Hate Speech is Free Speech
Debate Rounds (4)
First Round Acceptance and Introduction Only
My name is Galaca and I urge a Con ballot.
JDiamond forfeited this round.
Galaca forfeited this round.
I keep hearing about a supposed "hate speech" exception to the First Amendment, or statements such as, "This isn"t free speech, it"s hate speech," or "When does free speech stop and hate speech begin?" But there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Hateful ideas (whatever exactly that might mean) are just as protected under the First Amendment as other ideas. One is as free to condemn Islam " or Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or whites, or illegal aliens, or native-born citizens " as one is to condemn capitalism or Socialism or Democrats or Republicans.
To be sure, there are some kinds of speech that are unprotected by the First Amendment. But those narrow exceptions have nothing to do with "hate speech" in any conventionally used sense of the term. For instance, there is an exception for "fighting words" " face-to-face personal insults addressed to a specific person, of the sort that are likely to start an immediate fight. But this exception isn"t limited to racial or religious insults, nor does it cover all racially or religiously offensive statements. Indeed, when the City of St. Paul tried to specifically punish bigoted fighting words, the Supreme Court held that this selective prohibition was unconstitutional (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992)), even though a broad ban on all fighting words would indeed be permissible.
The same is true of the other narrow exceptions, such as for true threats of illegal conduct or incitement intended to and likely to produce imminent illegal conduct (i.e., illegal conduct in the next few hours or maybe days, as opposed to some illegal conduct some time in the future). Indeed, threatening to kill someone because he"s black (or white), or intentionally inciting someone to a likely and immediate attack on someone because he"s Muslim (or Christian or Jewish), can be made a crime. But this isn"t because it"s "hate speech"; it"s because it"s illegal to make true threats and incite imminent crimes against anyone and for any reason, for instance because they are police officers or capitalists or just someone who is sleeping with the speaker"s ex-girlfriend.
The Supreme Court did, in Beauharnais v. Illinois (1952), uphold a "group libel" law that outlawed statements that expose racial or religious groups to contempt or hatred, unless the speaker could show that the statements were true, and were said with "good motives" and for "justifiable ends." But this too was treated by the Court as just a special case of a broader First Amendment exception " the one for libel generally. And Beauharnais is widely understood to no longer be good law, given the Court"s restrictions on the libel exception.
Finally, "hostile environment harassment law" has sometimes been read as applying civil liability " or administrative discipline by universities " to allegedly bigoted speech in workplaces, universities, and places of public accommodation. There is a hot debate on whether those restrictions are indeed constitutional; they have generally been held unconstitutional when applied to universities, but decisions are mixed as to civil liability based on speech that creates hostile environments in workplaces (see the pages linked to at this site for more information on the subject). But even when those restrictions have been upheld, they have been justified precisely on the rationale that they do not criminalize speech (or otherwise punish it) in society at large, but only apply to particular contexts, such as workplaces. None of them represent a "hate speech" exception, nor have they been defined in terms of "hate speech."
For this very reason, "hate speech" also doesn"t have any fixed legal meaning under U.S. law. U.S. law has just never had occasion to define "hate speech" " any more than it has had occasion to define rudeness, evil ideas, unpatriotic speech, or any other kind of speech that people might condemn but that does not constitute a legally relevant category.
It is for all these reasons that I urge a Con Ballot.
In addition, my opponent seems to have made an argument against himself in saying that so-called "hate speech" is subjective. He is exactly right in this. Because of this assertion, there exists no agency by which a distinction can be made, which leads to an imminent danger of all speech in opposition to the status quo being banned.
But beyond this, one must come to realize what a ban on hate speech implies. When my opponent calls for certain speech or ideas to be made illegal under the law. What he is saying is that you, as an individual, do not belong to yourself, but rather to the state. He is saying that his feelings trump your right to think for yourself. This is a tyrannical ideology. It means your rights, which come from nature, may be subjected to a vote. Despite my opponent's assertion to the contrary, words are words, and cannot cause any direct physical harm, which is generally the precedent for the illegality of anything --especially in a country that calls itself 'free.'
In short, I do not believe that my opponent, or any person has the right to take away the fundamental truth that the owner of oneself (and one's rights) is oneself. Every single law is based upon this principle: One person may not kill an innocent person because they do not have the right to make a decision about something they do not own (the person's life). Similar, a person may not rape or steal from another for the same reason. Rights do not belong to the government, but rather are enumerated to each person upon birth, and for this reason the government has no right to infringe upon the right to say what you want.
Galaca forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bob13 11 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited the last round and was unable to defend his arguments or refute Pro's.
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