Friday, May 22, 2015

Quickies: Line Drawings And Those Who Draw Them

     John Sexton reveals some disturbing numbers:

     A new poll shows that a majority of Democrats want to limit free speech with laws that would prohibit so-called “hate speech.”

     The YouGov poll published Wednesday found that 51 percent of Democrats favor imposing legal limits on free speech while just 26 percent of Democrats oppose the idea.

     What disturbs me is the complete omission of the Constitutional barrier against such “legal limits.” It would appear that the overwhelming majority of the respondents either didn’t take the First Amendment into consideration, or regard it as having been “obsoleted by developments.”

     It’s almost as upsetting to see that so many Republicans, nominally the defenders of limited government and the strict interpretation of the Constitution, should have supported such measures. How can it be that one who attaches himself to the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land would be so willing to overlook so important a constraint on the State?

     As Eugene Volokh and others have observed, the First Amendment makes no exceptions for “hate speech.” The well-publicized travails of respected Canadian writers and journalists, where there are official bodies that police “hate speech,” should provide more than adequate explanation for why “hate speech” is an invalid legal conception, but then, we already have a legal category for “hate crimes,” don’t we?

     The power to define a sentiment as “hate speech,” punishable by law, is unthinkably dangerous. If you disagree, imagine it in the hands of someone who despises you and all you stand for – and make no assumptions about “reasonable person” standards or similar non-objective bilge.

     To those who would reply "Freedom of expression is very well in theory, but you have to draw the line somewhere," remember Patrice Stanton's visualization of such lines.

     These are dark times – and getting darker by the second.

6 comments:

  1. "...by the second."

    Indeed.

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  2. I don't trust anyone to define, "intended to stir up hatred".

    Who will judge and determine intent and hatred?

    There is already enough proof that laws created around the "hate crime" model are a failure and not judged with equality.



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  3. by the second.
    The second amendment protects the first. There is similarly no exception on that right.
    And with 3d printed guns, the lines are blurred.

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  4. Is it possible that nobody notices the inconsistency in such a proposal?

    The proposal to make hate speech a crime is a demonstration of hate speech all on its own.

    Thus the proponents are self-described criminals as defined by their own standards.

    In a self-justifying system, the moment each person signed onto the bill they would suddenly vanish. Fantastic!

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Hate crimes, conspiracy to commit ________, and all speech restrictions are nothing more than thought crimes or future crimes (a la the film Minority Report). If we can't say something, we certainly can't be caught thinking it either. If we can't "legally" think it without being caught, it's essentially illegal, as all crimes are only illegal if you get caught...

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