Hate Speech as Antithetical to Free Speech: The Real Polarity

Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. Edited by Will Barnes (2023)
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I claim that hate speech is actually antithetical to free speech. Nevertheless, this claim invokes the misconception that one would be jeopardizing free speech due to a phenomenon known as "false polarization" – a “tendency for disputants to overestimate the extent to which they disagree about whatever contested question is at hand.” The real polarity does not lie between hate speech (as protected free speech) vs. censorship. Rather, hate speech is censorship. It is the censorship of entire sectors of the population, a violation of their right to be heard, and at worse, an incitement to their extinction. The liberal attempt to try to fit the metaphorical 'round peg' of hate speech into the 'square hole' of free speech is impossible without revealing one’s reluctance to endow people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and other socially oppressed/marginalized groups as equal and deserving of full human dignity. I start by providing a clear definition of "hate speech" (which is lacking in legislation); then I review the original and alleged political intent of the "freedom of expression" within US history; and finally I illuminate the very material consequences of hate speech.



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Tiffany Elise Montoya
Muhlenberg College

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