Monday, June 13, 2016

'Hate Speech Is the Secular Equivalent of Blasphemy.'

And just as stupid a concept. ""The internet is a place for free speech," says the European Union's commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, Vera Jourov√°, "not hate speech." To which, I literally reply: "What the fuck is hate speech, exactly? Like another phony, malleable concept — obscenity — it is simply a political category that gives power to the powerful to pick and choose what lesser mortals are allowed to read, think, and discuss"

...The EU has released a new code of conduct for social media and the Internet and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft have all signed up to help police "hate speech," with a particularly sharp eye on "racism and xenophobia." The great good people at Britain's Spiked are hosting a debate about this in London on June 15 (attend!) and they asked a bunch of folks, including me, to comment on the EU restrictions and whether any sort of speech should be restricted. are some highlights from other participants who are better known in the United Kingdom: 

"Hate speech is the secular equivalent of blasphemy."—Frank Furedi, sociologist 

"Everybody must be free to hate what or who they choose. That means being free to hate, not just fascists or Nigel Farage, but Muslims or Christians, transsexuals or Scousers, bankers or Bono."—Mick Hume, editor at large, Spiked 

"Writing off opponents as haters, so that you can then just ignore them, is usually a precursor to dishing out today's acceptable form of hate speech: labelling those you disagree with as bigots."—Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas 

Hate speech is free speech | Free speech | spiked: "Speech bans are like poison gas: seems like a good idea when you have your target in sight — but the wind shifts, and blows it back on us...

In our era of identity politics, criticism of a cultural practice can now be interpreted as an instance of ‘hatred’ towards a group. Criticise multi-sex toilets, for example, and you can be accused of hate speech: ‘transphobia’. The focus on bias is important. Since all human beings are biased at some level, hate speech must discriminate between sanctioned bias and prohibited bias; effectively between acceptable hate and unacceptable hate. This is why it is okay to mock Christians but not to ridicule Islam. The prohibition of comments that are considered biased or hateful is an explicit denial of freedom of speech. A tolerant society does not censor speech; it allows its citizens to express their biases and hatred. From the standpoint of an enlightened democracy, the censoring of hate is a far worse evil than the expression of hate. Why? Because it prevents people from judging and evaluating for themselves how to respond to the views — however prejudiced — of their fellow citizens."

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