Is there such a thing as 'Hate Speech' ?

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Dayvan Cowboy
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I ideally want an open discussion regarding this issue in reality, its one that I have been interested in getting a few different perspectives from in an environment where people aren't at eachother's throats about it. Hence posting it here which is a safe haven of friendliness in an otherwise sometimes fairly vile internet.

My personal opinion: Unless someone is directly making a call to violence i.e 'You should all go out and hurt this group of people' 'This group of people/ person should be beaten up/ otherwise harmed' I personally think that people can and should legally be allowed to be as 'hateful' as they want in their language and any reasonable person will recognise that a hateful opinion isn't one they will take seriously... problem solved, no? Why is there such a call for legislation to become involved and for people that speak ill of certain protected groups to be prosecuted/ barred from public speaking? That is a step towards Totalitarianism/ Authoritarianism where an unsavory opinion is punishable by law.

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Boqurant
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I'm a big supporter of free speech and i'd much rather live in a world where i'm offended by peoples thoughts,ideas and language than to live in one were everything is regulated and padded to not be offensive (impossible anyway)

Some ideology's and ways of thinking are worse than others and what starts out as something that doesn't "directly make a call to violence" harbors and normalizes language,thoughts and ideas that eventually Leeds to an acceptance of physical violence.

Most of the evil ideas that where sold to the masses where packaged very conservatively at first.

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Dayvan Cowboy
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Yes, there is such a thing as hate speech. The ideal of free speech is just that - an ideal, and like every freedom at some point it rubs against the reality of how a society functions, at some point you need to weigh the cost of that freedom against the benefit. You even say it yourself, with you it's direct calls to violence, and the next reply correctly points out that actually, even before calls to violence there can be problems. Whether or not you go on to say "... and therefore saying these things is illegal" or you go on to say "... saying this stuff is kind of not on and if you're going to say it don't say it in here" is kind of a side question. The speech still exists and in the real world we have all sorts of moderation, social contracts, and yes law to deal with it.

An argument often given in support of a pure perfect freedom of speech is that of the marketplace of ideas: if you let people say whatever they like, they'll discuss and over time the good ideas will win out over the bad. This is one of those imaginings of the world that's so naive it's almost funny. Nowhere outside of a polite debating society does that happen. In reality, people come to information with biases and flaws and a lot of really really easy to understand (but factually wrong) ideas persist no matter how long they're explained. (To take a benign example from another thread: despite the scientific proof to the contrary the uptick in people believing the world is flat.) Once you can convince people that one group of people has this essential difference, or motivation, or intent, that idea becomes a cultural talisman in its own right, sewing disharmony, distrust and leading to treating people differently just because. Those people then have to not only fight for equal treatment, they have to fight it uphill against the idea that caused them to be treated unequally in the first place.

That's not to say you make certain ideas illegal, but just like an economic market, complete lack of regulation does not work. Or it works well for some people but not for others. In the marketplace of ideas, just as in a financial one, power concentrates among those who already have power. Whether that's a willing audience, a platform, or just the means to tap into our ever present human fallibility for falsities to warp into a neat, but flawed idea that you can indoctrinate the less careful to believe.

At some point you need to draw a line and say "ok, we start from certain basic premises of equality" and go from there. Now in the UK we've typically relied on good old soft rules about "what's done" to say and what's just not cricket. Even our obscenity laws are based around what a "reasonable person" would be offended by. In the US you were way ahead in thinking when you "declared these truths to be self evident: that all men were created equal". Imagine that! A self evident truth. A truth that required no further discussion because in and of itself it was evidence of how true it was. But you skip forward a few decades and see how it panned out, and you know I think it's fair to say you gave it a good go but that self evident truth just needs a little help there so that all people can enjoy the equality of life, liberty, all the good stuff.

Opinion seems divided on where that line is. But saying that things that fundamentally and directly seek to undermine the self evident thesis of equality not just interpersonally, but throughout society, seems a pretty small concession to the practicalities of ensuring the most freedom for the most people, even if it means that you have to take it on the chin and pull back from theoretically pure notions of freedom.

We'd probably all like to be totally free on some level. To live without the need for law. But people will be people, and that's why we can't habe nice things. (And that reply works for the gun control argument as well as this one.)

Just my 2c and change and I didn't mention left or right once

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Dayvan Cowboy
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As a homosexual man who was relentlessly bullied through school since age 7 and has had occasional insults thrown at me in the adult world, the short answer is yes. The long answer is also just the word yes. Now that that's out of the way, the question is how do we stop it without running into this problem? It's very hard to rationalize with someone spewing hate speech, so it seems the problem is much larger than a speech problem. It has to start somewhere else.
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Dayvan Cowboy
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2020k wrote:As a homosexual man who was relentlessly bullied through school since age 7 and has had occasional insults thrown at me in the adult world, the short answer is yes. The long answer is also just the word yes. Now that that's out of the way, the question is how do we stop it without running into this problem? It's very hard to rationalize with someone spewing hate speech, so it seems the problem is much larger than a speech problem. It has to start somewhere else.



I'm very sorry to hear that. My first head injury was at the hands of a group of people at school calling me a 'faggot' for having long hair and being quite effeminate generally so I can relate to that. 'Kick a Ginger day' really didn't do me any favors either haha. I've actually made friends with a lot of those people now. It turns out that the person who had attacked me repeatedly throughout school claiming that I was gay and using every derogatory term for it under the sun came out as homosexual himself a few years later and it turned out that his father was very violently against homosexuality to the extent that whenever he showed signs of it when he was younger, his father would beat him up and kick him out of the house. I was very sad to hear that when I did but it says a lot about the fact that growing up in an environment where violence as a result of anything remotely effeminate was normal propagated down to him as a youngster and he copied that action up until the point he realised just why it was that he felt such inner conflict.

I 100% agree that it isn't an issue with speech but with the motives that fuel hateful ideas. It should be something that should be addressed through social means as opposed to legal ones, and through education as opposed to punishment.

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Dayvan Cowboy
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Why do I always go into so much detail as to things I would rather keep private on here ?

Its something about Twoism.

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But is there such a thing as love speech?
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Dayvan Cowboy
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