Hate speech is easy to define – “I made this term up to limit the free speech of people I disagree with!” Claiming “hate speech” is an excuse for censorship. Notably, those accusing others of hate speech are routinely accusing people they are foes of, and of spoken against those the accuser is friendly towards.
Free speech is tolerance of speech you don’t like. You can say all you like about not liking it, but you don’t get to drag in the cops. The speech might cause serious anxiety and psychological trauma? Poor baby… He needs to learn that there are unfriendly people in the world. And sometimes they will be right. He doesn’t get to shut them up on the grounds his feeling will be hurt.
“Hate speech” is a label put to speech that someone finds offensive. Because you or even a 99% majority are offended by it, does not give us the right to stop it. All speech should be protected except that that speech that explicitly calls for violence. Speech itself is not violence, no matter how despicable the point of view might be to the majority. Offensive speech is what must be protected. Popular speech does not need protection.
What is wrong with banning “hate speech”?
The main thing that is wrong with banning ‘Hate Speech’ is deciding who decides what ‘hate speech’ is.
For example, if we look at the current New Zealand government, the highest authority would be the PM Select right? So let me ask you, would you be okay with Cindy deciding what was hate speech? The woman is derided daily. Do you really want to give her a magic button where if someone compares her to a horse they get thrown in prison?
Giving the power to decide what speech is acceptable to anyone but the general public is setting oneself up for disaster. Not to mention it often, doesn’t work as intended. They tried to censor various words in Chinese, so the Chinese just subbed in different characters and puns and continued using them.
Best case scenario, they manage to ban one of the best warning signs that someone is out to harm you. See, I’d rather know if someone was objecting to my existence so severely that I might need to be on guard, rather than getting jumped.
That’s not very double-plus-good!
You might think banning hate speech might be stopping people deriding LGBT individuals or such, but as we have seen, it is more likely to defend the worst of us. In Britain there was a guy who got into trouble for flying a flag that said ‘Fuck ISIS’, you know ISIS right, the terrorist organisation that hates women and blows people up on occasion?
If we take a look at human history you can see our perspective of what is good changes radically between centuries, or even in the span of a few years. Not to mention there are different cultures with completely different ideas about what is offensive.
It wasn’t so long ago we were burning female doctors and midwives as witches and saying the act of being gay was an affront to god. The way we have things now, with social consequences for being an asshole, is simply better.
Even if you forget everything else, hate speech laws are hard to enforce unless you are going after people online who have it written down otherwise it is just ‘he said she said’.