If Hate Speech Is Criminalized, We Could Lose All of Our Free Speech

If Hate Speech Is Criminalized, We Could Lose All of Our Free Speech

Even though the government should not censor hate speech, social media platforms should.

72
views

Now more than ever, the public has been debating whether hate speech should be protected under the First Amendment. Thanks to the current political climate, intolerant people have a renewed sense of confidence in announcing their discriminatory thoughts to the world. When activists try to defend themselves and others from those verbal attacks, the prejudiced people defend their statements by saying that they are exercising their right to freedom of speech. As unbelievable as it sounds, they are right. Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, and as much as it pains me to accept it, it is for the best.

In a perfect world, I would love for intolerant ideas to be unacceptable in our society, but unfortunately, this is not our reality. I used to believe that people that are outright racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. should not have their speech protected under the First Amendment because it directly attacks groups of people, but it is tricky to say that hate speech should be banned because not everyone agrees upon what is considered hate speech.

Lee Rowland, the Senior Staff Attorney of the ACLU, explained in her TedX Reno speech,

"But what if we gave the government the power to decide which of those men was too hateful to speak? Look at our current president — he called Charlottesville marchers "very fine people," while reserving his ire for Black NFL players, whom he called "sons of bitches." Your idea of "hate speech" may not be the government's idea of "hate speech." I know mine isn't. But even if you agree with Trump — are you sure our next president will agree with your worldview? You shouldn't be."

I stated in a past article of mine, "All opinions should be given a space to be heard, no matter how unpopular they are." I still agree with that statement but to an extent. Even though I agree with Rowland that hate speech should not be censored by the government, that does not mean that I think that social media platforms should allow hate speech to be posted and shared on their websites. I was inspired to touch on this subject because of Mark Zuckerberg's recent decision to not have Facebook ban Holocaust deniers because it would be taking away their voice. He claimed that even though he finds it deeply offensive as a Jew, he will not have those people banned because he does not think that they are intentionally misinformed. Zuckerberg explained,

"Everyone gets things wrong, and if we were taking down people's accounts when they got a few things wrong, then that would be a hard world for giving people a voice and saying that you care about that."

Facebook will not promote this kind of misinformation, but they will not take those posts down unless they contain harassment or threats of violence. I do not agree with Zuckerberg's stance because allowing Holocaust deniers to still have a platform on Facebook will only help antisemitism thrive. Giving Facebook users access to inaccurate information about the Holocaust can cause people to garner hatred for Jews, which can then transition into threats of violence.

Since Facebook is not a government organization, I do not think they should allow intolerant opinions and misinformation to be posted on their website. Facebook needs to take responsibility for their role in allowing inaccurate information to be spread these past few years and take the appropriate actions to prevent it from continuing to happen.

Even though it frustrates me that I have to deal with seeing hate speech in order to be able to voice my own opinions, at least I know that our current president and future presidents cannot prevent me from fighting for human rights even if they see my stance as "hateful."

Popular Right Now

Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

676
views

Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Government Has Its Place In Any Economy, But At What Limits?

The government does have a place in the economy. But really, what is it?

12
views

There is an age-old argument that the government has no place in American economics. That the market determines an equilibrium price, that consumer pays that price willingly, and firms sell at that price happily. That the government's inefficiencies only serve as a detriment to the market's efficiency.

This argument has some validity. But the reality is that taxation isn't theft. And the government's role in the economy is pretty clear. Should it exist? Yes. Does it exist? Yes. Will abolishing it lead to greater market efficiencies and a better life for all? Hell no.

Property rights are of fundamental importance to market economies such as the United States. To even have a market that determines the equilibrium price, you must have a government. Why? Well, to have a voluntarily barter or exchange, there must be protection of property. Without it, theft would be rampant. Why would I pay someone for bread if I can take the bread? Why would I sell bread if the bread will be stolen rather than exchanged for? This details the need for government. Government arises out of a necessity to protect the rights of people. This protection of property rights creates a market. It allows individuals to own and subsequently trade whatever it is they own.

Some argue that the government's role in the market ends there. Once we have a system of national defense and police, we have no further use of the government.

This is also a flawed perspective. There are failures within the market. There are times where the market cannot achieve efficiency on its own. I could go through a non-exhaustive list of such failures, but that is more work than is necessary. Simply think about a monopoly. Monopolies are a prime example of why the market cannot be effective alone. In a situation like this, the government can create economic policy targeted at improving market efficiency.

There are times when government policy creates market inefficiencies (commonly referred to as government failure). In fact, there are times in which the government itself is inefficient at its own duties. This does not mean that government intervention is not necessary. Nor does it mean that all government intervention is bad. It simply means that those in power are not making optimal decisions. The general concept still stands: there are times where the market needs government intervention to operate efficiently. The failure of one government to effectively handle the market is not evidence against government intervention, it's simply evidence against the instituted policy.

Related Content

Facebook Comments