Free speech, as noted elsewhere, comes down to a definition of terms:
“For a free people used to the protections of the 1st Amendment, free speech means that the government can’t punish you for expressing your opinion. In this brave new world, however, free speech means that the government won’t punish you for expressing an opinion it hasn’t prohibited.”
Still some try to justify censorship even under the former definition by declaring “hate speech” to be literal violence, while the potential of literal violence in enforcing this censorship is an enshrinement of free speech!
A fisking of one such attempt:
“Freedom in a free society is supposed to be for all. Therefore, freedom rules out imposing on the freedom of others. You are free to walk down the street, but not to keep others from doing so.
“The imposition on the freedom of others can come in overt, immediate physical form — thugs coming to attack with weapons. Violence may be a kind of expression, but it certainly is not ‘free speech.'”
True enough so far. A presentation of a clear and present danger is not an act of any legitimate right.
“Like violence, hate speech can also be a physical imposition on the freedom of others. That is because language has a psychological effect imposed physically — on the neural system, with long-term crippling effects.”
So, “hate speech” is like some Bene Gesserit use of “the Voice” or a Jedi mind trick?
“All thought is carried out by neural circuitry — it does not float in air. Language neurally activates thought. Language can thus change brains, both for the better and the worse. Hate speech changes the brains of those hated for the worse, creating toxic stress, fear and distrust — all physical, all in one’s neural circuitry active every day. This internal harm can be even more severe than an attack with a fist. It imposes on the freedom to think and therefore act free of fear, threats, and distrust. It imposes on one’s ability to think and act like a fully free citizen for a long time.”
By that logic, any speech that might create discomfort is physical violence, or even which might lead people to think bad things and even do them. Thus, a scary movie that frightens someone is violence. Worry that one’s own speech will be deemed “hate speech” and thus censored would itself be violence. Telling a child that Santa Clause isn’t real is a form of physical violence. Telling the objective biological truth about humans being a sexually dimorphic species is physical violence. Heck, any speech that creates badthink becomes doubleplusungood.
“That’s why hate speech imposes on the freedom of those targeted by the hate. Since being free in a free society requires not imposing on the freedom of others, hate speech does not fall under the category of free speech.”
This is where that logic lays: Hate speech is to physical violence, as censorship is to protection from violence. This, of course, assumes that it is the other person who is initiating violence, and that censorship is only ever preemptively defensive (which is not, generally, actual self-defense).
This is the same logic, more broadly, of the Left, where “Whiteness”, “cis-heteronormativity”, “toxic masuclinity”, &c. are, no matter how innocuous, deemed to be aggressive violence, thus justifying any countering force, even if that “countering” force is the initiating force.
“Hate speech can also change the brains of those with mild prejudice, moving it towards hate and threatening action. When hate is physically in your brain, then you think hate and feel hate, you are moved to act to carry out what you physically, in your neural system, think and feel.
“That is why hate speech in not ‘mere’ speech. And since it imposes on the freedom of others, it is not an instance of freedom.”
Except we are all, the insane aside, living beings with will and freedom of choice. Anything and everything we come in contact with can and will affect us, just as we each can and will affect others, to one degree or another.
Thus, we can see the authors definition of “free speech” boils down to “that which provides or maintains goodthink“, while “hate speech” boils down to “that which creates badthink.”
But then, who, in their institutional power and privilege decides what is good and allowable, and what is bad and prohibited?
“The long–term, often crippling physical effects of hate speech on the neural systems of those hated does not have status in law, since our neural systems do not have status in our legal system — at least not yet. This is a gap between the law and the truth.”
It is not part of our legal system because it is not only vague and nebulous, but would allow those in positions of institutional privilege and institutional power to preemptively push their physical violence, both literally and verbally, on those they wish to warp and mould.