Freeze Peach 🍑 (USA)


No argument whatsoever huh? Seems to be your go-to reply, “I can’t actually argue against what you’ve said, so I will dismiss you out of hand.”

How about you actually address the concerns over a society accepting and allowing hate speech versus rejecting it and criminalizing it?


I’ve read some more about Hobby Lobby. I find the case and the argument for the case pretty interesting. It’s true it’s not first amendment, rather it’s based on an act that was instituted because the legislature disagreed with the courts and didn’t think they went far enough to protect the right to freedom of religion. So it’s certainly about absolutism on the rights enumerated in the first amendment, though the courts don’t agree that the first amendment goes that far.

I think the $600k security cost to have Spencer speak is an absurd misuse of public funds. And yes, other people with racist beliefs manage to speak without that level of security. Other people with progressive beliefs end up cancelling speeches because they aren’t given that level of security. Somehow it seems like the more prominent the Nazi, the more resources are devoted to ensure they have a platform to speak, and it looks less like equal rights for everyone than it does like favouritism for Nazis. But again, I’ll note this isn’t exactly a first-amendment-as-written, since that was obviously intended to give everyone the same rights, not Richard Spencer special rights.

Canadian law is more about a balance between individual rights and societal good, so you can pass a law that infringes on rights so long as it’s proportionate to the harm being prevented. For example, in the US you can’t offer someone money to kill someone for you because (somehow) that isn’t “speech”, but in Canada you can’t do it because the law that prohibits it reasonably balances your right to express your interest in paying to have someone killed with society’s interest in not having you do that.

So societal expectations have an impact on what is constitutional. That’s why Canada was an early adopter of gay marriage, because the supreme court looked at the list of categories that you couldn’t discriminate on (race, sex, etc) and read in sexual orientation. If society’s view of sexual orientation hadn’t progressed since the 1950s then they wouldn’t have made that determination. So I think free speech absolutism has an effect on Canada to the extent because Canadian judges are people who are affected by ideas from south of the border. I think most of them would agree with many of the basic arguments about why free speech is good or even necessary.

I didn’t really understand this. What I was saying is that if a thing does good, we ought to be able to see that in reality, not just explain it with models.

The thing is I wasn’t asking anyone to prove anything. I was asking people why they believed what they believed beyond philosophical arguments and models. Maybe philosophical arguments are it, and that’s fine. But even then we can look at real evidence. A bunch of laws have been struck down on free speech grounds. I can look at those and say, “These are laws that might still be in place if it were not for freedom of speech law.” That would give me something to work with.

Most people would rather that people who disagree with them just shut up. Or maybe they can take some disagreement, but there are certainly some people who they’d rather shut up. I’d rather Nazis shut up, they’d rather people who aren’t white men shut up. If we picked people at random and made laws based on what those people wanted, we’d have some terrible laws, I completely agree with that.

Similarly people have all kinds of other bad ideas for laws. Laws against drugs, against prostitution, against abortion, against face coverings. The reason I don’t think the [we restrict X => they restrict Y] argument means much is because my observation is that people will sometimes enact terrible laws, and they don’t feel they need permission from some previous person to do so. If a government does come in one day that says you can’t talk about racism, or women can’t speak in public, that will happen because a terrible, oppressive government has been elected, not because some previous government brought in hate speech laws. I don’t think the one paves the way for the other.

Also, I think having a body of case law around a subject tends to make it harder to make new bad laws around that thing. Good laws crowd out bad laws rather than making way for them. If a country A had no laws whatsoever around speech and country B had a hate speech law, then I think it would be easier to bring in oppressive speech laws in A than B. The X=>Y argument suggests that once there is one speech law it’s easier to make another speech law. I think that once there is one speech law the courts will already have fixed ideas about how to weigh whether a speech law has been violated and shifting those ideas will take time.

That being said, America doesn’t lack a body of case law around free speech, it has a huge body of case law around free speech, so I don’t think that a hate speech law would make it less likely that America would have oppressive speech laws in the future, I just don’t think it would make it more likely.


These “concerns” have been addressed and discussed ad nauseum upthread: the First Amendment protects all speech, including the speech you dislike.


So I can go yell fire in a crowded theater then?


No, it really doesn’t.

See ‘Libel’, ‘Obscenity,’ ‘True Threats’, and ‘Criminal Solicitation.’

Your apparent misguided absolutism in this regard is rather disturbing.


And how about copyright. If you want to see people free expression being suppressed, check out all the DMCA takedowns on youtube. People make creative works and then get told, “First Amendment? Sorry, someone else’s right to profit off this is more important.”

America has most of the same restrictions on free speech that other developed nations have. It’s just that in other nations we say, “Well, this is a reasonable balance between personal freedom and society’s interests” and in the US instead it is said, “That’s not ‘speech’.” So in a way, “all speech is protected” is true, but it requires some Orwellian doublethink.





Therein lies the problem for me, personally; I don’t do disingenuous-ass cognitive dissonance.

Unless one wishes to live in anarchy and chaos, there has to be a boundary as to what’s acceptable within a society.

And to me, speech which advocates death, dehumanization and destruction is not acceptable.


Nope, that’s against the law.

Nice try, though!



If we start making legal exceptions for people shouting things irresponsibly in public spaces, where does it end?


Unfortunately in Americanese “speech” doesn’t mean “speaking” or “things you say”. It means “things you say that are protected by the first amendment”, and so the first amendment protects all speech tautologically.

ETA: No offense to any Americans who also find the weird doubletalk definition of “speech” in free speech discussions annoying/stupid. I call it Americanese because it’s American legal tradition, not because it’s the way most Americans talk.


Asked and answered upthread.


Oh, so you’re saying that SOME kinds of speech we’ve decided to ban?


Asked and answered upthread.


that phrase is doing some really heavy lifting lately. if you aren’t careful you might break it.






fuck that shit! i’ve seen racist assholes treating black train staff like shit. that is shit!