But what is deemed hate speech? I’m afraid that’s a very subjective topic. What one person considers hateful another may say it’s not. Hate speech to me is speaking out in a degrading, biased, and harmful manner towards another individual or group of individuals and, I feel, is morally wrong. However, whether you agree with me or not, our Constitution says it is legal and it is protected under the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution states,
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Even though I take the stance of hate speech being morally wrong, I do not support laws to censor it or ban it. A right is a right under the law and if the law says we have freedom of speech then that gives any individual to speak his or her mind openly whether it defends or offends.
I believe that passing certain laws against hate speech could start down a precarious path, or what is called a slippery slope, of restricting more areas of free speech. That doesn’t really give us freedom of speech at all, does it?
Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argues, “Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible. When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied.”
There are many who stand behind laws against hate speech, though. These supporters state that their position is not in limiting free speech rights, but protecting equality and opportunity for groups that over history have been the victims of verbal attack. These supporters believe that hate speech violates the 14th Amendment, which says all must receive equal protection under the law.
Freedom of speech is the right to say whatever one chooses. Taking away this right may possibly limit or diminish hate speech but that also means that those who would speak out against hate speech then technically, by law, would have to be restricted in what they can say against it.
Take a moment and think about this. Now I ask you to compare this to the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment regarding our right to bear arms and the legislation our government is trying to pass limiting this right. Once any kind of restriction to our 2nd Amendment rights is approved or passed as law, we start down the path of that slippery slope, which could allow the government to interpret the Constitution its own way to alter or eradicate some or all of our Constitutional rights.
Even if you don’t like guns, don’t own a gun, or don’t want to own a gun, don’t take that right away from someone who does. The same goes for the freedom of speech. Just because someone doesn’t like what another says (hate speech), you can’t pass legislation to control that individual’s right to what they have to say or want to say. Any kind of restriction to the right to free speech violates the 1st Amendment. And any kind of restriction to the right to bear arms violates the 2nd Amendment. Period. Don’t let any of your freedoms get swept away.