March 20, 2008

OK, Stop the "Hate", But when does Free Speech become "Hate" Speech?

Marc Comtois

His appetite for late night weiners temporarily sated, State Sen. Juan Pichardo was one of those unveiling a "stop hate campaign" today:

Advocacy groups and legislators today announced a campaign against hate and hate speech in Rhode Island that will call on all Rhode Islanders to participate.

The initiative was prompted by a recent incident involving a Providence storeowner who demanded to see Social Security cards of two Spanish-speaking customers, then threatened to call immigration authorities after they did not.

State Sen. Juan Pichardo, one of the speakers today, said, “All this hate speech -- we need to stop this wave. It is not the America we pursue …”

Miguel Sanchez-Hartwein, executive director of the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy, said the campaign will involve educational forums at universities, schools, businesses and other settings, and a petition that he asked all Rhode Islanders to sign.

Hm. On second thought, maybe I should retract the weiner crack...el hermano mayor está mirando.

Look, all kidding aside, of course we should respect other individuals and not "hate" them. I already said I think the proprietor of RI Refrigeration crossed the line, but being rude doesn't signify "hate." And political differences don't equal hate. Most people who disagree with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton don't do so because he's an African-American or she's a woman. They disagree with their political philosophy, their ideas, not their color or plumbing.

Yet, a legitimate critique of current immigration policy is hyperbolized as anti-immigrant and racist by some who know better, but seek to gain partisan advantage. Thus does one person's free speech become classified by others as "hate speech" in a veiled attempt to short-circuit debate. I'm not saying all those involved with this campaign have ulterior motives based on a desire for power, political or other. But beware those who do.

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Exactly right, Marc. Misrepresent what someone is saying, then gasp and say, "Look! Hate speech".

Dan Yorke is playing comments made at this press conference. There was a notable lack of accuracy and substance in what was said compounded by a studious avoidance of the concept -- the only concept that is the focus of RIILE and many concerned individuals including myself: legal immigration.

Posted by: Monique at March 20, 2008 4:43 PM

Oh, you're not aware of the definition of "hate speech", are you? That would be any kind of speech which those calling it hate speech disapprove of. They "hate" hearing other people speak out in opposition when it doesn't chime with the propaganda they are putting forth.

Posted by: Will at March 20, 2008 5:21 PM

Hate speech is any speech at variance with the point of view of the "advocates"-screw them.I hate Steven Brown and i hope he drives into a bridge abutment doing about 70mph.If you want to ban me for this go ahead,but i've about had it with him and chuck bakst,that filthy(literally)stinkpot and hypocrite supreme.The rest of the crew there are just doing the ethnic political shuffle,which has a hallowed history in the ward heeler past of the good ole USA.I guess I engaged in hate speech here,but I won't apologize.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 20, 2008 6:35 PM

I was listening to "hate speech" the other day. It was a YouTube video of Obama's pastor.

Posted by: Mike Capelli at March 21, 2008 9:21 AM

Check this out... Truth destined to be labeled "hate speech":

Posted by: George at March 21, 2008 11:21 AM

Hate speech, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: rhody at March 21, 2008 11:23 AM

So, by Rhody's logic. Absolutely anything can be considered hate speech.

Rhody, I'm offended. I'm calling the cops and hiring a lawyer.

Posted by: George at March 21, 2008 11:33 AM

>>Absolutely anything can be considered hate speech.

There's an exception. One can refer (with direct implications of greed and/or ill-gotten gains) to the "rich" with impunity. (As we all know this definition of "rich" really means anyone at the center of the middle-class and up.)

In fact, such "rich" references are not only exempt from being classified as "hate speech," but are exalted as advancing "social justice" and/or "economic justice."

Thus people (many of whom are in this country illegally) wanting to leverage governmental power to forcibly extract money from the "rich" and direct it to themselves are not "greedy" and are not engaged in "hate speech" ... while those "rich" who are here legally and actually worked for and earned the money and express opposition to that governmental forced extraction are engaged in "hate speech."

Such is the Orwellian logic of the Looney Left.

"Ignorance is strength" ... and thus the Poverty Institute and the rest are very, very strong.

Posted by: Tom W at March 21, 2008 11:48 AM

Marc, I would rather hear free speech that is hateful and vulgar, that would be open to debate, criticism, and ridicule, than to attempt to constrain such speech and writing. The results of these efforts to do so will always be stilted and in many instances, absurd.

Posted by: David at March 22, 2008 6:30 PM

"Hate speech" is a deliberately ambiguous term, whose definition is entirely subjective. Essentially, by allowing others to treat something which is subjective, as if it were something objective, you're allowing those who want to label opposition speech as such to set the definition to fit a moving criteria.

When you permit one side of the debate to silence the other, that's tyranny. It's also inconsistent with American ideals of democracy and freedom. We can't permit anti-American forces to define the terms of the debate.

Posted by: Will at March 22, 2008 7:06 PM

Enough of your "pius" hypocracy. Consider the following from The Huffington Post:

Rudy Giuliani's priest has been accused in grand jury proceedings of molesting several children and covering up the molestation of others. Giuliani would not disavow him on the campaign trail and still works with him.

Mitt Romney was part of a church that did not view black Americans as equals and actively discriminated against them. He stayed with that church all the way into his early thirties, until they were finally forced to change their policies to come into compliance with civil rights legislation. Romney never disavowed his church back then or now. He said he was proud of the faith of his fathers.

Jerry Falwell said America had 9/11 coming because we tolerated gays, feminists and liberals. It was our fault. Our chickens had come home to roost, if you will. John McCain proudly received his support and even spoke at his university's commencement.

Reverend John Hagee has called the Catholic Church the "Great Whore." He has said that the Anti-Christ will rise out of the European Union (of course, the Anti-Christ will also be Jewish). He has said all Muslims are trained to kill and will be part of the devil's army when Armageddon comes (which he hopes is soon). John McCain continues to say he is proud of Reverend Hagee's endorsement.

Reverend Rod Parsley believes America was founded to destroy Islam. Since this is such an outlandish claim, I have to add for the record, that he is not kidding. Reverend Parsley says Islam is an "anti-Christ religion" brought down from a "demon spirit." Of course, we are in a war against all Muslims, including presumably Muslim-Americans. Buts since Parsley believes this is a Christian nation and that it should be run as a theocracy, he is not very concerned what Muslim-Americans think.

John McCain says Reverend Rod Parsley is his "spiritual guide."

What separates all of these outrageous preachers from Barack Obama's? You guessed it. They're white and Reverend Jeremiah Wright is not. If it's not racism that's causing the disparity in media treatment of these preachers, then what is it?

I'm willing to listen to other possible explanations. And I am inclined to believe that the people these preachers go after are more important than the race of the preacher. It's one thing to go after gays, liberals and Muslims -- that seems to be perfectly acceptable in America -- it's another to accuse white folks of not living up to their ideals.

I think there is another factor at play as well. The media is deathly afraid of calling out preachers of any stripe for insane propaganda from the pulpits for fear that they will be labeled as anti-Christian. But criticism of Rev. Wright falls into their comfort zone. It's easy to blame him for being anti-American because he criticizes American foreign and domestic policy. If Rev. Wright had preached about discriminating against gay Americans or Muslims, there probably would not have been any outcry at all. That falls into the category of "respect their hateful opinions because they cloak themselves in the church."

But one thing is indisputable -- the enormous disparity in how the media has covered these white preachers as opposed to Rev. Wright. Have you ever even heard of Rod Parsley? As you can see from what I listed above, all of these white preachers have said and done the most outlandish and offensive things you can imagine -- and hardly a peep.
If the disparity in coverage isn't racist, then what is it?

I add the following:
"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?" Matthew 7:3-4

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at March 22, 2008 8:24 PM

OldTimeLefty: "If the disparity in coverage isn't racist, then what is it?"

A question of proportionality and relevance to the character, not skin color, of the presidential candidates and their central campaign themes.

Relationships and the Fourth Dimension

Hitchens lowers the boom on Obama and Wright.

Are We Lynchers and Crucifiers?

Posted by: Chairm at March 25, 2008 4:16 AM