In my opinion, there are two questions that we need to address in order to get at the heart of this issue:
- Is hate speech itself causing people to suffer or is hate speech simply a symptom that reminds people of the underlying cause of suffering?
- What methods are most effective in diminishing the real cause of people’s suffering?
I don’t have definitive answers, but those questions help me remember that there are real-world facts involved in the debate and that we need to try to discover them through investigation rather than simply sticking to a priori reasoning. The optimal policy on hate speech will depend in large part on how we answer those two questions.