Waylaid Dialectic

February 16, 2014

Hate Speech

Filed under: Random Musings — terence @ 8:14 pm

Provoked, perhaps, by cant over at NoRightTurn, an old manager of mine decries liberal males who plead free-speech in defence of ultra-misogynist hip hop acts.

Speaking as a liberal male I just wanted to say: not me.

If Odd Future’s lyrics were about Jews, or if they were a white group singing about African American men, we’d put an end to their concert one way or another. I can’t see how the fact they are singing about women could possibly change this. And yet somehow in our messed-up world it does. They get to be famous and rich, when they ought to be banned

While we’re on the subject, hate speech — including vile hip-hop lyrics — ought to be illegal.

The counter argument has it that freedom of speech is too precious for us to allow the state impede upon its domain, even when we deplore what’s being said. But, as Maria eloquently points out, there are many different threats to the freedom to speak — the state is only one. And when you let a certain group of people sing the praises of violent acts against others, one way or another, you are impeding the freedoms of those others. There are times when intervening maximises available freedom.

You can argue slippery slopes of you like: but we already make liable and incitements to violence illegal, and have done for a long time without the rest of our freedoms slipping away. We’d cope with hate speech added to the list.


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