Well, I for one like mom, apple pie and think kittens are adorable. And I don’t care who knows it. Go ahead, do your worst. My words are protected by the First Amendment, which was created precisely for anodyne speech like this, which couldn’t possibly offend anyone.
If you’re tilting your head sideways and trying to decide what precisely I’ve been drinking, and whether you need to stage an intervention, sit down. I haven’t run mad.
This is just the view I keep running into more and more often, particularly on the book of faces, but also by semi-credible individuals.
People interviewed in the news after the Charlottesville incident, often said the Antifa coming ready to hurt and maim people was okay because the speech Unite the Right was engaging in was not protected, being “hate speech.”
And yesterday night on Facebook, someone trying to explain why if I denounced Antifa I must be defending Neo-Nazis did me the courtesy of explaining that “you should be grateful. The Antifa was protecting you from vile speech.”
First, where does the idea that we must be protected from any speech comes from? Where does the idea come from that there is speech so hurtful it will cause physical pain? Didn’t it used to be that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” Is this flinching reaction to mere words, this interpreting of speech as violence worthy of violence in return a result of at least two generations being raised without hearing the word “no”? Or is it the screaming of the indoctrinated for whom words that might break indoctrination are painful?
Whatever it is, we need to get back to the old standard or lose the Republic, because the First Amendment was designed to protect vile speech and, yes, even hate speech.
Hearing words that go against your most cherished assumptions and your dearest ideals won’t kill you. It might make you mad as fire. It might make you marshal your own words in response, and think, and search for ways to explain why the “bad words” are wrong. However, believe it or not, as much as thinking seems to hurt most people, it is not actually bad for you.
Let’s leave alone the fact that if “hate” or “bad” or “vile” speech is forbidden, it will slowly come to mean anything that opposes those in power.
This is a lesson I learned painfully when I gave my math teacher in 6th grade a summary of the complaints the entire class had, and when she took offense and told me only I had that problem, no one in the class – not a single one – sided with me.
If some speech is forbidden, it’s very easy for those with the power over the press, the media, and entertainment to paint anything that disagrees with them as “offensive.” And if there is a penalty of law – or frankly even just social ostracism – for that speech, then most people will go along with it.
And heaven forbid we get another president who mistakes his upbringing and the eructations of his malformed mind for the mandate from heaven. How much fun would it have been if instead of telling us we should have been thanking him he’d made any speech not thanking him illegal.
But there is a deeper and more important point here.
Every age has its ethos, its cherished beliefs. One of my colleagues yesterday got in trouble by pointing out to the Antifa loonies that Lincoln too was a racist, not just the Confederates. It was possible to believe slavery was wrong and even dedicate one’s life to ending it, and yet believe that black people were inferior. In fact, I’d say up until World War Two discredited Eugenics there was general belief that some breeds (not even races) were superior to others. This was still very obvious in Europe when I was growing up, and probably still is if someone takes the trouble of traveling night trains and listening to talk in several languages.
Not that I would advise this these days to any unaccompanied young woman, as I then was. There will be too many “refugees” ready to commit violence upon her.
Which brings us back to the point. Since every age has its ethos, it is important to allow speech that is repugnant to that ethos — that is, speech that will offend most people at that place and at that time. It would be – trust me – repugnant to most people in Lincoln’s time, even those who thought slavery an abomination to be told that black people were the equal of the whites, and deserved the same protection, the same voting rights. I suspect if you’d told people back then that one day a black man would be president of the US you’d have gotten lynched. Or at least run out of town. It was repugnant and vile speech. Which is why it was important it be legal. I’m sure some crazy people said it now and then, here and there, until it grew into a movement.
This is important, because without that speech, the ideas of the age will harden and become unable to adapt. And society will become something like most Islamic countries.
Take for instance Europe, where there are laws against “hate speech” broadly defined as racist by their elites. Mind you, I visit there. And I speak the languages. You still hear plenty of “hate speech” on the streets. Europe is far more racist than the US, even though its press and ours allow it to preen about being otherwise.
However, the laws against “hate speech” make it impossible for journalists, publications and bloggers to expose the fraud being perpetrated upon Europe, with the masses of fake refugees streaming in. Neither the fact that these are mostly military age men, nor the fact that they neither want to nor are being encourage to assimilate can be mentioned. In fact, publishing stories about the wave of crime they have unleashed on native populations, can fall under “hate crime.”
Because the European elites prefer not to have anyone being able to call them on their plotting and their intents.
And this is why the protections on speech are particularly for vile speech. Sure, it will allow people to say things that make us retch, from neo Nazi groups, to the various organs of the Communist party, from Antifa to ANSWER.
But sometimes speech that reads as vile is the only way to activate the fire alarm and wake the sleeping populace.
Without it, we die.