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View Diary: "Hate Speech" is Not the Same as "Free Speech" (188 comments)

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  •  Excellent comment, thank you. (2+ / 0-)
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    Old Sailor, JamesGG

    I don't think anyone has ever pretended this would be easy.

    What is interesting is that we are able, broadly, to define bullying and apply sanctions to our young people, but not apply the same standards to ourselves.

    We do this because the very real harm is recognized, yet leave school and suddenly you are free to intimidate others to your heart's content.

    It would be a hard thing to do, but when was that ever an excuse for doing nothing to protect the vulnerable?

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 11:38:23 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's more than "not easy." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think it's all but impossible, particularly within the context of the American political system.

      The third criterion in particular would be the most substantial sticking point, I think. How could one create a body that could determine the "rules" for hate speech that would be completely insulated from the political process while not being completely unaccountable for their decisions?

      I cannot think of even one instance in history where a system that fulfills that criterion—being simultaneously both insulated from popular politics/factions, and accountable to the body politic for its decisions—was implemented for even a short time, to say nothing of such a system remaining in place for any appreciable period of time.

      Anti-bullying rules in public schools are permissible in part because we acknowledge that young people are particularly susceptible not only to the harm caused by bullying but also, on the other end, to the impulse to engage in bullying. While they may cognitively "know" better, their immaturity causes a disconnect between that knowledge and their decision-making. That's why we raise children—in order to bring their consciences and their decisions closer together.

      Anti-bullying rules are also permissible in public schools because schools' purpose is pedagogical, not democratic; the harm of "over-diagnosing" bullying in preventing too much speech is significantly smaller than the harm of preventing too little speech and allowing too much bullying.

      Preventing children from saying certain things judged as "bullying" does not change the course of our democratic republic, nor does it suppress any population from participation in society—particularly since, as you write, those rules apply only in very limited circumstances. Unless it were absolutely perfect right out of the gate, any legal framework outlawing certain speech acts as "hate speech" potentially could and, I'd argue, almost certainly would have that effect.

      Finally, I dispute the notion that those who, like me, do not see any pragmatic way to implement laws banning hate speech are somehow uninterested in protecting the vulnerable. There are myriad situations in our society whereby a given "solution" to a problem can cause significantly more harm than the problem itself was causing; this, I would argue, would be such a "solution." That does not mean that I'm not interested in solving the problem—just that I don't think this solution would be beneficial overall.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 12:22:53 PM PDT

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      •  We're also talking about anti-bullying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        in the context of the school, which has authority over students' behavior.

        There are things that a school may forbid on school property as bullying but that doesn't mean we can call the police if they occur elsewhere.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 02:41:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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