Free Speech and Hate Speech
Yonatan Zunger

This is exceedingly uninspired. Maybe in the 90s this would have counted as interesting. Today, not so much. You haven’t tackled any of the difficult issues surrounding the balance between tolerance and justice.

To get an idea of the problem, consider this: _charges_ of using hate speech are routinely used to attack speakers and make them “defend their humanity”.

That is, it’s used to stifle and shut down debate and thought just the way “normal” hate speech is. As a sign of progress, this is good — I mean this genuinely! — because it shows that many disadvantaged groups now have enough social support and cohesiveness to engage in such behaviors (or for such behavior to be engaged on “on their behalf”).

But, alas, just because the _social standing_ is justified it does _not mean abuses of it are_. And yet we still have people abusing things on the other side — still being hateful — trying, perhaps, to stop the rise in standings of these groups. (And again: it’s often used _not_ by the groups themselves but supporters of them as a rhetorical weapon against the antagonists of the group(s).)

When we use our words as weapons and then begin to regulate them as such, we cripple our ability to use rationality rather than popularity to make decisions.

What to do? It’s an agonizing problem. You haven’t seemed to notice.

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