Why Hate Speech is Good

If this post had a subtitle, it would be "give 'em enough rope to hang themselves with."  This week has brought one of those perfect examples of why free speech is important, and why it is especially important to let even stupid and evil people voice their opinions.  In what, incredibly, represents a moderation of the response to the Danish cartoons by Muslims (at least vs. shooting priests):

Iran's best-selling newspaper has launched a competition to find the
best cartoon about the Holocaust in retaliation for the publication in
many European countries of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad....

The
daily paper Hamshahri said the contest was designed to test the
boundaries of free speech -- the reason given by many European
newspapers for publishing the cartoons of the Prophet.

"A serious
question for Muslims ... is this: 'does Western free speech allow
working on issues like America and Israel's crimes or an incident like
the Holocaust or is this freedom of speech only good for insulting the
holy values of divine religions?'" the paper said on Tuesday.

Why would anyone want to stop them from doing this?  It will be thoroughly educational to see who steps up and declares their position on this.  Whenever people want to ban hate speech, I always try to point out that Hitler was telling everyone in the 1920's just what he wanted to accomplish, if only anyone really listened.  Hateful screwed-up people need to be put on the record with their most egregious work.  Censoring them only tends to moderate the public view of them and disguise the true dangers they may pose.  In fact,it is sometimes the case that when the media refuses to publish the most hateful or violent of speech, they are actually doing so because they have sympathy for the speaker, whose public image they are concerned about tarnishing, rather than just protecting the sensitivities of the speaker's targeted victims.

  • http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com Chris Yeh

    What a fantastic post title.

    I read a good term on another site recently, which is that the unwillingness of people to espouse any beliefs that could possibly be construed as "racist" has led to a color-mute society.

    Not a color-blind society, because everyone is aware of race, but color-mute, because we have silenced ourselves.

    I wish that all of these censors--because that is what they are--would recall Voltaire's famous statement:

    "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."

    P.S. Note that the far more common quote that is attributed to Voltaire ("I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.") is actually from a Voltaire biography. I didn't know that myself until I looked it up!

  • http://www.arizonawatch.com BridgetB

    "Iran's best-selling newspaper has launched a competition to find the best cartoon about the Holocaust in retaliation for the publication in many European countries of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad...."

    Because presumably, as Im sure the Ayatollah would love it to be this way, Iranian catoonists are all going to be in favor of the holocaust and only draw things that are grotesteque and insulting -- cuz thats how this comes off. Anyway, is this like some sort of West Side Story streefight now -- we're nicer than you are aside from our governements like all enacting jihad all over Israel.

    Uh, do they think the Jews are going to, like, drop to MOAB because of some dumb cartoons? I mean its not like the Imams' (offensive) opinions of Jews and Israel arent already widely known & plainly obvious. The Jews have seen worse than that, you know, some of them saw the actual Holocaust. What rock did this guy crawl out from under?