Free Hate Speech

hate-speech

The fake conservative love of free speech is really a defense of hate speech. What other kind of speech is being repressed these days?* They try to frame it as a defense of “all” speech because that’s the only remotely plausible way to defend extreme hate speech, bullying, white supremacy, Nazi rallies, racist propaganda, efforts to recruit and radicalize the disaffected, etc. They will also cynically use “free association” for the same purposes.

The irony is of course that the more power we allow the radical right to gain, the more they will attack the freedoms of others and the more they will escalate their attacks on free, open society, diversity, and modern democratic, cosmopolitan civilization. And the radical right won’t stop at repressing the speech and other rights of those who oppose them. Radical right ideology, unchecked, invariably leads to violence and murder.

This is a classic example of Popper’s paradox of tolerance (which they mock even as they exploit it).

Some fear that regulating extreme speech is a slippery slope. Partisan information control is a slippery slope with a clear historical and contemporary warrant (justification) for that argument. Since that is already a slippery slope in its own right, regulating hate speech doesn’t necessarily make it more so. Nor is control of hate speech necessarily partisan.

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My view is that hate speech is a a form of aggression with a slippery slope towards violence and murder. That particular slippery slope concern has a detailed historical warrant vis a vis open democratic societies. Its not theoretical fear mongering. Hate speech >> fighting words >> incitement to violence >> violence.

IMO the legal and institutional brakes on that progression are in about the right place today, but the radical right wants to cut those brake lines, and too many naive conservatives and liberals are giving them support under the false flag of free speech.

Is there any warrant whatsoever that *regulating* hate speech is a slippery slope? I’m not aware of any, and thus that argument is a fallacy (fear mongering, etc.). It is entirely theoretical as far as I know, by which standard everything is a fatal slippery slope.

Jordan Peterson and his ilk may or may not be radical right fanatics themselves, but at the very least they are useful “idiots”; recruiting tools in the early stages of radicalizing “lost boys” whether they know it or not, whether they admit it to themselves or not. Their blend of benign and malignant stereotypes, tropes, myths, and sex/race pseudoscience (biological essentialism) is the perfect fishnet and on-ramp to more extreme radicalization.

Losing its grip on the mainstream and becoming a counterculture is precisely what has the current generation of conservatives so agitated and subversive. They want good social order on their terms only. They utterly reject a modern, cosmopolitan/multicultural framework in which countercultures become peacefully coexisting subcultures.

Defending their own hate speech (and no one else’s free speech) is the only real reason for conservatives making much ado about free speech these days.
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* The cynical fraud (hypocrisy is too weak a word) of conservative free speech is also seen in the ways they try to smear and bully those like our freshman female Congress people who call out racism, sexism, and radical right Zionism in Congress and the Executive branch. If progressives criticize far right Israeli lobbies they are falsely smeared as anti-semitic. If they criticise the GOP’s use of racist props and tropes they are smeared as reverse racists. College students and faculty that oppose racists, homophobes, and fascists speaking, recruiting, and organizing on campus are also smeared as being weak, “coddled” (Haidt), or ironically authoritarian. This is not just a matter of conservatives defending a free and open marketplace of ideas. They try to use any lever of power they can get their hands on to silence their opposition. The recent executive order on campus free speech is a case in point. They would gladly block funds for cancer or climate research to protect hate speech and psuedoscience on campus.

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Note: I’m not saying there aren’t many low-information conservatives (and some confused liberals) going along with this naïvely. But where such ignorance is at all willful ignorance, it is complicity.

Many hate speakers are victims of childhood abuse, neglect, insecurity and such. Hate speech may be a symptom of clinical or sub clinical PTSD.

Hate speech defenders and enablers are harder to figure. In some cases they just have a naïve idealism about absolute free speech. Some are simply sympathetic with the hate speaker. More often I think they share the sentiments of the hate speaker but lack the courage to be outspoken haters themselves.

That suggests quite a range of compassionate interventions. I don’t want to give up on anybody, but some of these haters should not be walking around without adult supervision. I don’t want to neglect fascism and radicalization and let them grow like mold until we are forced to fight them with lethal disinfectants.
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I welcome any conservatives, libertarians, radical centrists, etc. who want to debate this with me. In fact, I fucking dare you. But I’m NOT going to give anyone the right to make gish-galloping rants on my page. If you disagree with more than one point I’ve made, state your questions/objections/claims one at a time, in one comment/reply for each. Or you can make up to 3 points per comment if you number each point. Otherwise I may delete your comment without reply. If you are too boorish I will block your sorry ass.

There will be ongoing edits to this post.

Poor Richard

Stand Whose Ground?

Or, who’s standing on what grounds?


AG Eric Holder says we should stand our ground against  “stand your ground” laws. Easier said than done, and this smacks of the same hollow lip service and pandering we are used to hearing from Republicrats and Demicans on just about anything but gay rights these days.

Thanks to the radical and systematic social engineering efforts of the far right designed to divide and rule our society and destroy democracy; assisted by billionaire-funded think tanks and industry-sponsored institutions like the NRA, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); ratified by sleazy politicians and corrupt  judges; and applauded by tens of millions of racist, paranoid, or belligerent Americans, some 25 states now have what are euphemistically called “stand your ground” laws.

The full, technical terminology for such laws, without which it is impossible to understand the bizarre logic of how they are applied in particular court cases, is this:

Angry white supremacist or racist vigilante males stand your ground–everybody else get the fuck down on the ground and we might not bust a cap in your ass law

That’s why Trayvon had no right to stand his ground, much less bust a cap (if he could have) in Zimmerman’s ass when Zimmerman assaulted him.

That’s why Marissa Alexander got a 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot while black and female, despite invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’:

…Alexander [fired] a shot… which lodged into the ceiling. She was charged with 3 counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Despite being offered a 3 year sentence and later a probational sentence with time served, Alexander chose to attempt a Stand Your Ground defense prior to trial but was unsuccessful. She was found guilty and according to Florida’s gun laws (where 10 years can be added for committing a crime while carrying a firearm, with an added 10 years for discharging a firearm during a crime) was sentenced to 20 years. (Wikipedia)

After the Alexander sentencing U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown commented “The Florida criminal justice system has sent two clear messages today…One is that if women who are victims of domestic violence try to protect themselves, the ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ will not apply to them. … The second message is that if you are black, the system will treat you differently.”

Summing up “stand your ground”: your self defense defense is most likely to hold up in court if (in order of importance):

  1. You are not black or female
  2. Your victim is black or female
  3. There are no surviving eye-witnesses (audio evidence is not prejudicial)
  4. The jury is stacked with bigots and/or idiots
  5. The prosecutor and judge are incompetent

PR

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