TRUE OPINION: Hate Speech & the paradox of our digital age

TRUE OPINION: Just how much hate speech should we ‘tolerate’, wonders Chris Mordd Richa
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About Chris Mordd Richards 3 Articles
Chris Mordd Richards is an independent freelance student journalist, currently enrolled at the University of Canberra studying a Bachelor of Journalism. Chris has been writing and publishing regularly since 2016 for a variety of online news sites, including Independent Australia. Sine 2017, he has covered a number of events from Federal Parliament. You can follow him on Twitter at @Mordd_IndyMedia.

1 Comment

  1. Yes it’s interesting. Some problems are not as big as they seem if there is political will. Freedom of speech has historically meant the freedom to criticize one’s own government. Free speech is crucial in that regard as the power imbalance between an individual and the government is so huge. Having free speech between individual citizens is also important, but can be restrained or guided by such things as anti-discrimination legislation that create exceptions for when certain types speech will or will not be tolerated. Many people conflate these two notions of free speech in order to shut down opposition to hate speech. Claiming a restriction on any kind of speech is big brother.

    “Hate speech” as it is called should really be highlighted for its performative aspect. When someone pleads “guilty” or “not guilty” in court, they are performing an action with their words, not merely making speech. Hate speech is the performance of the precursor to physical violence. It is a verbal threat either to the peace of society as a whole or a threat of violence towards a group or an individual. As a society we can assess this by looking at the context of the speech and actions in order to decide where the boundaries are between all of these concepts, as we do for all other crimes. Was it someone giving commentary, or someone in performance of violence? “Gesturing violence” perhaps we could say.

    It is frustrating when you see a fascist being interviewed in the mainstream media or some faux panel debate and fascist and anti-fascist sides are presented equally. And then the fascist or racist will say some stupid remark and then it degenerates into a debate about what we all can and can’t say. If they are going to have these clowns on in the first place, someone should say, “Okay, you have a right to say lizards rule the world in your opinion. But why do you want to say it?” And then if forced to explain it, their stupid claims would make no sense. But they shouldn’t even be getting a voice in the media in the first place. The media do it to generate agitation. They don’t have serial murderers on these shows explaining why people should listen to their perspective on why serial murder is good, and if they did, and the murderer was forced to explain it, people would see it for the sham that it is.

    And that’s not even touching on how rich people and corporations use defamation laws to silence free speech, but funny how none of that ever seems to get raised by neo-liberals and fascists who claim their right to hate speech.

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