Sunday, February 22, 2009

Should hate speech be outlawed? Inspired by a headline seen elsewhere

My thoughts on this are as follows: having someone come up to you and shout a derogatory term in your face, or post something in your personal space that demeans a certain aspect of you, should have a penalty because it's direct harassment and intimidation. Writing, or cartoons for the matter, or speeches, or demonstrations, or art, should be exempt from the idea of hate speech because it doesn't directly target any one individual and only targets broad groups. The Obama cartoon, by the way, should be considered hate speech because it turns someone specifically Obama into a monkey and then shoots him. But the denial of Fred Phelps, the extreme anti-gay pastor, into England because of his views is in my mind not justified. It would maybe be justified if someone could prove that he was coming to England to get people to attack others, but if he's just showing up to be obnoxious and to continue his "God Hates Fags" routine I don't see any particular reason why that should not be all right. England seems to be sliding down a slope to increased authoritarianism with regard to people's viewpoints, and in this case I'd be afraid that sooner or later these tactics are going to be turned on the Left itself.

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