“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
― George Orwell
“Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment” – Howard dean, 20 april 2017 via twitter
How do we go about reconciling the above two quotes? On the one hand, the late progressive visionary George Orwell seemed to believe that free speech was the very essence of liberty. On the other hand, former Vermont governor Dean seeks to place constitutional limits on free speech. As we explain below, both men are equally correct, but Orwell is more equal than Dean.
For the majority of our daily lives, the question of free speech is utterly irrelevant. We get up, greet our loved one(s), indulge in idle chat/ ordinary conversation with our neighbors/work colleagues/fellow social justice warriors etc; we read thoughtful articles in accredited media such as the Huffington Post, Guardian or Accredited Times, whilst scorning at the ignorance of the right-wing press.
The problem as always lies with hate speech. Maybe someone sniggers behind the back of the accounts’ clerk formerly known as Bill but now, post-surgery, is most definitely Margaret. Perhaps you discover that someone at work is a closet member of the Ku Klux Klan, voted Trump, or prays the rosary outside Planned Parenthood clinics purely to intimidate vulnerable womyn, and then they venture their bigoted opinion to you. How is any of this even legal?
Part of the solution to hate speech already exists: Safe Spaces. The mistake many Social Justice Warriors make in demanding Safe Spaces is to limit these cocoons of comfort in terms of size and geography. These well-intentioned individuals ask only for some designated areas where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability.
The downside, of course, is that all other areas not specifically designated as ‘safe’ are ‘unsafe’. In the abode of the literal Hitlers, all manner of hate speech prevails. Horizontally-enhaced people, for example, may very well find themselves labelled ‘fatty’, ‘lump’, ‘tub’, ‘porker’, ‘fatso’, ‘lard-ass’, ‘salad-shirker’, ‘obese’, ‘fat bastard’, ‘beached whale’, ‘blimp’, ‘buffalo’, ‘fat cow’, ‘chank’, ‘cheese hog’, ‘doughboy’, ‘fat ass’, ‘fatso’, ‘heifer’, ‘hogbeast’, podger’, ‘sow’, ‘whale’ or ‘elephant’. Receiving any one of these hateful and often specieist insults is enough to ruin the day for those gifted with a prodigious appetite.
Our modest proposal is two-fold. We firstly propose that the entire United States landmass is designated as a Safe Space. Why should the haters pollute any part of our country with their bigotry? We believe that this proposal is feasible without changing a single word in the Constitution or the First Amendment itself.
This brings us to the second part of the proposal, which is to add some much-needed guidance to the First Amendment. As we say above, we do not propose to change a single word of the First Amendment; however, we do believe it is important to define certain words to avoid misunderstandings. The non-capitalised words ‘speech’, ‘religion’, ‘press’ for example, all need to be capitalised so that their limits can be properly understood. Defining important words is best practice, and simple common sense as any attorney will tell you. We therefore present the First Amendment below showing which words need to be capitalised and defined in an accredited glossary.
Amendment I. Congress shall make no Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise thereof; or Abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press; or the Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble, and to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.
For the avoidance of doubt, the definition of ‘speech’ will not include hate speech.