--Moral Statute Machine (Demolition Man)
Peter Klein notes the absurdity of sophistry floated to justify laws proposed to protect people against purported 'hate speech.' The WaPo editorial proposes that the First Amendment was written under the assumption that, in a 'marketplace of ideas,' truth would always triumph. The argument then claims that in modern venues such as the on-line world, truth does not always win. When hate, or negative, speech does rule the day, violence may result. As such, we need hate speech laws to protect against the potential for violence.
The premise is simply wrong. Our founding ancestors wrote the First Amendment to keep government out of the way of discourse, however full throated and vulgar it might be. Hate speech violates no one's rights. The framers understood the 'sticks-and-stones' axiom--negative words do not equal physical aggression.This critique of free speech gets the 18th century context entirely wrong. The 1A was justified not by a utilitarian argument that truth necessarily wins in the marketplace of ideas, but by the idea that false speech does not violate anyone's natural rights. https://t.co/tpE5PGD4CY— Peter G. Klein (@petergklein) October 31, 2019
Violence can only result from negative speech if a choice is made to act on it. It is the act, if taken, that constitutes aggression and upon which good law is built to protect against.
The founders understood that inserting government as an arbiter of what constitutes offensive speech is certain to compromise freedom over time.