Hate speech laws: Good or bad?
Good
14.3% (2)
14.3% (2)
Bad
78.6% (11)
78.6% (11)
other
7.1% (1)
7.1% (1)
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Poll: Hate speech laws: Good or bad?

NOTE: READ FIRST BEFORE COMMENTING!!!!

I found this really great site that basically takes different topics and then presents all of the arguments for and against both sides side by side. And one of the topics is about hate speech:

http://debatepedia.idebate.org/en/index.php/Debate:_Hate_crime_laws

It basically makes a bunch of questions about hate speech laws and then presents the arguments for and against them side by side to be compared.

What are your thoughts on the various questions and the anti/pro stances? Which do you support and what are your arguments?

The questions listed are:

1.Punishment: Do hate crimes deserve a higher level of punishment?

2.Free speech: Do hate crime laws conform with principles of free speech?

3.Fairness: Are hate crime laws fair and judicially sound?

4.Social attitudes: Can hate crime laws change social attitudes?

5.Practicality: Are hate crime laws practical, cost-effective?

6.International law: Does international law support hate crime laws?

The link I gave above already has arguments for both sides as you can see (if you haven't checked it out I suggest you do so know).

What are your thoughts on those questions?
Being a strong hater (see what I did there?) of hate speech laws I don't like them, and my own reasons are as fallows:

1. No, because hate speech should not be illegal in the first place.

2. Yes, free speech is the right to say anything you want so long as you aren't harming people. Merely offending someone is not a crime, and neither should it be.

3. No, because it allows the government to throw people into jail for their opinions. Stupid people have the right to have their opinions like everybody else.

4. Yes, to the worse. It creates the notion that people should not be allowed to say things that the majority believes is bad.

5. No, haters are going to hate. Threating to throw them into jail will not change this, and may in fact backfire horribly by giving haters ammo against the government and hate speech law supporters. Without hate speech laws they are just some losers, but with hate speech laws they become oppressed losers. Why create victims out of the people you are trying to stop thus giving them more power?

6. No, there are lots of countries where hate speech is not illegal. Hate speech laws are not a universally loved concept.

Ok, I made my points. Now what are you points? And what is your opinion on the points already provided on that site I linked to?

Discuss.

What jurisdiction's hate speech laws?

I would argue that hate crime should be handled differently than other crimes, but the punishment in the end should be the same.

Secondly, free speech isn't absolute. Any number of nations have laws concerning libel and slander, isn't hate speech more or less just libel/slander aimed at a group?

It depends totally on what form they take and how they are enforced. Free speech should go pretty far, but it doesn't mean it's a license to say just anything. For instance falsely accusing someone of a crime publicly is slander, and that's a good thing. Holocaust denial has also been ruled a criminal offense, and I support that idea too, because the denial of the Holocaust has nothing to do with serious opinions, but the sole purpose is to offend people and rewrite history.

It remains a constant field of tension though. There have been a few shamefull lawsuits where ethnic minorities who were refused special treatment sued, claiming racism was being expressed. For instance the political trial against politician Geert Wilders. I disagree strongly with just about every word he says, but dragging him into court over it was a shamefull attempt at silencing political opponents. Unsurprising, an alliance of anti-white racists and radical left wingers was behind it.
Fortunately the case was dismissed rather quickly, but still it's a problem that the racists behind the case aren't held responsible for all legal costs, meaning they can silence people simply because taking them to court (often using tax money) would be prohibitively expensive for the defendant.

As for general hate crime laws, I support them in principle, but in the Netherlands the mechanism is broken. Basically the only way you're ever going to get convicted for something as a hatecrime, is to be white, and attack a Muslim or black person. Blatant racist attacks by ethnic minorities, for instance assault while shouting racist insults, is never treated as a hatecrime. Also the chances of aprehension seem to vary based on the perpetrator's background. A Moroccan family being bullied because their two agressive criminal sons terrorise the neighbourhood became top priority, and some 30 cases where gangs of Moroccans bullied homosexual couples and whites were never assigned any priority, and nobody has ever been convicted.
There is quite simply no equality before the law in this country, so the hatecrime marker is quite pointless.

Then again, that's a problem of legal matters, and not of the principle that a hatecrime motive marker and corresponding heavier punishments exists.


So basically I support the existance of such laws in general, but it varies greatly on the shape, aim and enforcement whether or not they are actually justified.

General hate speech should not be illegal as what is and is not hate speech is subjective among other reasons. Now calling for violence against a group or individual is and should be illegal.

Your poll was difficult to answer because it didn't line up with your actual post/questions, so I just went with other. Interesting questions btw..

1.Punishment: Do hate crimes deserve a higher level of punishment?

I don't believe in something called "hate crimes". I do however believe that it is fair to consider all reasonable aggravating and explanatory circumstances in sentencing.

For example, using the phrase "kyke" while beating up a Jewish guy isn't an "aggravating factor" in the attack, it was just non verbal punch. If on the other hand a group of guys went out looking for a Jew to beat up, found one, and beat him up, I think THAT deserves a longer sentence as away to discourage that type of attack on identifiable groups.

2.Free speech: Do hate crime laws conform with principles of free speech?

Once again I have a problem with the term. I don't think sentencing adjustments like I've outlined above are a problem.

I do however think charging people with a crime because they were saying nasty things is wrong. Mostly it just encourages them. Now once they incite violence, that's already a crime so there is no need to attach a special crime just for hate related ones.

3.Fairness: Are hate crime laws fair and judicially sound?

Depends which ones you are talking about. See above.

4.Social attitudes: Can hate crime laws change social attitudes?

I believe they can make the problem worse. The best publicity the most well known Nazi in Canada ever got was when they charged him with hate crimes. It just fueled the "the Jews are in charge, I'm a victim" mentality.

5.Practicality: Are hate crime laws practical, cost-effective?

In sentencing, yes. Other forms, generally no, its just a political show.

6.International law: Does international law support hate crime laws?

Quite clearly yes. It not only supports them, it defines them to a great extent, often more strictly than exist in most countries.

You realize you started a debate on hate speech laws then linked to a debate on hate crime laws.

They're related but not the same.

Anyway assuming by hate speech you do not mean calls to violence then I don't think hate speech should be illegal. Free speech and all that. You should be able to say "group X stinks" as harshly as you want, whether group X is the Vatican, homosexuals, blacks, whatever (just as long as it doesn't become slander and remains opinion).

I would consider hate speech should encompass:

1) Incitement of criminal activity and/or discrimination against a group.
2) Excessive intimidation or antagonism against a group.

I find it odd that there haven't been more replies.

Is it because of the "read first then comment" note at the top of the OP?

Seekster:
General hate speech should not be illegal as what is and is not hate speech is subjective among other reasons. Now calling for violence against a group or individual is and should be illegal.

The exact wording escapes me, but riling people up and encouraging violence is illegal, and not because of hate speech laws.

OT: Its bad.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Seekster:
General hate speech should not be illegal as what is and is not hate speech is subjective among other reasons. Now calling for violence against a group or individual is and should be illegal.

The exact wording escapes me, but riling people up and encouraging violence is illegal, and not because of hate speech laws.

OT: Its bad.

Clear and present danger, yes I know.

If by hate speech laws we are talking about things like putting people in jail or fining them for denying the holocaust or the Armenian Genocide, I am very much opposed to those sorts of things. While denying either is a despicable thing I think it sets a horrible precedent for government to make it illegal to express certain points of view, even if those points of view are provably wrong or hateful.

I think you should never be able to punish somebody for how they think or feel, only how they act. Punishing hate speech is a bit too close to thought police for my liking. Besides, stupid people can't help being stupid.

 

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