Saying that “the First Amendment was engineered for a simpler era” author and former Time magazine editor Richard Stengel argued in the Washingon Post on Tuesday that the United States needs to abridge its right to free speech and outlaw statements that “that can cause violence by one group against another.”
That would be hate speech, of course, that favorite monster-under-the-bed of liberals who think they’re brilliant and enlightened enough to restrict the things that come out of people’s mouths.
The United States already does have protection for people that would have violence inflicted upon them. That protection is called law. Under the law you may not attack, rob, cheat, rape or even threaten anyone, no matter how much you “hate” them.
“Hating” someone to the point of harming them physically or financially is no more a crime than “being jealous of” someone is a crime, even if that jealousy makes you throw a brick though the window of their car. It is the brick-throwing that is covered under the law. Don’t do that part.
Go ahead and hate all you want; it’s a free country. Be jealous, be greedy, discriminate, get as furious as you like. Just don’t act on it and harm someone. That second part is where the law will nail you. Up to that point, it’s no one’s business to try and control what you think.
Stengel’s very misguided editorial is something everyone should read, if for no other reason than to try to understand the continued, willful (they aren’t dumb) blindness of the left about what free speech really is, and why it cannot, must not be messed with.
Stengel might argue that the use of “misguided” in the previous paragraph is, in fact, hate speech. Which would make the collection of words you just read into a crime. Because it’s on the Internet, he might argue, based on his editorial, it can be circulated worldwide with no sort of “truth commission” to disallow or bless it. Bring in the speech-throttling legislation!
Never, never does Stengel begin to ponder how such legislation might be turned around and used to silence … the misguided. Like him.
Perhaps he is also unaware of the fiery, violence-inciting quote: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun!”
That was uttered by none other than presidential candidate Barack Obama, about Republicans, in 2008.
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