Should hate speech be banned?

@maezee (38202)
United States
March 9, 2009 1:33pm CST
Now, obviously, myLot has a very diverse set of members, and so obviously no one likes hate speech. But do you think the government can rightfully ban hate speech, or do you think this would impede on our rights of freedom of expression? Where should they draw the line? What are the laws in your country regarding hate speech?
4 people like this
18 responses
@xfahctor (14128)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 Mar 09
" Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances ~ United States constitution amendment 1 "Free speech and liberty of the press are essential to the security of freedom in a state: They ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved." ~ New Hampshire State constitution [b] NO speach should be banned.
4 people like this
@xfahctor (14128)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 Mar 09
This is in fact so important, my state constitution mentions it not once but twice "Art.] 30. [Freedom of Speech.] The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in either house of the legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any action, complaint, or prosecution, in any other court or place whatsoever. [/i] Again, NO speech should be banned.
4 people like this
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
That's true, and I also live in the United States - but people HAVE been prosecuted in the past for speech that later induced violence. (Or at least on Law & Order, lol). And it's a federal felony to say "I'm going to kill the president" (or something of that extent) in public, and it's also a crime to say there is a bomb in a building (when there isn't). These are just some examples of the hypocrisy of the first amendment. I agree, no speech should be banned - but again, what about the violence aspect of it? And what about the "exceptions" that the government clearly makes?
1 person likes this
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
And by the way, thanks for responding!
1 person likes this
@ParaTed2k (22981)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
9 Mar 09
I think all "hate crime" legislation is just the thought police at work. It is discrimination plane and simple. It sets up a caste system of victims where one is somehow more "entitled" to protection under the law.
2 people like this
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
You think so? Hate crime does exist, though. Do you think it should be regarded the same as any other kind of crime? Or do you think crimes that are motivated by racist/sexist/discriminatory perpetrators should have higher consequences than those that are not? It sounds like you have a really interesting point. I'd like to hear more. Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@ParaTed2k (22981)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
9 Mar 09
Crime exists and should be prosecuted... however, while hate does exist, it it merely a motive, not a crime in and of itself. If two people are shot, one because the shooter hates Black people but the other one for their wallet, which murder is more murderous? "Hate crime" states that what the person was thinking when they committe the crime somehow makes the crime worse. In other words, it is discriminatory. We pay lip service to stamping out institutionalized discrimination in our culture, but then we embrace it with things like "hate" legislation.
1 person likes this
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Thanks for both of your opinions. You both make excellent points. I'm still a little wishy-washy on the topic myself, so I can't rightfully counter any of your arguments. It makes sense, though, that a crime is a crime, regardless of what the motive is behind it.
1 person likes this
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
9 Mar 09
The American constitution guarantees the right to free speech - even the disgusting parts of it. Banning hate speech would be a terrible violation of our first amendment. I'm totally against such an action. I think unless the speech is genuinely threatening toward the life and welfare of a person (like "I'm going to kill you"), or if it causes unnecessary panic that could lead to endangering others (like shouting "Fire" in a crowded building when there is no fire), I see no reason to ban any kind of speech.
2 people like this
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
You make an excellent point, although I think it might be hard to differentiate between what is considered "genuinely threatening". I think this leaves too much ambiguity, and might end up hurting us instead of helping us. I appreciate your answer!
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17923)
• United States
9 Mar 09
As xfahctor has already said, our freedom of speech should not be stepped on in *any* way...hateful or not. We have laws in the U.S. that address hate *crimes* but those require action in some form. We fought too hard for the freedoms we have in this country to give up even the smallest part of any of them...even if some people use them to behave badly.
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Thanks! I agree, if the hate speech leads to a crime, it is definitely punsihable by the government.
1 person likes this
@csrobins (1124)
• United States
10 Mar 09
They cant draw the line between hate speech and the right to speech. It would be too difficult and some people would have their rights infringed upon. THere is no way to make laws black and white enough to make sure everyone goes unharmed whether it be being harmed by the law or being harmed by another person. That is why they have set laws concerning public communication such as defamation, libel, slander, and what is defined as obscene material.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Something needs to be done about public bullying though - purposeful deragatory comments or slamming against someone for something they have no control over. I don't see anything wrong with not liking somebody for their actions or beliefs - but keeping in mind it's the actions and beliefs that offend you, not the PERSON themselves unless they are beating you over the head literally.
@vishwaskg (514)
• India
9 Mar 09
Hi there. I feel Hate speeches should be banned ,this only makes things worse ,yes some might talk about freedom of expressions,but its not about doing what is correct ,its about doing what is RIGHT ,i.e. we should stick to things which are right ,instead of hate speeches ,it would be better that we go for demand speeches,where we can demand or request what is morally right ,Just by speaking hatred it only increases an iminent cold war situation and a possibily of running havoc in many peoples lives. SO Hate speeches be BAnned ,,, while at same time demand speeches should be encouraged . Cheers
@xfahctor (14128)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 Mar 09
ok, define "hate speech" for me pleaase?
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
You make a point - although hate speech isn't always able to be converted into speeches where "demands" are being made. I think the kind of hate speech I was referring to is of the sexist, racist, discriminatory-type of hate speech, where there is no reasonable demand to be made.
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12160)
• United States
10 Mar 09
OH HELL NOOOOOO!!! I don't understand intolerance, bigotry & hatred but the absolute BEST thing about this country is the fact that we have freedom of speech!!! You can't ban one form of speech without banning another. Hate speech offends so we ban it today. Who is to say that religious speech doesn't offend someone tomorrow??? Do we ban that too??? Then what do we ban on the days following that??? Suddenly we have NO speech at all!!! I can remember when people tolerated each other. I'm a firm believer that just because I may or may not agree with someone's way of doing things or thinking, it doesn't make it right or wrong for them...only for me. So, PLEASE drop the thinking of banning ANYTHING!!! Teach tolerance by your own actions. God knows I've responded to a hate filled discussion with plans of being tolerant only to realize that I was spewing forth my own form of hate. Was I justified??? NOOO!!! So, now I'm working on my own form of tolerance. It's easy to preach tolerance yet hard to follow your own advice!!! I'm not sure exactly when we got to the point of the what I want is much more important than what you need. All I ask is show me that what you want is more important than what I need & I'll do my best to be sure you get it!!!
@dvrtmcc (176)
• Eritrea
9 Mar 09
Probably yes but I didn't encounter much of it here.
1 person likes this
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Good point.
1 person likes this
@xfahctor (14128)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 Mar 09
Before anyone else posts advocating the banning of hate speech, please, define "hate speech" for me.
@xfahctor (14128)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
10 Mar 09
helps a lot actually, helps make my point. "hate speech" is a pretty broad and gray term and very open to interpretation.
1 person likes this
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
10 Mar 09
Based on that, a child could get accused of hate speech for calling another kid fat. After all, he's degrading him based on his social class. Perhaps I should be convicted of hate speech for calling people who support the ban morons.
• United States
10 Mar 09
Cheer up! We can still defame conservatives and christians! It's actually considered kool! (And we all know every one of them fits the stereotype.)
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
9 Mar 09
You can NEVER ban hate speech because it's made up garbage just like hate crimes. When you use contrived terms like hate speech, you allow people to make up whatever definition suits them. Ok, let's ban hate speech. I think Rush Limbaugh is a hateful guy. Let's ban him from the radio. Hold on, Keith Olberman is one hateful jerk, let's ban him from MSNBC. You know what? I hated the way Jim disagreed with me on a thread here on mylot. He should be banned because he was hateful when he said I was wrong. Here's a comical example of how you can redefine things like hate crimes and hate speech from The Office where the boss, Michael, was angry that someone left poo on the floor of his office. Michael: It was a hate crime! you know what i mean right Stanley (the black guy)? Stanley: That's not what a hate crime is Michael. Michael: Well i hate it!
@maezee (38202)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Thanks for responding, although I think you need to be a little more open-minded (considering I'm not advocating one belief or another, I was simply asking for opinions). I agree that "hate speech" is an ambiguous term and it's ambiguity would probably get us all in trouble later on.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Mar 09
I don't believe in true banning or censoring other people, however I do feel that people need to respect certain boundaries. To me this means what people normally consider 'hate speech' should be discontinued - at least in public arenas. This means people should avoid slurs and airing personal issues except in a general sense. People ought to censor THEMSELVES somewhat in the interest of personal freedom itself. When you treat someone else kindly, they will be more likely to treat you kindly back. There is a difference between being honest and open in a RESPECTFUL, DECENT, TACTFUL manner - and being honest in a blunt, rude, arrogant and nasty manner. The emphasis on behavior should be slanted towards acting in the first way - or not running your mouth. This even applies at a public message forum like this where users come from all over. I'm not indicating nobody should express opinions, but when we do, it should be with regard to the feelings of others, many who may or will not agree. The road to peace is paved with caring about how what you say and how you say it affects other people, whether you know it or not.
@CRIVAS (1818)
• Canada
10 Mar 09
I think that the government could very well do that but I also think that it would cause a lot of problems. We are supposed to have the freedome of speach and when you start putting limits on that freedome, you can't really call it a freedome anymore. I think that the people who write hate speeches, are just sad and confused individuals that were taught to be the way they are. For those that are just plan mean and cruel, there is only one way to discourage them, you ignore them. If there is no one to pay attention to them, like a bully, they should get bored and give up. I think that people need to know that what another person thinks of them, doesn't make us that way. We are individuals and we are all meant to be different. Anyone that doesn't understand that isn't worth the time or effort of talking too anyway. I am not sure what kinds of laws my country has in place against this kind of thing, might be something interesting to look into.
10 Mar 09
Can't ban hate speech so one has gotta stand up for themselves in the uk our government is a compleat waste of space and the country is a bloody joke, workers being laid off and comanys employing polish and itallian worker because the can pay them less, and the ammount of, how can i put this?? ethnics over here is a joke and they get all the benifits for free. So i think we can express our hate towards the government eastern europian workers and immergrants as much as we want!!
@xParanoiax (6997)
• United States
10 Mar 09
Augh, mylot ate my response! The government can't and shouldn't get into who can say what. And no, verbal manipulation to cause another to commit a crime doesn't count as a an exception. Why? Firstly, because we can't prosecute people for their intentions...because that'd be like saying we can prosecute people for their THOUGHTS. And secondly? Because someday, you give the government that much power...it can and WILL be abused. No ifs ands or buts. The line? Freedom of speech means ALL speech...no matter what manner of evil spouts from others' mouths. Tough noogies, you deal.
• Philippines
10 Mar 09
Hi maezee. I am not so sure if the Philippine government has implemented any law with regards to hate speech but as I have observed,it seems there is none.I see a lot of senators,congressmen and other political figures taking advantage of privilege speeches as a venue for their hate speech as this gives them immunity.Personally,I think it is an abuse of power. I believe there should be a proper venue for this.One doesn't have to go public if they want to express their hate. Just my opinion...Thanks.
@yyc4220 (43)
• China
10 Mar 09
I think the freedom is relative. There is not absolute freedom except only one in the world. In the history of world, the one who owns absolute power has the absolute freedom, not everyone. In fact, everything is relative and has two sides, such as day and night, sun and moon, male and female, right and wrong, and so on. So I don't think it impede my rights of freedom of expression. My country has its own logical laws regarding speech, eliminating unheathful, unsafe and negative speeches, as while protecting our right and freedom to speech. I think every coutry does like this. Doesn't yours? I also think it can be observed in a family. What should be said, what is fobidden, not controlling by law, but by some other thing like moralty. Don't you think so?
• United States
10 Mar 09
Hate speech should be banned only if ALL hate speech is banned from EVERY ETHNIC GROUP. Seems that some groups could spread their poison and propoganda in the name of " Freedom of Speech" and "freedom of expression", while other groups are considered racist if they do the same.
@K46620 (1995)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Banning "Hate Speech" is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Yes, it may appear to have a nice benefit in some situations, but what is the long term effect? When you hand the government power to ban 'hate speech', you are throwing away your right to free speech. It allows the government to define hate speech, and ultimately, it is a big step towards tyranny. Good discussion :)