Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not All Speech Should Be Protected

I love the internet. It’s provided me with hours of entertainment, it’s let me sell a book, and it’s let me meet all of you. That’s pretty darn cool. But the internet does have a downside. Specifically, it lets the most hateful turds do their best to intimidate those they don’t like. We need a law, dammit!! Actually, we don’t.

It really is undeniable that the internet can be a problem, particularly when it comes to “hate speech.” Indeed, some corners of the internet are a seething cauldron of hate and idiocy. But here’s the thing, we don’t need laws to stop hate or idiocy. For one thing, hate and idiocy don’t actually harm us. Sticks and stones, my friends. So why do we need more laws to stop things that don’t really harm us? Isn’t that just using the power of government to force your pet peeves on people?

Not to mention, letting people speak their minds and expose their twisted views is an incredibly useful tool for discovering who you shouldn’t trust. Would you rather know that the normal looking guy in the bowtie thinks Jews are evil creatures, or would you rather only know that he smiles a lot?

Equally problematic is the idea of how we define hate. One person’s hate is another person’s truth. So whose opinion is right, and where will the government draw the line? Moreover, how do you keep the hypersensitive from getting their views imposed through the government? They are the most likely to make such an attempt after all. Do we really trust that the government won’t start declaring things like Christianity “hate speech” merely because it argues that certain acts are immoral? Many liberals already make that argument.

Let’s face it, there are very strong reasons to allow hate speech and there really aren’t any valid ones which justify banning it except that some people don't like it.

But there is another angle to this. Sometimes people hide behind the First Amendment to do more than just spew hate and stupidity. Indeed, they cross over that line and advocate violence. Now that, is a real problem.

And that brings me to Jesse Morton, the founder of a militant Muslim website “Revolution Muslim.” Jesse just got sentenced to 11.5 years for making threats against the creators of South Park because of their episode featuring Mohammed in a bear suit. He also admitted to conspiring to solicit the murder of Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris, who drew Mohammed as part of a protest against the intimidation of Danish cartoonists.

Jesse’s conviction is exactly how “hate” speech needs to be curtailed. Rather than trying to ban people from spewing idiotic opinions, we should only punish those cross the line into advocating illegality. Jesse made threats and conspired to make threats involving the injury or murder of other individuals. That is not some nebulous hateful opinion, it is in fact a crime, and has always has been recognized as such since the foundations of our justice system were laid. When he crossed the line from giving opinion to soliciting crimes, he needed to be punished.

In fact, the same thing needs to be done to the army of idiots who are taking to Twitter to issue their own death threats. If you tweet that you will kill someone or rape them or their children, that is a threat and you should be locked up, whether your target is a public figure or not. If you ask someone to kill someone else, then you have solicited murder. If you suggest that it would please you if someone died or was raped, or you simply hope they are killed or raped, that is solicitation. Those are crimes.

The internet is indeed out of control, but it’s not the handful of lunatics whining about racial purity or how everyone else is evil that are the problem. The problem is this group of supposedly normal people who now think it’s acceptable to make threats or solicit crimes against political opponents they don’t like. It’s time these people got rounded up and sent to jail, just like Jesse Morton, so that people stop doing this. If something isn’t done soon, this will spin out of control, if it hasn’t already.


No comments:

Post a Comment