Hate Speech

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler recently declared that “Free speech does not include hate speech” in a bid to prevent certain public demonstrations within his own city. Similar sentiments were expressed a short while before this by Vermont  Governer and former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean who stated that “hate speech”  is not protected under the Constitution. The really dangerous thing about these kind of assertions is that  “expression of hate” is a fundamentally subjective concept. Are you expressing hate if you criticize customs or ideas associated with a particular religious tradition? Are you expressing hate if you insistently refer to a person by the sex they were born? In the end the expression of hate becomes whatever those in power say it is, which means that this concept is simply an anchor for the general control of speech. It is the narrow limitation of all speech to what certain parties deem to be acceptable ideas. You will never find an authoritarian drive to control the political system and the economic system that is not accompanied by the endeavor to undermine free speech.

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