Why is hate speech protected by the first amendment laws?


I just came across a debate on the internet making people vote on whether or not bullying and extremism should be punished by law or not recently. I was torn between the two sides. On one hand, I think it's wrong for people to get picked on and extremists who hurt others should get arrested. But on the other hand, government over-censorship could possibly lead to a dictatorship. But, I still think that bullying in all forms should be stopped; so which do you guys think is worse?

7 Answers

  • david
    Lv 7
    4 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Hate speech" is too subjective. One person might think that waving the Confederate flag is hate speech because of slavery, while another person might claim the flag is about state's rights, while a third might say "that's ridiculous, we're just doing a Civil War reenactment over here."

    If I point out that blacks graduate from high school at a lower rate than whites, is that hate speech? Or am I just pointing out a true fact that perhaps we need to do something about?

    If I say that marriage is between 2 people and not 3, is that hate speech against polygamists? If I say it should be between a man and a woman, is that hate speech against gays? Many people say the first opinion is fine and the second opinion is hateful. If we make hate speech illegal, who gets to decide which opinion is allowed and which isn't?

    You can outlaw harassment without making hate speech a crime. And remember that bullying is not always in regards to race or sexual orientation or other well-defined groups. It's often a matter of someone who talks funny or doesn't socialize well or who the bully just doesn't like. Hate speech laws wouldn't even help there. And if someone sets off a bomb or something, that's obviously already illegal.

  • Yeti
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Fighting words and words that intentionally or recklessly inflict several emotional distress generally are NOT protected. Words that incite violence are not protected. In those situations, it's usually an individual or small group being addressed.

    When "hate speech" occurs on a broader, public level, it's more a discussion of ideas.

    You might want to distinguish when individuals or small groups are being picked on or bullied, versus broader level "hate speech." We need to err on the side of having broader discussions, wherein people are publicly exposed and held accountable. The smaller targeted situations are different, and more likely to incite violence, to be bullying, etc.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Because everyone's interpretation of hate speech varies randomly. In fact what you refer to as hate speech could be seen as free speech by many others. Hence the 1st amendment!

  • 4 years ago

    What would happen if the things that you believe in fell into disfavor. Then you'd be stuck on the "hate" side. You would either have to abandon you beliefs (just because enough people got together and decided to call it "hate"), or risk getting sent to jail or killed.

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  • xyzzy
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Who gets to define bullying or hate speech for that matter? No one has the right to not be offended

  • Do you think bullying or picking on a child molester to make them stop acting against children should be stopped?

    Would doing that just be expressing your first amendment right?

  • 4 years ago

    Because all speech is.

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