Hate Speech Must Be Considered Free Speech

Over at Gene Expression, Razib has posted an article entitled, “Insulting religions and races; should it be allowed?“, that has done a little to restore my faith in the willingness of Americans to respect freedom of speech.

I have previously written about the worrisome willingness of Canadians and many Europeans to suppress speech that is intended to shame or mock certain religions or races. It should be doubly worrisome because this same willingness to suppress “hate speech” has recently become a part of the doctrine of universal human rights according to the U.N. Human Rights Council, thanks to a vote pushed through by such luminaries of civil liberties as China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.

I, for one, feel that we Americans must continue to defend the doctrines crafted for us by Learned Hand and other jurists. We should never allow ourselves to forget that it is not the task of government to determine what speech is hateful, because such a requirement leads all too quickly to a government defining speech as hateful as justification for its suppression.