Is Marxism hate speech? Is it safe to be allowed on campus?

 

Hate speech is still speech, and much of hate speech is the gauche expression of everyday ideas

A lot of polite political conversation is, on close inspection, hate speech but expressed with the manners your mother taught you. Well-brought up children can get their ideas across  with just as much bite as the uncouth without going potty mouthed.

Now let’s think of religion: leaving to one side the hateful things religions say about each other, according to them religious types, we non-believers are supposed to burn in the Devil’s own private furnace. As I recall, Baptists believe that the Pope is the Antichrist and the mass is idolatry.

In an age of information overload, it is easy to fall back on our own prejudices and insulate ourselves with comforting opinions that reaffirm our core beliefs. the blogosphere forms into information cocoons and echo chambers. People can avoid the news and opinions they don’t want to hear.

The politically correct are often among the most uncouth. Some of the worst things said about Sarah Palin in 2008 cannot be repeated on a blog hoping to be safe to view at work.

Marxist ideologies even worse: it should have a trigger warning over the entire field because of a hurtful things it says about capitalists and their motivation.

Scorn, ridicule and satire is as welcome as a bee sting and is always controversial to some and continuously goes beyond the bounds of good taste and conventional manners. Scorn, ridicule and satire often shock people into reconsidering their world view.

In a court case about a particularly vile cartoon in Hustler about Jerry Falwell, the United States Supreme Court said:

Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth…

The appeal of the political cartoon or caricature is often based on exploitation of unfortunate physical traits or politically embarrassing events – an exploitation often calculated to injure the feelings of the subject of the portrayal.

A good example of using shock value to make a point is the Ohio strip club that held a topless counter-protest outside a church they were attempting to shut down.

strippers

The target of their counter-protest was a church that spent the last nine years protesting outside their club seeking to shut it down. You must admire both side’s determination.

Three cheers for rude political discourse

There is nothing unusual about ill-mannered political discourse. In the 1980s, a cartoonist went in search of Ronald Reagan’s brain.

A good discussion on political manners is in the Supreme Court judgment on the Larry Flynt, Jerry Falwell case, which included a 200-year history of American political cartoons.

Flynt_falwell

The Court noted that the political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn and ridicule and satire. It is usually as welcome as a bee sting and is always controversial to some and continuously goes beyond the bounds of good taste and conventional manners.

From the viewpoint of history, the Court held that it is clear that our political discourse would have been considerably poorer without them. The Court stated:

Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth.

Shrillness is commonplace in political discourse as is ignorance and ill manners. The Court held that:

The appeal of the political cartoon or caricature is often based on exploitation of unfortunate physical traits or politically embarrassing events – an exploitation often calculated to injure the feelings of the subject of the portrayal.

Everyone has the right to speak and all adults can vote, including those who disagree with you and even fill you with revulsion.

Politics and hatred of your opponents go hand in hand. Politics is a blood sport for driven people.

More than a few hate capitalism and speak in unflattering, even hateful, tones of the successful and other class enemies. Mises explained the youthful allure of socialism:

It promises a Paradise on earth, a Land of Heart’s Desire full of happiness and enjoyment, and—sweeter still to the losers in life’s game—humiliation of all who are stronger and better than the multitude…

Liberalism and capitalism address themselves to the cool, well-balanced mind. They proceed by strict logic, eliminating any appeal to the emotions.

Socialism, on the contrary, works on the emotions, tries to violate logical considerations by rousing a sense of personal interest and to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.

Every day spent pondering on the rudeness of your opponents is a day not spent showing the middle ground that the opposing viewpoint is wrong.

You play into their hands by taking your eyes off the prize. Back to that former union boss Ronald Reagan:

American politics is littered with, as George Will added eloquently, the bleached bones of those who under-estimated Ronald Reagan.

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