Unethical Web Site Of The Month: No Hate Speech Movement

hand over mouth

Right before the Paris terrorist attack on “Charlie Hebdo” I was going to post about No Hate Speech and decided, “Eh, this is too stupid.” Then, reflecting upon it in the light of the occurrences in subsequent days, I realized most of the many, primarily  young people, mostly well-meaning, sensitive, loving individuals who are represented on this almost unnavigable website—I hate that— would be making excuses for the Islamic terrorists who executed the French cartoonists, since by their definition, they engaged in “hate speech.”  ( “Of course terrorism is wrong, but...”)  They ended it too, didn’t they? At least they ended those particular speakers.

Free speech is being whittled away by the attempts to define free speech as excluding “hate.” Democratic Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts—you know, that cradle of freedom, democracy, protestm ringing words, and me—has  introduced legislation calling for the government to investigate “hate speech” on broadcast, cable, and Internet outlets. As Alan Derschowitz noted, the effort and the logic surrounding the bill endangers liberty:

“It is a worthy effort, but my prediction is that it either leads to the conclusion government cannot do it, or that they will do it and that will infringe on First Amendment rights. Governments are trying to also make changes to hate speech law and debating the issue in Canada, at the United Nations, and even right now in Israel. It is a worldwide trend, but it is a really dangerous trend.”

I guess because Derschowitz is an upstanding Democrat, he can’t bring himself to say that it is not a worthy effort. It is an irresponsible trend, with a campaign that depends on ignorance, historical amnesia, naivete and hypocrisy. I was trying to remember why I, last year, allowed a passionate and prolific commenter who was prone to rash and obscene language, often attacking other commenters. NOW I recall: This was the reason. The movement to censor “offensive” speech is a leap onto Markey’s slippery, censorious slope. Hate is a legitimate, if ugly sentiment, and it has its place. That place is in our heads, and sometimes, out of our mouths or pens. You don’t like it?  I’m listening. I lost a lot of readers who were offended by Scott’s remarks. Well, I decided that that the ethical thing was to let those who objected 1) learn not read his comments or 2) talk him out of it.

I find it disturbing and ominous that about 50% of all self-identified Democrats profess to support hate speech restrictions. This should alarm rational Democrats, just as they should object to Holder’s unconscionably political and unethical Justice Department intervening in the trademark suit against the Washington Redskins. This is the Obama administration playing to its anti-free speech base, and shamelessly so, arguing that the name of a football team should be barred under a provision of the Lanham Act, which says that trademarks should not disparage or bring people into “contempt or disrepute.” The bright side of this disgrace is that the Lanham Act is long overdue to have this unconstitutional provision removed, and this lawsuit should do the trick. The dark side is that Barack Obama’s government sides with those free speech hating—ooops, I mean opposing—Democrats and the minority of equally censorious Republicans and independents.

I found the Unethical Website of the Month thanks to this, a jaw-dropping attack on “hate speech” (note: “hate speech” is just speech) by a web wacko named Tanya Cohen. Her screed has been defended as an elaborate satire, but that seems unlikely: a writer by that name with similarly extreme views has appeared in other forums. If she is trolling sites like No Hate Speech, I’m happy to be fooled. But she probably isn’t, meaning this is real:

In order to establish ourselves as a country that sincerely respects fundamental human rights, democratic freedoms, and individual liberties, America needs to pass basic human rights legislation – such as a Human Rights Act – that outlaws, among other things:

  1. Speech which offends, insults, demeans, threatens, disrespects, discriminates against, and/or incites hatred or violence against a person or a group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or sexual activity, gender identity or gender expression, disability, language, language ability, ideology or opinion, social class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, hair color, etc.), mental capacity, and/or any other comparable distinction. In cases where hate speech is aggravated – such as incitement to genocide – prison sentences should be even longer.
  2. The spreading of misinformation, including climate change denial, denial of war crimes and genocides (especially Holocaust denial), conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine propaganda, and general nonsense.
  3. Anti-feminist, anti-multicultural, anti-immigration, and/or anti-equality ideology.
  4. Insulting, disrespectful, and/or offensive speech in general and speech that violates the dignity of people. This would include, for example, jokes about tragedies along with insults and derogatory/disrespectful comments about any person, group, place, or thing.
  5. Speech that disparages the memory of deceased persons.
  6. Speech that voices approval of oppressive, anti-freedom, anti-democratic, and/or totalitarian ideologies. This would include, for example, speech that opposes a woman’s right to have an abortion and speech that approves of Israeli apartheid in Palestine.
  7. Speech that opposes any human rights. This would mean that anyone saying that hate speech shouldn’t be against the law would be prosecuted, since hate speech is universally recognized as an injustice and a human rights violation. It would also include propaganda for war, which is illegal under international human rights law.
  8. Speech that incites, instructs, assists, condones, celebrates, justifies, glorifies, advocates, or threatens violence and/or law-breaking and speech that undermines the rule of law. This would include, for example, the advocacy of gun ownership (which would be classified as incitement to violence in any civilized country). In a civilized society, advocating violence is no different than actually committing the violence yourself. Only in the US is inciting violence and murder – even inciting violence and murder against minorities – considered to be “free speech”.
  9. Speech that undermines the authority of the state and/or interferes with the state’s ability to properly function and do its job. This would also include speech that undermines the authority of the United Nations and/or international law.
  10. Speech that objectifies women and/or reduces them to their sexual dimension, such as pornography and catcalling.
  11. Speech that promotes unacceptable ideas, such as un-democratic ideologies and ideologies that oppose freedom. This would also apply to promoting people who promote or promoted unacceptable ideas. For example, in the case of The Jewish community of Oslo et al. v. Norway, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ruled that glorifying Hitler not only constitutes incitement to Hatred, but also incitement to violence.
  12. Speech that harms and/or divides society in general, including speech that damages social cohesion.
  13. Symbols associated with hateful and/or un-democratic ideologies, such as Nazi swastikas and Confederate flags.
  14. Gestures and salutes associated with hateful and/or un-democratic ideologies, such as fascist salutes.
  15. Speech which constitutes microaggressions against vulnerable minorities.
  16. Images or recordings of any crimes.
  17. Speech which may lead to tensions with other nations and/or upset people in other nations.
  18. Speech which is found to be blasphemous towards minority religions.
  19. Depictions of indecent violence (especially violence against women) and/or other offensive content.
  20. Speech which is found to be irresponsible, unethical, antisocial, hurtful, impolite, uncivil, abusive, distasteful, and/or unacceptable in general.

Like all rights, the right to freedom of speech comes with great responsibility and it must be balanced against other rights. All of these things go far outside the realm of free speech, and all other advanced democracies have already passed laws against most of these things in order to protect basic human rights. Outlawing these forms of hatred does not interfere with the sacrosanct right to freedom of speech, and it would not violate the First Amendment in any way since hate speech is not freedom of speech in any way, shape, or form.  Nobody has the right to take away rights from others.  Nobody has the freedom to take away freedoms from others.

Anyone guilty of hate speech – which should carry criminal penalties of 25 years to life – should be sent to special prisons designed to re-educate them and to instill values of tolerance, freedom, democracy, and human rights in them.

If it isn’t real, Tanya still explains eloquently what’s unethical about No Hate Speech.


43 thoughts on “Unethical Web Site Of The Month: No Hate Speech Movement

    • If you’re talking about the United States, I think it is satire.

      If this is about Western Europe and Canada, then some of it is real. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and France for example. If someone spent the time, one could probably come up with real examples for about 1/4 of that list that are already illegal in one (purportedly) liberal democracy.

        • Far from it. Which is why the “most other countries do it differently” argument (a.k.a “everybodu does it”) that we hear about health care, capital punishment, etc., is so sinister and fatuous at the same time. I repeat: who cares how the rest of the world does it?

      • The debate then, is whether a nation should uphold freedom of speech, or if it should use the force of law to protect national values. Most countries choose the latter.

    • I donno. If it is satire, it is poorly written satire, which lends interpreting it as the angry rambling it seems to be.

      Unless it is SO well thought out of satire that is was meant to look like that. In which case, Jack, what’s the phrase that applies to something so well done that the humor is indecipherable so it may as well be a serious statement? Or something to that effect?

  1. I suspect that it is satire. Look at these quotes.

    “As a matter of fact, international human rights law MANDATES laws against hate speech. ”

    “Civilized countries consider hate speech to be among the most serious crimes around, with many countries even placing it on par with murder. In some countries, people are automatically declared guilty of hate speech and other hate crimes unless they can absolutely prove their innocence beyond any reasonable doubt. The principle of guilty until proven innocent may seem a bit harsh to some, but it makes sense when you consider how severe the crime of hate speech is – it is a crime that simply cannot be tolerated in a democracy. ”

    “The United States has always been far behind the times when it comes to protecting basic human rights. When”

    “The truthfulness or factual nature of statements should not matter. Numerous countries have ruled that completely true, balanced, and factual statements can be outlawed as hate speech if they are likely to stir up hatred, or if vulnerable minorities are likely to take offense to them.”

    “These laws would not apply to members of vulnerable minority groups. ”

    “. Otherwise, we are truly no better than Nazi Germany was.”

  2. Regarding #5: (Speech that disparages the memory of deceased persons.)

    Everyone shall stop disparaging Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi amin, Saddam Hussein, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Stalin.

  3. I love that number 6 forbids the “approval of oppressive, anti-freedom, anti-democratic, totalitarian ideologies.” So talking about this human rights law would be punishable.

    Sadly, though, even if it is satire, it doesn’t matter. There are too many who would cheer it becoming real law. And that’s just here in the us. Most of Europe has good chunks of it in place already, just not backed by official law. And Islam would cheer as we passed it – as would Russia and China and North Korea and… actually, I think it’s already law in North Korea.

  4. If it’s satire, then this part is kind of brilliant…

    “Speech which is found to be blasphemous towards minority religions…”

    That’s excellent trolling, because a normal satirist would have gone with a less subtle “non-Christian religions.” Either Tanya is a pitch-perfect troll who knows exactly when not to overplay her hand, and ends up being right on the edge of what many actual far-leftists believe…or she’s really just too dumb to live.

  5. I read the original and I am concerned that if it is satire then the humor and exaggeration will be missed by those that want such laws to be enforced.

    Fortunately, I went on to read the comments by other readers. If those readers did what she suggests they would have burned her at the stake.

    Unfortunately, people believe what they want to believe.

  6. If you go to a college, this is a real thing. “Racist speech isn’t free speech” was one of the battle cries when I was in college. It still is. You have a generation of people who grew up with government sponsored censorship and thought control. Ideas that are not good liberal ideas are hate and must be forbidden. Over 300 college now have speech codes, many (probably most) of which prohibit ‘hate speech’. Falling afoul of these rules can affect your student aid, admission to college programs, or get you thrown out of college. After getting used to this behavior in high school and college (first 22 years of their lives) and being told it is necessary and good, why are you surprised that people support them for the whole country? Isn’t that the point of indoctrination.


    Remember, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

  7. Who will be left to pay for the prisons.

    It seems to me that If I am locked up for my transgressions then I should be entitled to exactly the same privileges and freedoms of others. Otherwise my jailers are guilty of not providing me equal protection and are oppressing me.

    • It is encouraging that literally nobody commenting thinks she is anything but a troll or a fool. As for her claim that those in other nations have been “positive”—well, that proves my point.

      • I’m still tempted to think it’s satire that’s running into Poe’s Law.

        #1 by calling for a ban on “Speech which … demeans… a person … based on … ideology or opinion” means her article itself would be illegal hate speech. Those ellipsis just hide additional lists of words

  8. Serious or not, this passage illustrates a classic folly of semantics addicts: Rather than deal with opinions they don’t like in a mature way by learning about others’ points of view and thinking critically about all perspectives, they brand their adversaries’ ideas to be inherently wrong for all time and don’t even bother trying to paradigm synch. Essentially, this scheme replaces all abstract thought with labels and rules. It doesn’t make critical thought and empathy any less possible or necessary, but it empowers society to punish anything it sticks the appropriate tag on, which can be completely arbitrary. Of course, it’s also a load of hypocrisy to boot, e.g. “it is illegal to disagree with this law”.

    Outlawing ideas you don’t like is intellectual violence, which I disdain because it would work just as effectively in service of right or wrong ideas. If intellectual violence is what you use to spread your ideology, there is no way to tell whether it is right or wrong. Not that some humans would care; some humans are pseudosapient sacks of cytoplasm. If anyone tries to arrest me, I’ll deconstruct their entire postage-stamp-sized worldview while they watch.

    I think this passage is probably a very subtle satire because it enumerates the consequences of such an ideology very accurately and emphasizes their absurd nature (blasphemy against majority religions is not hate speech?). However, people who don’t think through ideologies this thoroughly may still seriously hold such censorship opinion.

    The way to fight this trend is to demonstrate to people that good results can (only) come from actually talking things out. Having a conversation with a racist doesn’t make racism less wrong, and it might lead the racist to change their mind. Forcing them to be silent doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Asking earnest questions and being candid about one’s perceptions also works well, especially if one offers explanations in favor of a point of view one is criticizing. One must put people at ease and be exemplary if one is to get people’s attention.

  9. “Tanya Cohen” wrote a response.


    ” In the same way, this so-called “freedom to be a bigot” interferes with the important right to be free from bigotry.”

    “Tanya” assumes that there is a general right to be free from bigotry. There is no evidence that is true.

    “As I mentioned in my original article, international human rights law makes it very clear that hate speech is NOT free speech. ”

    “International human rights” are “deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 at 710-719 (1997) Under the Glucksberg analysis, an entitlement to have the government suppress hate speech is not a human right.

    “This means that hate speech (including propaganda for war) ARE already illegal in the US, since the US has ratified the ICCPR (along with the ICERD).”

    International law only governs acts between nations. It does not govern domestic policy

    “However, since the US is a country with no regard for basic human rights…”

    clearluy false.

    “This not only damages our international image and reputation, but it also allows hatred to flow out of the United States like an ocean. ”

    Damages our internatiopnal reputation to whom.

    “The United States is literally allowing people to openly and publicly incite genocide against minorities in the name of “free speech”. ”

    so now “Tanya” is defending the sand Nazis.

    Sand Nazis are nithings, and they have no rights which we are bound to respect.

    “Yes, we believe in free speech, but nobody in a democracy should be able to incite violence against minorities.”

    Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969) (per curiam) , defines incitement.

    “The US still has yet to ban gun ownership, still has yet to enact universal healthcare, still has yet to enact free higher education, still has yet to enact the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and still has yet to set up any kind of federal Human Rights Commission, among many other things. It is very clear to me that the US has absolutely no respect for even the most basic of human right”

    The Second amendment belies the idea that banning gun ownership is a basic human right.

    • Shooting fish in a barrel, and stupid, deluded fish as well. We don’t have world government, and this silly woman thinks there is a natural right to be protected from anything unpleasant.

      • Amazing that people can talk about human rights without using the Glucksberg analysis, which is the framework to determiner what constitutes a basic human right.

      • Sometimes it’s useful to fisk an article like that to demonstrate just how screwed up it really is. It’s frustrating to do though, and I didn’t have the patience.

  10. I hope it’s satire or I must register this as highly offensive and hurtfulm and very hateful for those who speak out as a minority.. It denies all the ills brought by censorship that everyone knows about The list of ways it’s wrong is considerable.

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