Liberals Want to See Hate Speech Criminalized
There was a time when to be a liberal, you had to believe in concepts like free speech. In fact, that was one of their primary platforms. Nowadays, it seems that the First Amendment, like the Second, has fallen afoul of the liberal plan for a totalitarian, socialist America. According to a new poll from YouGov, 51% of those respondents who identify as Democrat support creating laws making hate speech illegal.
This really takes the cake. For several years, conservatives have warned that loony left-wingers had hijacked the mainstream Democratic Party. Now, it appears that may not be the case; this kind of craziness extends to the rank-and-file voters as well. Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of this “social justice warrior” phenomenon that is sweeping the Internet, turning formerly-apolitical sites into hotbeds for some of the nuttiest ideas you’ve ever seen in your life.
The idea of punishing people for hate speech is not as uncommon as you might think, even in the West. Several European counties treasure their hate speech laws and think nothing of sentencing individuals to prison for saying the wrong thing. In America, we’ve put the right to free expression above the right to go through life without being offended. We understand that to protect the free trade of ideas that makes this country great, we must also tolerate those who don’t agree with us. Even if we didn’t believe that, we certainly don’t trust the government to determine where the line should be drawn.
Can you imagine a United States where the government gets to throw people in jail for advocating hateful ideas? We already have a government that picks and chooses which groups should be targeted for IRS audits based on their political affiliations. Perhaps the Lois Lerner scandal is just the first step toward seeing certain types of political speech criminalized. Certainly, free speech advocates scratched their heads when Eric Holder sent the Justice Department to investigate a “racist” parade float earlier this year. Since when were offensive floats – even directed at the president – a matter of federal urgency?
This is why I get frustrated when I see otherwise-sensible conservatives calling for the imprisonment of the Pennsylvania teen who used a statue of Jesus for some lewd photographs. While it was a sickening display for anyone who has a sense of decency, the kid didn’t physically destroy the statue. No legitimate crimes were committed. Some of these same conservatives are among the first to cry foul when Muslims protest comics depicting Mohammed. Guys…you can’t have it both ways. Laws against blasphemy are the kind of thing you find in countries like Saudi Arabia. I believe that most conservative libertarians can see that for the dangerous step that it is.
Laws against hate speech stifle free expression and indicate an ideology afraid to stand up against disagreement. No one likes the idea of the KKK, but if you believe in the Constitution, you should be ready to die to protect their right to say whatever they want. Because the next form of “hate speech” the government targets could be yours.