including hateful speech except where such speech is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.  In other words, the U.S. Supreme Court says the U.S. Constitution supports the freedom for someone to express their hatred of another person or person(s);
  • The U.S. Supreme Court, while supporting the rational definition of hate speech as recently as 2017, will eventually cave into the irrational view of ‘hate speech’.  That will be a major step towards the end of free speech in the U.S.;
  • The fundamental spiritual aspect to this issue for the ERs is that a lack of an objective, transcendent ethical standard, combined with self-pride and the self-righteousness that comes from self-pride, leads to arrogance.  This arrogance is evidenced as the ERs express their opinion that ‘MY views or OUR view is the only correct one(s) and those who oppose us are at best wrong and at worst evil’.
    • Of course, the correct perspective on ethics for any person is, "We believe our ethics are superior to yours for these reasons.  We understand people have different ethical views and we don't try and force others to adopt our views; we hope people will be persuaded to our ethics by our reasons, the consistency in practicing our ethics, and the good fruit produced in living out our views";
  • To disagree with someone about an ethical or political belief is NOT hatred for the person with whom you disagree.  Rather, hatred for a person is the cause of hatred for a person!;
  • If a person does not hate a person or persons (please remember the definition of hatred), they should not be labeled as speaking ‘hatred’ or engaging in “hate speech”;
  • To express a view that a certain behavior with ethical implications is ethically wrong or harmful to those who engage in it is NOT expressing hatred;
  • Those who are easily offended by a different view on ethics are oftentimes INSECURE in their own ethical beliefs and often cannot defend them well using reason;
  • Those who are easily offended by a different view on ethics are oftentimes those who have made the decision to live by emotion instead of by reason.

If you are a person who can see the error, confusion and inevitible conflict that will take place due to people who want to force their new ethic on others; and you want to help in trying to rescue people from it and provide a clear alternative, please, enter into his Life and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!

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