A sign seen at the recent Berkeley riots:
Hate speech IS Free speech
My thoughts on the above:
The Left tries to criminalize “hate speech” because, as Milo likes to point out, the Left wants to justify their own physical violence. Defining offensive speech as a crime will blur the line between speech and actions. Then lefties can claim that their many crimes of physical assault, vandalism, robbery, murder, etc., are self-defense, or justified by the victim’s beliefs/speech that are so offensive. Muslims try to pull the same trick.
I believe in keeping a strong line between speech and actions. For example, I believe that someone’s taunting (words) or alleged political-social beliefs or drawings of Mohammed can never justify your throwing the first punch at them.
The world does have some hateful people in it and genuine occurrences of “hate speech” – and I don’t like them. But that’s what my own right of free speech is for: to refute others’ dumb/wrong speech. And my right to free association, also: so that I may avoid people I don’t like, kick them out of my own house at least, and so on.
In this dim and confused world, any truthful speech will offend somebody, somewhere. The right to speak your conscience freely is the same as the right to say things that will offend others and hurt their feelings. The two are inseparable.
From the comments: A pointer to the Neal Boortz quote,
Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection.
UPDATE: On April 20 and as if on cue, Howard Dean said “Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.” Wrong, Mr. Dean. Threats and “fighting words” may not be protected, but Ann Coulter’s political speech (what you choose to call “hate speech”) is protected. And should be.