Supreme Court unanimously reaffirms: There is no ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment
by Eugene Volokh
From today’s opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (for four justices) in Matal v. Tam, the “Slants” case:
[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote separately, also for four justices, but on this point the opinions agreed:
A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination,” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.
Yes. You read that right. This was a unanimous decision, 8 to 0 (Neil Gorsuch was not on the court when the case was argued). The US Supreme Court incontrovertibly and undeniably upheld our right to free speech. Even the Leftists.
How sad to think that I would — even for one moment — be concerned about this case, as clear to me as it appeared.
And the justices made clear that speech that some view as racially offensive is protected not just against outright prohibition but also against lesser restrictions. In Matal, the government refused to register “The Slants” as a band’s trademark, on the ground that the name might be seen as demeaning to Asian Americans. The government wasn’t trying to forbid the band from using the mark; it was just denying it certain protections that trademarks get against unauthorized use by third parties. But even in this sort of program, the court held, viewpoint discrimination — including against allegedly racially offensive viewpoints — is unconstitutional. And this no-viewpoint-discrimination principle has long been seen as applying to exclusion of speakers from universities, denial of tax exemptions to nonprofits, and much more.
In other words, speech that simply makes you “uncomfortable” and prompts you to head for your “safe space” is still protected speech in these United States of America, no matter what anyone happens to say or think on US college campuses.
I wonder, however, what would happen if I were to attempt to register “The Crackas” as my band’s trademark when it consisted of all Caucasoids?
Oh yes. This: not one fuck given or one shit proffered.
GOWPs. Guilty Overeducated White People.
Even Noam Chomsky believes in free speech, and on campuses.
My final comment: were you aware that the United States of America is one of the very, very few Western Civilization countries left that does not have a “hate speech” law guaranteeing prosecution of that vastly nebulous phrase?
Killed by Leftists, Demorats, Progressives, anarchists and, of all people, aided and abetted by the American Media Maggots.
Whose speech and freedoms will likewise be suppressed.
This used to be true. Is it now?
And even some Republicans who lack actual testosterone or estrogen.
Wait. I take that back. Too many Republicans operate on estrogen though they appear as males.
Stop. Perfect time for this video.
So why the big concern over freedom of speech? Because of past, recent and continuing incidents involving the lack of it on American college campuses. This video summarizes appropriately.
That was the view of a college professor, who accurately reflects the views on way too many American college and university campuses today. Most of these are, of course, funded by American Taxpayer cash.
Your First Amendment freedoms are at stake.
Further, your overall American freedoms are also at stake which, of course, is what makes this nation more exceptional than most any other.
What other nation has this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Leftists and Demorats will tell you our nation is evil on its face and is everything but exceptional.
But where do Leftists or Demorats actually mention freedom? Where is it that they wish to add to your freedoms in any fashion, instead of removing them? Removing them and then occasionally selling them back to you at a massive profit? Come on, Al Gore only wants $15 trillion of your taxpayer dollars.
Those freedoms buttressed and solidified by the sacrifice of 419,000 US soldiers and civilians in WWII. Yet what passes for state-of-the-art thought on US freedom of speech today by a politician — a Demorat politician mind you — is this.
He couldn’t be more wrong. The First Amendment exists not to protect pablum speech, but specifically challenging speech.
First, let’s be honest: there is no real definition for “hate speech.” It, like pornography, is in the eye of the beholder. The unsaid crux of the biscuit is, naturally: just who determines “hate speech”? That is the key.
Courts have ruled that the First doesn’t protect outright threats, speech that would tend to provoke a personal fight, and child pornography. “Hate speech” is not included as an exception.
KKK speech is protected. Symbols, like a burning cross, are protected. The Westboro Baptist Church is protected.
The Supreme Court has established a general principle that a government administrator can’t decide to charge a group a higher fee for event security based on anticipated public reaction to the content of the event, and a lower court found that this applies to colleges, too. So if Berkeley is basing its security decisions on what it expects Coulter to say, that could pose a problem.
We heard what one professor thinks of free speech. Another example of what passes for state-of-the-art thought on US freedom of speech today by “educators” is this, from the NYTimes.com:
What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right About Free Speech
by Ulrich Baer
Widespread caricatures of students as overly sensitive, vulnerable and entitled “snowflakes” fail to acknowledge the philosophical work that was carried out, especially in the 1980s and ’90s, to legitimate experience — especially traumatic experience — which had been dismissed for decades as unreliable, untrustworthy and inaccessible to understanding.
Translated: the surfeit of emotional, sensitive snowflakes are in fact traumatized by certain speech. Their horror should not be delegitimized.
The recent student demonstrations at Auburn against Spencer’s visit — as well as protests on other campuses against Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship. Liberal free-speech advocates rush to point out that the views of these individuals must be heard first to be rejected. But this is not the case. Universities invite speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries, but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good.
Translated: censorship isn’t really the removal of free speech; it’s a guarantee not to offend. Offense is a much worse condition than that of the removal of speech itself. Restricted speech is a “public good.”
But listen to this.
In such cases (“when those views invalidate the humanity of some people”) there is no inherent value to be gained from debating them in public. In today’s age, we also have a simple solution that should appease all those concerned that students are insufficiently exposed to controversial views. It is called the internet, where all kinds of offensive expression flourish unfettered on a vast platform available to nearly all.
Perfect. Who needs actual speech? In public? Just go to the internet. Meanwhile, we as Leftists will keep our politically-correct stranglehold on what it is you can hear and read.
The great value and importance of freedom of expression, for higher education and for democracy, is hard to overestimate. But it has been regrettably easy for commentators to create a simple dichotomy between a younger generation’s oversensitivity and free speech as an absolute good that leads to the truth.
Again, Leftists proving there is no real “good” or “bad.” There are simply events that occur on a sliding scale created of their own highly-informed thinking.
We would do better to focus on a more sophisticated understanding, such as the one provided by Lyotard, of the necessary conditions for speech to be a common, public good. This requires the realization that in politics, the parameters of public speech must be continually redrawn to accommodate those who previously had no standing.
You see? A “sophisticated understanding.” This is akin to saying that because some poor people cannot actually afford to go out and purchase a firearm, we need to eliminate the Second Amendment.
The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks.
Uh, yes it is. You lie. The exceptions are delineated above as determined in US courts.
It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.
Now it gets grotty. At first blush the paragraph above is nothing but mush. I provide this accurate translation for you: if only one of a delineated set of protected species are offended, even in the slightest, that speech is deemed hateful.
Free-speech protections — not only but especially in universities, which aim to educate students in how to belong to various communities — should not mean that someone’s humanity, or their right to participate in political speech as political agents, can be freely attacked, demeaned or questioned.
Translated: speech is now hateful when you question someone.
Here is a sentence that doesn’t even warrant reproducing in its entirety.
Unlike today’s somewhat reflexive defenders of free speech. . .
“Reflexive defenders of free speech.” In times past that was considered a positive feature, a wonderful attribute. Now, according to “educators,” that’s a glitch, a quirk, a serious problem requiring repair.
What is under severe attack, in the name of an absolute notion of free speech, are the rights, both legal and cultural, of minorities to participate in public discourse.
Please tell me, ladies and gentlemen, where the rights, both legal and cultural, of minorities to participate in public discourse are being quashed? Examples please. Be specific.
We should thank the student protestors, the activists in Black Lives Matter and other “overly sensitive” souls for keeping watch over the soul of our republic.
Of course. Thanks, Berkeley and other US universities, for rioting and burning and blockading and threatening so that opposing views cannot be remotely considered on campus. They really are “closed campuses” with regard to alternate views, theories and speech. Closed. Walled off. It is truly suppression by violence. On the part of Leftists.
Here is what Judge Andrew Napolitano said of this specific editorial.
Light to make the cockroaches scatter.
You know you have a serious problem when even Bill Maher skewers Leftists blocking free speech.
That’s an individual on a TV show. What happens when you have a mammoth tech giant like Google censoring from within? From DCClothesline.com:
Google’s Schmidt: “We’re Not Arguing For Censorship, We’re Arguing Just Take It Off The Page”
by Chris Menahan
Google is not going to “censor” their search results, they’re just going to take search results “off [their] page” to “essentially have you not see it.”
In a video from March 23 that’s just now going viral, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was asked by Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo how they plan to deal with extremist content. Eric Schmidt responded by mixing in “fake news” with “extremist things” and suggested their computer algorithms will determine what’s true:
“My own view on most of this sort of extremist things as well as fake news in general is that it’s essentially a ranking problem. We’re very good at detecting what’s the most relevant and what’s the least relevant. It should be possible for computers to detect malicious, misleading and incorrect information and essentially have you not see it. We’re not arguing for censorship, we’re arguing just take it off the page, put it somewhere else.”
Read that again. “We’re not arguing for censorship, we’re arguing just take it off the page, put it somewhere else.”
And this isn’t censorship how? You’re taking it off the page. Where “else” are you putting it?
You see, of course, just who makes this determination of censorship or hate speech, yes? Me? No. You? No. Leftists.
As far as Leftists are concerned, it is precisely your freedoms that put the world in its predicament today.
It is your freedom of speech that suppresses any number of individuals and makes them feel less a person. It is your Second Amendment that stacks bodies like cordwood and forces young black males to kill each other in large urban venues. It is your ability to drive where you want when you want that has polluted our skies and clogged our cities. It is your ability to eat what you want that has resulted in obese young people and poor people. It is your freedom to manufacture goods and create a mighty industrial base that has resulted in competition globally, which is a terrible idea and rife with pollution, greed, capitalism and consumerism. It is your freedom to regulate borders which has resulted in people unable to enter the US and partake of the Free Cheese available within. It is your freedom to be independent and sovereign which has closed off globalism and failed to consolidate power into a smaller, brighter, more enlightened band of clear-thinking individuals. It is the freedom to embrace religion which creates societal judgments which conflict with secularism. Islam not included.
When you have no Second Amendment, you have no First Amendment. When you have no First Amendment you have no freedom whatsoever.
As Europe is in a terrible cultural war with globalism and sovereignty, so is the United States.
“Hate speech”? I think you know who determines that and why.
Censorship concerns as European Parliament introduces ‘kill switch’ to cut racist speeches
by Associated Press
Press freedom organizations have raised concerns about censorship after Members of the European Parliament approved extraordinary measures to combat hate speech.
MEPs granted the parliament’s president authority to pull the plug on live broadcasts of parliamentary debate in cases of racist speech or acts and to purge offending video or audio material from the online system.
Critics say the rules are vaguely worded and could be manipulated or used as a tool of censorship.
Censorship in Europe? Perish the thought, you wanker!
“This undermines the reliability of the Parliament’s archives at a moment where the suspicion of ‘fake news’ and manipulation threatens the credibility of the media and the politicians,” said Tom Weingaertner, president of the Brussels-based International Press Association.
Facts in evidence. EU “journalistas” have it right on this one.
But some MEPs say nationalist rhetoric has recently crossed the line of what is acceptable.
“There have been a growing number of cases of politicians saying things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate,” said Richard Corbett, a British MEP who backed the new rule.
“What if this became not isolated incidents, but specific, where people could say: ‘Hey, this is a fantastic platform. It’s broad, it’s live-streamed. It can be recorded and repeated. Let’s use it for something more vociferous, more spectacular,'” he told The Associated Press.
This is the quintessential Straw Man argument, because the EU’s installation of this policy providing shocking power over speech is most certainly aimed not at what they’re publicly stating, but — bottom line — at speech with which Leftist elitists disagree. Like, say, Brexit. Or sovereignty. Or independence. Or any make and manner of speech with which EU elitists agree must be quashed. Like this: oppositional speech. Of any kind.
What is the European Parliament? Answer: a bastion of Leftist elitists whose decisions take precedence over the rules and laws of client states in the EU.
Rule 165 of the parliament’s rules of procedure allows the chair of debates to halt the live broadcast “in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a member.” The maximum fine for offenders would be around 9,000 euros ($9,500).
What is “xenophobic”? According (here in the US) to Bill Kristol, speech by President Trump saying “America first.” Kristol thinks that’s “depressing and vulgar.” Likely Kristol would love to suppress Trump’s speech.
In the EU and in many areas of the US and particularly Canada, to state the unseemly and hidden truths about Islam is also xenophobic.
To bandy about the words “American exceptionalism” is also considered xenophobic by many Leftists, elitists and GOWPs.
Of course, like much of the law passed by Leftists, it isn’t done in the light of day.
The new rule, which was not made public by the assembly until it was reported by Spain’s La Vanguardia newspaper, offending material could be “deleted from the audiovisual record of proceedings,” meaning citizens would never know it happened unless reporters were in the room.
Mr Weingaertner said the IPA was never consulted on that.
Oh please. When and where were advocates of free speech ever consulted by those who would limit same?
A technical note seen by the AP outlines a procedure for manually cutting off the video feed, stopping transmission on in-house TV monitors and breaking the satellite link to halt broadcast to the outside world.
A videotape in four languages would be kept running to serve as a legal record during the blackout. A more effective and permanent system was being sought.
It is also technically possible to introduce a safe-guard time delay so broadcasts appear a few seconds later. This means they could be interrupted before offending material is aired.
Stop right there. “Offending material.” Just who determines the likes of “offending material”? Correct. The Leftist elitists who demanded the policy in the first place.
But it’s not about just perceived “racist speech.” It’s also about non-PC speech. Already at the BBC all climate change “deniers” can’t acquire any air time or employment at Auntie Beebe. It’s just not popular. Wouldn’t be prudent.
Leftists have what I term BZ’s Succession of Oppression. It goes like this, in three major stages:
These days, if you are not an active advocate of any and all Leftist policies, you are now an ______-ist. Fill in the blank.
Finally, Tucker Carlson interviewed an EU GOWP Drone who has apparently never watched any of his shows.
I repeat at the risk of being a repetitive member of the Department of Redundancy Dept: it’s nothing more than another Leftist Straw Man argument.
A report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) found there was an increase in hate speech and racist violence in the UK from 2009 to March 2016.
Blaming the press, ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund, said: “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.”
“Hate speech,” you see, equates to not advocating on behalf of Islam. The UK now, like many Western countries, has migrated with regard to Islam in this fashion:
In other words, if you are not an active advocate, then you must be an _______-ist or _______-phobe. Fill in the blank.
In the 83-page report, the Commission said: “ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist actsaround the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.
“In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.”
Right. The nature, backgrounds and persons responsible for the various attacks — if they involve Islam in any fashion — must be “downplayed or rejected” in favor of “ALTERNATE EXPLANATIONS.”
Such as, perhaps, sunspots, tidal pull, bad flatus, global warming, parking tickets? You get the drift. Just make up shite as you go along. Let’s actively lie, as a government, to the electorate because we cower in front of Islam. We have no spine, no courage, no truth.
Despite the creation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in 2014 as an independent regulator for newspapers and magazines, the “ECRI strongly recommends that the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator according to the recommendations set out in the Leveson Report. It recommends more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards.”
And there you go. A press “regulator” who will “independently” determine just what it is that you, in the UK (and soon to occur in the US), will see and know. What will be the consequences should various articles not “conform” to the Brussels and ECRI ideals? Send the authors back for “regrooving” like a bad truck tire? Indoctrination classes and camps? Civil penalties? Actual criminal penalties?
“At the same time, the commission noted considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration. It said that hate speech continues to be a serious problem in tabloid newspapers, and that online hate speech targeting Muslims in particular has soared since 2013.”
I wonder if said speech has increased commensurate with Muslim attacks on the UK, France, Belgium and other Western EU countries? My guess? Yes. Speech is just that. Speech. The UK does not possess our First Amendment.
So, to #NeverTrumpers and all others: if you want this in your country just stay home on election day. Refuse to fill out your absentee ballot. Vote down-ticket only. You’ll get precisely what you want, which is Hillary Rodham Clinton.
You’ll also acquire a reflective reduction of your rights such as freedom of speech, your right to self-defense, your right to not be micro-managed by the United States of America, your right to know what is occurring under your noses. Eric Arthur Blair would be patting himself on the shoulder right about now due to his prescience.
Oh boy, a continuation of more repression, corruption, lies and governmental tyranny under Hillary Rodham Clinton in the fine tradition of Barack Hussein Obama.
Tech Giants Vow to Tackle Online Hate Speech Within 24 Hours
by Stephanie Bodoni
U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists.
Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
But what is “hate speech”? And who makes that determination?
As an American, I understand that Europe has no real First Amendment as do we. There is no history, in Europe, of valuing true free speech. As is commonly said in America, however, the First Amendment exists not for everyday or pablum-oriented speech, but challenging speech.
The code of conduct arrives as Europe comes to terms with the bloody attacks in Paris and Brussels by Islamic State, which has used the Web and social media to spread its message of hate against its enemies. The companies said it remains a “challenge” to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and hate speech in the self-generated content on online platforms.
“We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow,” said Twitter’s head of public policy for Europe, Karen White, in the statement. “However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”
But it looks like, when you get down to it, the objection by these large techies isn’t necessarily terrorism as in the standard definition of the word — specifically as with regard to the Brussels attacks. Perhaps that was the original intent a month or so ago.
“The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech,” said Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner responsible for justice, consumers and gender equality. She added that the code of conduct, which will be regularly reviewed in terms of its scope and its impact, will ensure that public incitement to violence to hatred has “no place online.”
The firms themselves say there’s no conflict between their mission statements to promote the freedom of expression and clamping down on hate speech.
But again, WHO determines the definition of “hate speech”? We already know that Facebook has been caught short-shrifting and minimizing stories involving conservative issues of import. We already know that the IRS targeted conservative groups. We already know that every newsroom in the US is 85% + Leftist. We already know that Google, Facebook and Twitter are run by Leftists, and that Google, Facebook and Twitter have suspended the accounts of conservative persons for no stated specific reason whatsoever whilst simultaneously allowing the same behavior to occur on behalf of Leftists for Leftist causes. Facts in evidence.
We already know that Obama and DC don’t hate all capitalists. They love Leftist tech capitalists. Just look above.
Now? It would seem to me that the definition of “hate speech” is expanding.
What is “hate speech”? Is it, “Allahu akhbar, slay all the infidels and behead the nonbelievers, run their parts through a wood chipper and set that liquid on fire”?
Is it “kill all the Jews, may their corrupt Zionist bodies be blown to bits and their children slaughtered in their beds with the sharpest of machetes”?
Or is it when BZ writes that “black lives don’t matter”?
Is it when BZ takes umbrage with the word marriage meaning one man and one man, one woman and one woman — even though BZ couldn’t care less that two gays or lesbians enjoy a “civil union” and should be afforded precisely the same benefits as one man and one woman? That he just despises the meanings of words being hijacked?
Is it when BZ writes the word “trannies”?
Is it when BZ says that Leftists are every bit as hypocritical as everyone else and frequently more so, or that most Leftists have no concept of reality, or that Obama is one of the most dangerous persons to the United States ever installed in the White House? Or that the electorate is increasingly brain dead for Free Cheese?
Is it when BZ writes emphatically that illegal Mexicans should not be allowed into the United States?
Is it when BZ writes that “Islam is as Islam does”?
I’m certain by now you see where I’m going with this.
The Dream Police are here. So sayeth Cheap Trick. The Word Police are setting up shop and already have a logo. The Thought Police are deciding what color uniform to purchase.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Thought Police. You realize, of course, that technology is already being developed in order to truly read your thoughts? For shame, if you think I’m writing out my ass. Click the links here and here.
So I ask again:
Just what is “hate speech”?
Who gets to decide?
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
Eric Arthur Blair is shaking his head and saying “I told you so.”