Bring an End to “Hate Speech” Laws

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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01 January 2019 08:17
 

Happy New Year Everyone!

I propose that we all resolve to defend free speech in 2019.

About a year ago in Britain, a petition was sent to parliament asking to create a “Free Speech Act”, to protect people’s right to publicly criticize without risk of committing a “hate crime”. The government responded by denying the petition, and part of their response included this paragraph:

A hate crime is any criminal offence (British spelling), for example assault or malicious communications, which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

UK free speech petition

Wow! How is this not a blasphemy law? It sure sounds like a person could be in trouble in the UK for criticizing a Westboro Baptist or a Wahhabist.

This is the sort of government overreach that we have to stop and reverse. Free speech is our most important liberty. Without it, all of our liberties become vulnerable.

Here’s Pat Condell with his take on the erosion of free speech in the US and the UK:

Condell, anti-american dream

Maybe you don’t like Pat Condell? Who cares. This is about his message.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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01 January 2019 09:43
 

The response also contains this:

It is also worth noting that section 29J of the Public Order Act 1986, for example, states that the offence of inciting religious hatred, does not restrict or prohibit discussions, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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01 January 2019 10:58
 
mapadofu - 01 January 2019 09:43 AM

The response also contains this:

It is also worth noting that section 29J of the Public Order Act 1986, for example, states that the offence of inciting religious hatred, does not restrict or prohibit discussions, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions.

If your point is that the government’s response (and laws), are a bit incoherent, you’ll get no argument from me on that point. But my guess is that that’s not your point?

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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01 January 2019 14:23
 

I guess the narrow point is that it is the government’s position that there is not a blasphemy law, criticizing religion is not illegal.

The broader point is that I generally find myself in agreement with you on many issues, including this case if being predisposed against hate speech (and hate crime) legislation.  For my part, the idea of specifically designating/delineating “protected classes” grates on my sense that equality of all people before the law is critical.  However, I find that when you post on these types of issues, you tend to selectively focus on and promote those aspects of the news event or article that play into your pre-existing fears; so bringing up more of the content of the response seemed like a useful addition.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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01 January 2019 14:30
 
mapadofu - 01 January 2019 02:23 PM

I guess the narrow point is that it is the government’s position that there is not a blasphemy law, criticizing religion is not illegal.

The broader point is that I generally find myself in agreement with you on many issues, including this case if being predisposed against hate speech (and hate crime) legislation.  For my part, the idea of specifically designating/delineating “protected classes” grates on my sense that equality of all people before the law is critical.  However, I find that when you post on these types of issues, you tend to selectively focus on and promote those aspects of the news event or article that play into your pre-existing fears; so bringing up more of the content of the response seemed like a useful addition.

My biggest fear is infringements on free speech. I think even the slightest incursions should be countered.