Perspective

Fighting Words

It is a measure of the absurdity of our times that it has become necessary to speak seriously of an idea as frivolous and hollow as “hate speech” in a forum like this. Not only are these two little words bandied about freely in conversations, discourses, and writing of all kinds, forming by now an integral part of what is laughingly called the contemporary “culture,” but they have even made inroads into law itself, in the form of “anti-hate” or “anti-hate speech” legislation throughout the West. Even in countries such as the United States where “hate speech” is nominally protected by the law, means are found of circumventing this inconvenience by relying on the intervention of certain “private” third parties, such as the globalists of Silicon Valley. never before has any idea like this one so much as existed, not to speak of its possessing any kind of legal sway; today, it is permitted to govern the actions and laws of human beings throughout the West. This should be taken as one of the clearest indicators of the times in which we live.

Tacit to the very name of “hate speech” is the idea that hatred, either in and of itself or in its consequences, is opprobrious and must be regulated by means of social or political action. Leaving aside the fact that no one has ever demonstrated, nor even attempted to demonstrate, such a curious proposition (what sense in outlawing the passions!), the most salient fact regarding such “hatred” is that several of the most socially detested groups of our time are not only not protected by rules or laws against “hate speech,” but are even deliberately targeted by them.

I am not speaking, of course, of the Blacks, the Jews, the homosexuals, the transexuals, midgets, Arabs, the deaf, the dumb, nor any of these other swarming “minorities,” which are by now so far from being “hated” in most parts of our societies that they are even adulated thereby; I am referring rather to the Alt Right itself—not to mention groups, such as the fascists, which are perhaps even more despised than the Alt Right. For in point of fact, the members of these groups are almost literally the only individuals in the entirety of modern society who risk losing their jobs, being cast out of their social positions, being denied access to vital internet services, being systematically isolated and ostracized, and in some cases being physically attacked, merely on account of what they believe.

An amusing game to pass a spare hour: 1.) eliminate the symbol in this image, and replace the text “Alt-Right” with the minority of your choosing; 2.) hold the result up on a large board in a public place; and 3.) count to five hundred with your eyes closed.

Were the proponents of “hate speech” laws and the like truly interested in stemming “hatred,” they should obviously find nowhere better to begin than by protecting those individuals who most regularly suffer real and visible oppression precisely on account of something like a generalized animus against them; and the silence of our “egalitarians” regarding the treatment which the Alt Right receives is sufficient demonstration that they are in truth merely utilizing the idea of “hate speech” to attain certain unspoken social or political aims. Thus it can safely be asserted that most anyone who supports the idea of “hate speech” legislation in our day is either a hypocrite, a liar, or a gull.

As for us—we take it as a matter of honor not to muddy our mouths with terms that have no right object, and which are moreover constructed deliberately to manipulate and distort the human mind. So far are we from believing in the existence of this “hate speech,” that we even suppose it from the start to be but a goblin’s veil; we seek the true contours of the visage beneath this filigree of breezy words.

But to get to the ugliness within, let us first look at the arguments which are commonly adduced in support of the regulation of this chimerical beast called “hate speech.”

The Given Justifications for Hate Speech Regulation

I

In the last analysis, the suppression of “hate speech” can be justified on only one of three premises: either because such speech reveals hatred within a soul, or because it causes some kind of physical or emotional distress in those against whom it is directed, or because it incites toward violent acts.

The first of these arguments depends on the premise that hatred is simply deplorable—which, to say it again, is anything but evident. To the contrary, it would seem, without entertaining the question very deeply here, that certain kinds of hatred (e.g. hatred of depravity, hatred of injustice, hatred of one’s enemy in war, hatred of what threatens the commonweal) might even be quite desirable from a social standpoint.

But beyond this, an immediate problem arises: There is no strict connection between emotion and utterance. A man might speak the very words “I love you” with the keenest hatred buried in his heart. In some cases, of course, a connection between feeling and act might be more or less manifest, as when a man screams “I hate you” while beating another. (Though even here, one might discover that the attacker was merely in the grips of some acute but purely temporary affect, which later calmed and dispersed.) But these clear-cut cases are obviously rare, and have nothing to do whatever with the majority of those who are accused of, or persecuted for, “hate speech.”[1]

A commonplace example—commonplace, at least, among our circles: Supposing a man observes that Blacks in the United States, according to various readily available statistics, are considerably more prone to crime than Whites. Is he stating this fact in a spirit of impartiality? Or is he concealing a boiling, irrational detestation for Black people beneath a veneer of scientific respectability? Accusations of the latter kind are thrown against us with marvelous facility. There are some people who evidently believe that every last race realist among us is in fact a secret despiser of “minority groups” (though it is difficult to imagine why anyone should feel spontaneous hatred toward “minority groups” as such, particularly since these are simultaneously supposed to be “disempowed” and “underpriveleged”).

Even if we accept the premise, however, that there really are men, perhaps a large number, who do conceal some kind of malice against “minority groups,” it is evident that the laws against hate speech cannot be justified as a means toward rectifying their “hatred” (which, being irrational, cannot be altered). In the end, one wishes, not to mitigate the hatred itself, so much as to stem its consequences.

II

This brings us to the second and third justifications one might give for anti-hate speech laws or regulations. To begin with the second, it is sometimes asserted that hate speech, in causing “emotional stress” of various kinds in those against whom it is directed, leads as well to real physiological problems, and thus itself forms a literal kind of physical violence. This is the root of all these concepts like “safe space” and “microaggression” which plague the already tormented American universities.

Had I only known all of this sooner, I might have said a few things more loudly.

Quite beyond the fact that such thinking is ignoble in the highest degree, and reveals the contemptible pusilanimity of our contemporary world, it is also simple insoluble as a “problem.” For if it is true that stress leads to illness, and thus that that which aggravates stress, if it be the product of willful action, must be considered an act of violence, then is it not obviously the case that the imposition of laws or rules which reduce a man to a state of constant terror regarding what he can or cannot say fall neatly under the same category? When the mere utterance of certain words (which moreover change with galling regularity) might lead to a man’s unemployment, his social ostracization, his being banned from social networks, or in certain countries, his being fined or imprisoned, does this not count as an enormous and continual strain on his mind? How could this not qualify a hundred times over as the same kind of “stress” which these soft-bellied weaklings claim is driving up their medical bills? And if then any attempt to eliminate stress of this kind only causes an even greater quantity of the same, is it not clear we are dealing with something inherent to the fabric of life itself, so that attempts at its removal will do nothing but render the cloth more threadbare?

III

This leaves us the final argument in favor of the idea of “hate speech,” which proves to be the only legitimate justification possible: namely, that hate speech incites men to violent acts, and so must be staunched in order to preserve the public order and to preemptively safeguard the rights of human beings against transgression on the part of various “bigots.”[2]

We are to believe, it would seem, that there are presently a great many individuals throughout the countries of the West who are filled with an inexplicable or at the least totally unjustifiable hatred for various “minority groups,” and who are merely awaiting an excuse to lose control and to go about openly discriminating against, or even beating or robbing or murdering, people of certain skin colors or ethnic extractions or sexual orientations. Any kind of public pronouncement which offers their prejudices the slightest provocation acts as a lever upon those teetering feelings: hate speech is an aggravant to hatred itself, which in turn risks exploding into violence.

Hate speech must therefore be censored. On the small scale, such legislation protects the lives and well-being of any number of individuals; on the grand scale, it might obstruct entire countries from plumetting into the trap of racial hatred, which could even cause these countries to spiral down into the dark abyss of “nationalism,” leading to “discrimination” and “systemic racism,” or, in extreme cases, to concentration camps, exterminations, genocides, etc. etc.[3]

Here are the premises of this argument laid bare: a.) the “hatred” which White nationalists, for example, are supposed to feel toward various “minority groups” is deeply rooted and utterly irrational; b.) this hatred is forced into concealment by the mores of our liberal democratic order, but it is ever merely awaiting an opportunity to break free and emerge; c.) this hatred therefore represents a kind of latent violence, which might become active at any given moment, if only the right spark is laid to this kindling; d.) the merest utterance which even remotely seems to justify this hatred could conflagrate this mass within the souls of predominately White males, and therefore e.) all such must be discouraged, to avoid the explosion of so much combustible material.

It is evident that “hate speech” therefore works as a kind of magical speech; its words are the words of a spell or incantation, which have the power of summoning uncontrollable demons in the souls of human beings, causing them to act in unpredictable and inexplicable ways. These magical words must be shrouded under the protective veils of taboo, so that their dark power cannot overthrow the human soul.

A prime candidate to become one of the new judges of hate speech.

It is not irrelevant to note here that this logic is utterly incompatible with the necessary premise of democratic thinking, i.e., that most human beings are on the whole basically rational and educable; and since those who promote “hate speech” legislation are often enough the most outspoken advocates of democracy as well, one wonders whether it is their consistency or their candor which has abandoned them. Be that as it may, it is equally clear that the conclusions we have outlined above emerge from what I have termed elsewhere the logic of the tribe, and—to say it again—this kind of logic is fundamentally incompatible with the Western vision of human life and human societies. We ignore the existence of this logic to our peril; we adopt it to our self-betrayal. We must relearn the art, promoted by our original Western justice itself, of treating each human being, and indeed each human group, according to the qualities and defects inherent to such, rather than proposing to subject every single human being to the canon of one identical, universal, almost Kantian morality.

Now, it is evident that we have exposed here only a fraction of the intention behind the suppression of “hate speech.” Indeed, there are, broadly speaking, three categories of those who support the idea of “hate speech” legislation or of “soft censorship,” of the kind represented by the recent actions taken by Facebook, Twitter, &co. The first of these groups, which is largely comprised of “minorities” of the Southern variety, broadly adheres to the logic of the tribe; the second of these groups, largely made up of well-meaning but basically unconscious White people, generally believes the world would be a better place if everyone could just get along; and the third of these groups, formed predominately of technocrats, globalists, and Jews various, understands that the notion it is peddling is essentially without any substance whatsoever, but uses it for the great emotional power it clearly exerts on countless individuals amongst the previous two groups.

The True Meaning of Hate Speech

The members of the last group which we have mentioned are the most influential purveyors of the concept of “hate speech” in our day, and it is to them we must finally turn our attention. These individuals use the concept of “hate speech” either to promote certain distinct ethnic interests, or else to serve their cloaked economic and political aims.

Now, it is worth noting that, despite all attempts to clearly define “hate speech” (efforts either on the part of political or pseudo-political organizations, or private corporations like Facebook), the concept remains essentially elusive and fundamentally interpretable, not in extreme cases (which is normal enough for legal precedents) but in the common cases to which it is supposed to apply day by day. An example: if I happen to observe out loud that Jews and Jewish interests have a disproportionate influence in American politics, or that Muslims tend to favor the word of Allah over the laws of the West and are therefore tempted in many cases to live and act illegally in European societies, not one of these definitions can show unambiguously whether these statements of mine are or are not hate speech.[4]

This absence of any clear and universally applicable definition for this concept, which would seem to be a liability from the point of view of positive law, is in fact a great boon to certain individuals, who can essentially fill this hollow vessel with the beverage of their choosing—one which they brew decade by decade, year by year, sometimes even month by month. The word itself is wielded in a way parallel to certain terms under the Soviet regime (e.g. “reactionary” or “decadent” or “antisocial”): it is meant to silence dissidence, not at all by establishing clear standards regarding what can and cannot be said, but rather by establishing an essentially ambiguous prohibition whose very lack of clarity permits its labile use by those in power. I should not be surprised if it had been some communist or ex-communist to work this abomination up in the first place: the idea of “hate speech” is a soft-totalitarian dictator’s dream. It is a concept which has obvious power over the souls of the majority of human beings while simultaneously signifying practically nothing at all, so that it can be manipulated at will to disenfranchise, discredit, or thwart the political opponents of the moment—or, better still, to obviate their arising in the first place.

For indeed, “hate speech” is today held over the heads of the people in order to force them into a constant state of doubt and anxiety about what they might and might not say; to work worry into the fabric of their days, so that they are never at their ease, but must always be fretting impotently over what authority, or what informant, might be peeking over their shoulders; to render them docile, amenable to the abuse of power, and impotent. At the same time, it is a political weapon which can be turned at will against whomever one desires (for, given only a little imagination, what man alive cannot be indicted with “hatred”?) in order to promote their undoing and their alienation.

It represents, that is to say, nothing other than a devastatingly effective form of civic terrorism.

The Question of Hatred

A final point. The very idea of hate speech, or hate crime more generally, contains (as every single one of these modern verbal confabulations) a malicious insinuation: it implies that those who speak about certain issues, no matter what they say or how they say it, are in fact actuated most fundamentally by hatred. They are negative beings, who define themselves merely by their anger, resentment, rage, or loathing against some group or other. They are destroyers, not builders, and they turn their destructive urges arbitrarily against individuals who have done absolutely nothing to them. The short-hand for all this is “irrational hatred.”

“Irrational hatred” is widely understood as meaning hatred that has no justification whatsoever, a passion that arises in the absence of all reasons. But no man, save perhaps some literal idiot or madman here or there, hates “without reason.” He may hate for good reasons or he may hate for bad reasons, but one can always ask why he hates: and the reasons, whatever they might be, justifiable or unjustifiable as you please, point us back to a probable prior desire to conserve, to defend, to protect, to cherish something, which the person in question sees as being threatened by the groups which he “hates.”

The accusation of “hatred” is thus a rhetorical ploy of the first order. It draws all attention away from what is it we “haters” truly care about (the future of our people, our civilization, our culture) and affixes it firmly instead on precisely those groups or individuals which we believe are threatening what we would preserve, recasting them simultaneously into the roles of victims. It at once demeans us by debasing our motives, and ennobles them by making them seem mere bystanders to an irrational psychological process which they have done nothing to instigate. We appear feeble and resentful; they, powerful and innocent: and the focus of all future conversation becomes this dynamic, which is a perfect invention, and which in many cases represents the precise mirror image of reality. And finally, we are tacitly forced to defend, not our arguments, but our mental health.

To the devil then with this idea. In those countries that have already adopted laws against “hate speech,” let us learn the art of the fox: how to play this bad game by speaking with irony in the classical sense. And wherever possible, let us instead practice the art of the lion, and tear this game to shreds from the start. When this concept rears its false face, suffice it to insist upon those positive points of reference which we seek to preserve or to regain: the greatness of the West; the beauty of its art and architecture, its music and literature; the once and future glory of its peoples; the order and law of our societies which we would preserve for the boon of our children; and an idea of man which transcends this mediocre consumer and hoarder, this packrat in human form, who forms the present goal of our democratic states. The noble, the high-hearted, the audacious, the wise, the strong, the beautiful, the virtuous, as well as the deeds and works that these high qualities summon into this world—that is what we aim for, and our “hate speech” is nothing but the long shadow cast by that ideal.

Fo as always, our enemies, to get the better of us, must turn the truth quite literally on its head: so far are we from being motivated principally by hate, it is principally love which drives us.

 

Notes

1. The proponent of hate speech laws might point out here that it is part and parcel of current legal precedent to acknowledge the importance of motive in various crimes, so that the introduction of a “hatred” as a motive is not so problematic as it might seem. Courts across the West already commonly differentiate between a murder of passion and a murder committed, as we say, in “cold blood,” and propose greater penalties for the latter case than for the former. Yet the notion of a “hate crime” (of which “hate speech” is only a subcategory) actually confounds existing legal precedent, for the following reason: hatred is by every possible definition a passion, so it follows that if hatred is in itself to be more aggressively punished than other human motivations, the crime of passion in many cases must receive a harsher penalty than a premeditated first-degree murder. This is not credible in the absence of valid arguments supporting the contention that hatred a more heinous or reprehensible or dangerous passion than the other passions that might lead to the same kinds of crimes (avarice, fear, lust, etc.). And thus one is brought back to the necessity of grounding the hatred of hatred in some solider argument, which returns us naturally to the three justifications behind the notion of “hate speech” which we consider here.

2. It should be noted that in a general sense laws of this kind (namely, laws which seek to secure the public peace) exist throughout the world in every regime which rules now or has ever ruled. Even in the United States, which likes to present itself as being an unqualified defender of freedom of speech, “fighting words,” meaning words which provoke immediate violence, have been excepted from the First Amendment since a court ruling of 1942. The existence of such exceptions—which are evidently inevitable—as well as their shockingly rapid expansion in recent decades, demonstrates once again that the democratic order is not necessarily more of a friend of freedom of speech than any other regime. Democracies, precisely as the most closed and hardened despotisms, have certain ideological underpinnings and state interests that they will preserve at all costs, and against which they will permit critique only insofar as there is no hope at all that these critiques might come to practical fruition.

Fighting words are prohibited for their direct connection to violence, just as “hate speech” seems to imply as well some reprehensible aspect of the soul in which a destructive urge is rooted. In the case of disenfranchised persons, their love and hate might unite in one and the same object, and such persons, desiring what they cannot have, might come to loathe the good things that lie beyond their grasp, and to wish their destruction. This is the hatred of envy, called by Nietzsche ressentiment, but today it is inverted in order to explain variously the hatred of Jews (for their status, wealth, and intelligence), of Blacks (for their physical and sexual prowess), and of any other group you please for parallel reasons. Psychoanalysis is a great aid in this kind of false ascription of imaginary motives. To the degree critiques of this kind are warranted, it is clear that the hatred of envy must be sternly opposed by returning the individuals affected back to positive points of reference, which might permit them to supercede the very real dangers inherent in ressentiment.

3. Anyone who believes that fears of this kind do not really exist in our contemporary world, or that we have left them behind us with the close of the World Wars, would do well to remember the American scene in the wake of the last presidential election: for this kind of terror ran practically rampant after the victory of Donald Trump. All the liberals and ethnic minorities throughout the United States transformed in the arc of a mere evening from sunny-dispositioned, bright-eyed egalitarians, into caricatures of the persecuted and downtrodden. They began slinking about under the perennial shadow of apprehension, throwing suspicious glances toward unlit corners and shaded shruberies, evidently convinced that a Klansman was waiting in every bush, ready to burst out screaming slurs and doffing burkas. It is immaterial that these fears were almost utterly baseless, or that in any number of cases these poor “minorities” actually received so little attention from the “racists” that they even had to fabricate their own persecution by engineering the very “hate crimes” of which they were to become the ostensible victims. All this aside, it is the tendency itself which is most revelatory. It is the belief that “hate speech,” however one defines it, leads directly to “hate crime,” whatever that might be.

4. To take only the most effective of the laws against “hate speech” (effective because it was adopted by the United Nations in 1966, as a stipulation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), the following stands at present as the reigning legal precedent in what is termed (to this day!) “international law”:

Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Laws against incitement to violence are universal to human governments; what is noteworthy here rather is the prohibition to “incitement to discrimination.” The problem is what precisely counts as “incitement,” and more vexing yet, what counts as “discrimination.” The simple observation, which is founded solidly on scientific studies into the question, that Third World immigrants to Europe generally have IQs far inferior to those of the average members of European societies, is nothing but a statement of fact. However, this mere statement of fact carries implications so obvious that even the aforementioned immigrants might be able to infer them: namely, that something must be done to avert the “migrant crisis” so as to preserve the right functioning of European societies. But this represents, according to a certain all-too-common logic, nothing but discrimination against a racial group. Thus, the original statement, devoid of any political reference whatsoever, might well in and of itself be prohibited by “international law.”

The UN’s so-called “Human Rights Commission,” in reviewing the Faurisson v. France case, submitted a number of fascinating remarks which showcase precisely the problem of which I speak:

[T]here may be circumstances in which the right of a person to be free from incitement to discrimination on grounds of race, religion or national origins cannot be fully protected by a narrow, explicit law on incitement that falls precisely within the boundaries of article 20, paragraph 2. This is the case where … statements that do not meet the strict legal criteria of incitement can be shown to constitute part of a pattern of incitement against a given racial, religious or national group, or where those interested in spreading hostility and hatred adopt sophisticated forms of speech that are not punishable under the law against racial incitement, even though their effect may be as pernicious as explicit incitement, if not more so.

This is nothing if not an invitation to juridical abuse of a concept that was built to aid and abet such abuses precisely.

John Bruce Leonard
John Bruce Leonard, Editor-in-Chief of Arktos, studied philosophy, letters, and languages in a university curriculum based exclusively on the great books of the Western Tradition. After taking his degree in Liberal Arts he moved permanently to Italy, where he nourishes his ever-living preoccupation with the heritage and the future of Europe.

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Sean
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Sean

This is a beautiful, true, and well-written article. But it won’t improve anything.

I think the time for breaking out the guns and killing the bastards is almost here.

The time for talk is… You complete the sentence.

Gothic Joe
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Gothic Joe

“time for breaking out the guns and killing the bastards”

Keyboard warriors like saying dumb things like this. Fantasizing about murdering undesirables is like self-help therapy for you guys.

Sad!

Charley
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Charley

“hate speech” – anytime you disagree with jews …

Matar Judios
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Matar Judios

I’ve heard that in Japan it has become popular among the youngsters instead of handshaking to greet with the half-Hitler salute for hygienic reasons. It would be great if we adopted it too. It is not as explicit and cumbersome as the full-Hitler salute (the Roman salute) but still odd enough to make people think and the you know who 😉 to go berserks…

Hipster Racist
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It’s projection. “Hate” is a Jewish value: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/02/the-virtue-of-hate

“Hate can be virtuous” … “Jews hate the wicked because they believe that God despises the wicked as well.”

When Westboro Baptist Church says “God hates the wicked” people go into conniptions, but when a respected Jew like Meir Soloveichik says that “Jews hate” we witness some hang-wringing about the “Holocaust.”

Jews in Israel shoot Palestinian children and high five each other then Jews in America whine when people notice. Harvey Weintein talks about “fucking the anti-semities” and using “mafia tactics.”

Jew-ism *is* hate, semitism *is* hate. If you aren’t anti-semitic, you’re anti-human.

Gothic Joe
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Gothic Joe

“When Westboro Baptist Church says “God hates the wicked” people go into conniptions”

That’s not why people hate the Westboro’s, you clown.

Nephets Retsof
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A superb analysis of what is the greatest threat to the remnants of traditional America. See:
http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/05/in-defense-of-hatred-right-kind.html

Albino
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Albino

The difference between us and them is that we take all the hate and disdain with big rejoice. Being in the AR is like being in a contest of anti popularity, and it rocks!

Gothic Joe
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Gothic Joe

This is a very well written article. It should be noted though that what constituted “fighting words” used to include a far greater amount of words and sayings than it does now. Any man calling another man’s wife, mother, or sister a prostitute (or even inferring that she dressed or acted like one) could expect a good clocking to the jaw – if he was lucky. A man calling another man a coward could expect the same. To refuse to answer insult with force was seen as a sign of weakness. Today we insult each other in most derogatory way… Read more »

Gothic Joe
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Gothic Joe

*Today we insult each other in the most derogatory way possible like it’s a game.

Matar Judios
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Matar Judios

The absurdity of the “insulting” business is that words like n*gger, y*d and k*ke, etymologically have no offensive meaning. Neither “frogs” for Frenchmen, “krauts” for Germans, “wops” for Italians. “Frogs” doesn’t mean that Frenchmen are like frogs, it is a short for “frog-eaters” which is factually correct. It is like calling Americans “hot-dog eaters”. Absurd!

Spraguer
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Spraguer

“Fighting words” can mean anything. This term has always meant different things to different people. “Fighting words” in the context of the law are another matter altogether. Indeed, this is a term of art in the context of constitutional law. The “fighting words” exception is extremely narrow (if it even exists at all). Moreover, the precedent that made “fighting words” an exception to the First Amendment, Chaplinsky, is probably not even good law today. It has never been explicitly overruled, but keep that in the back of your mind. There is much doubt amongst constitutional scholars whether the doctrine would… Read more »

Gothic Joe
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Gothic Joe

There certainly is hateful speech, but it should not be regulated by the government. Free speech absolutism is a noble (and pragmatic) position. The one exception would be calls to murder.