Guest post: Many people even find these ideas “hateful”

Originally a comment by iknklast on They would do well to repudiate this embarrassment from the UK chapter.

The right to promote hateful ideas is not covered under the right to free speech.

Actually, it is. Otherwise, speech is anything but free. When Eugene Debs was jailed for speaking against the war, he was promoting “hateful” ideas. When Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated, he was promoting “hateful” ideas. When Giordano Bruno was burned, he was promoting “hateful” ideas. When the founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, they were promoting “hateful” ideas. When the abolitionists spoke out against slavery, they were promoting “hateful” ideas. When the NAACP spoke out in favor of civil rights, they were promoting “hateful” ideas. When women demanded the vote, they were promoting “hateful” ideas.

The thing is, sooner or later you will probably say something that another person will not like or agree with. Many people even find these ideas “hateful”. No God? Hateful idea…if you believe in one. Women shouldn’t be put in sacks before they can go outdoors? Hateful idea…to many Muslims, and a lot of ‘woke’ people. Global warming? Hateful idea…if you are a business person who makes oodles of money pumping carbon into the atmosphere.

The idea of free speech works only if it supports “hateful” ideas, because otherwise, some individual or group gets to determine what constitutes a “hateful” idea and shut down all speech they don’t like. The idea of freedom of speech was not put into place to promote popular ideas; it is not needed for that.

For too many, however, the idea of free speech means “I get to say whatever I want because free speech; you get to say whatever I want, because free speech”. It means we get to call women horrible names, we get to shut women out of the discussion, we get to tell women to STFU, we get to tell women to make us a sandwich. Women aren’t supposed to answer, because if they tell us they don’t like or agree with what we are saying, that is a violation of our free speech. This last, totally illogical argument, seems to be the standard tactic – ‘my speech, and that of those who agree with me, are protected as free speech, neener neener. Your free speech is an attack on my free speech, because I don’t like it, so it isn’t covered under free speech”.

I agree that the ideas are not “hateful” ideas, they are discussions that are reasoned, rational, logical, and considered. It appears to me that the only answer the TRAs have is “shut up, that’s why” and whining that free speech means shutting down speech they find unpleasant. Shutting down the speech of another happens when you are unable to argue with them rationally.

10 Responses to “Guest post: Many people even find these ideas “hateful””