Free Speech and Hate Speech

Free Speech and Hate Speech

The day we all worried about has finally arrived: Alex Jones has officially been banned from Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify. Even YouPorn has banned Alex Jones and InfoWars content.

Jones has been under fire for years, as an alleged peddler of “fake news.” This may or may not be true, but according to the New York Times, this has nothing to do with false information or fake news, which means that whether or not he “deserved it” based on spreading false information is irrelevant. What was he deplatformed for? The New York Times makes it quite clear:

Apple on Sunday removed five of the six Infowars podcasts on its popular Podcasts app. Commenting on the move, a spokeswoman said, “Apple does not tolerate hate speech.”

Facebook, Spotify and Google’s YouTube site, which removed some Infowars content last week, followed with stronger measures on Monday. Facebook removed four pages belonging to Mr. Jones, including one with nearly 1.7 million followers as of last month, for violating its policies by “glorifying violence” and “using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants.” Facebook said the violations did not relate to “false news.”

YouTube terminated Mr. Jones’s channel, which had more than 2.4 million subscribers and billions of views on its videos, for repeatedly violating its policies, including its prohibition on hate speech. Spotify cited its own prohibition on hate speech as the reason for removing a podcast by Mr. Jones.

Hate speech.

You may dislike Alex Jones, but you had better not use any dehumanizing language in describing him… ah, but the joke is stale. No one even pretends the standards are neutral anymore. It’s fun to imagine that the refusal to pursue the “fake news” standard was based on an understanding that the mainstream media would be hoisted on their own petard in such a pursuit, being demonstrable purveyors of fake news themselves, but that is a digression. The issue is free speech, and hate speech.

There can be no more equivocation about this: Hate Speech is not only protected speech, but the speech that is most important to protect. This is something which conservatives and moderates have been wishy-washy about, sometimes even conceding, which of course gives the moral initiative and authority to the left, even when they have no ground to stand on.

The opposition to hate speech relies upon two premises, both of which are flawed.

First (after observing that hatred is divisive) it presumes that unity is an intrinsic good. It isn’t. It is sometimes natural among like individuals, and sometimes strategic between even relatively unlike groups, but there is no grounds whatsoever for presuming that two groups can and ought to get along. The progressive left was the ideological source and justification for no-fault divorce, which can only stand on the presumption that even similar people can sometimes not get along.

Second, it presumes that hatred is unnecessary, evil, or both. But the origins of hatred are in attachment–in love. As I argued in In Defense of Hatred, you cannot get rid of hatred without threatening love itself. Hatred is the last and strongest defense of love, and as such, is neither unnecessary nor evil; to the contrary, retaining the capacity for justified hatred is both necessary and morally righteous.

There is a claim that is sometimes made which at first appears to be irrelevant here, but is still worth bringing up and addressing: It is sometimes said that that hate speech is not protected speech.

Some of us take a broad, nearly absolute interpretation of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, but even the narrowest interpretation protects political or religious expression. And we already know that these sites will ban speech as politically pure as the Declaration of Independence through their hate-speech algorithms. But political advocacy, such as the advocacy for more strictly enforced borders, or harsher criminal penalties, might be interpreted as “hate speech.” And that interpretation might be correct; your political ideology very well could be motivated in part or in full by hatred of another group–perhaps outsiders, perhaps people who wish to undermine your faith and culture, perhaps a dishonest media or an untrustworthy politician. Perhaps criminals raped and murdered a family member of yours, and you feel that, as a class, violent criminals get off too easy, and your hatred of the criminal class motivates your support for harsher sentencing policies. Is this an invalid perspective? There is certainly room to discuss whether such a reaction is correct, but to dismiss it as morally invalid a priori is hubristic, uncompassionate, and inhuman. And of course, religious expression is often hateful… at least if it is serious.

In this case, the argument appears irrelevant because the businesses in question are legally not bound by the bill of rights. But this does not make hate speech any less important to protect, because law follows culture. Those who have become acclimated to the censorious policies of these monstrously powerful social media companies–and those who write said policies–begin to outnumber the rest of us at the ballot box. And haven’t these platforms marketed themselves as protectors of free speech from the beginning?

This censorship seems small, because it’s just Alex Jones, and maybe you’re of the opinion that he deserved it anyways (as they said of Salman Rushdie back in 1989). But Jones is the canary in the coal mine; we know this based on the justification used to remove him, and by seeing how that justification was used and how it could be applied to others. The target is not Jones, but hatred, and by extension, all attachments, all love, all deep care about anything.

Because diversity is our strength.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hate the media. I hate the New York Times and the New Yorker, CNN, MSNBC, Vox, Salon, and the rest of those lying lizards. I hate the academy, and what those incompetent bureaucratic have done to what was once an institution of learning. I hate the childless globalist utopians, seeking to rule over the rest of us for our own physical and economic security–at the cost of our identity–as if they had read C.S. Lewis’s description of tyranny and thought it were a guide for proper leadership.

All of these hatreds I hold are based on experience and on love. I wanted to become a journalist back in 2012, after I discovered Christopher Hitchens, and as a result I actually wrote for the school paper for a while. When I abandoned journalism after understanding what it was really like, I thought the academy would be the place for me. This is a position some of my family members still hold, no matter how many times I tell them that it is loathsome to me. The thing is that I love learning; I love books, I love writing papers, I love debating, and I even enjoy having my mind changed from time to time. It’s exciting! These are all the things that the academy was supposed to be about, but it has become corrupted. It stifles and squelches what it was once supposed to provide, and for this reason I hate it.

And of course, the globalist governmental bureaucracies threaten our very identities as distinct and unique peoples. They don’t care about us as ourselves, and they have no skin in the game, and yet they rule over us? Their arrogance alone makes them deserving of a slow execution.

I have given these three topics only a brief summary, for the sake of brevity, but I have experienced, researched, and contemplated them in greater depth and detail than the majority of the voting (and policy-making) population. Incidentally, I have also researched and contemplated hatred itself more than anyone else I know of. Who will say that my hatred is unjustified, invalid or is not valuable speech? Apparently all of the corporate tech leviathans.

I could be wrong, of course. But how would you correct me if we are not allowed to speak with each other openly and honestly?

I hate the media, the academy, and the global Kafka-Castle bearing down on the world, and to this, I think I will add the tech world. They are my enemies, who I wish to see destroyed. This, I believe, is the moral position, far superior to the fence-sitters, who depend upon hard men to do their fighting for them while they sleep in blissful ignorance… or perhaps in pretended ignorance.

There are two things you can do if you share this view: an easy thing, and a hard thing.

First, the easy thing is to stop putting up with smarmy slogans. I don’t think anyone has managed to capture this sentiment better than Jack Donovan:

But men, you can start by refusing to be afraid by refusing to bullshit the guys you see everyday. Stop bullshitting each other. Stop assuming that other men believe the things you don’t believe, and just say what you actually do believe.

If some guy gets offended and starts lecturing you — if he starts repeating all of the things he was taught in college or by the media, just ignore him. You probably didn’t actually have much in common, and he sounds like a cunt anyway.

Life is short and the world is getting stupid. Surround yourself with allies who share your values. 

And if you’ve ever found yourself saying you support things you really don’t even care about because you think that’s what people want to hear, like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho talking about ending apartheid and the nuclear arms race, stop doing that, you sociopathic scumbag.

Understand why hatred is necessary. Buy the book if necessary. Quit tolerating meaningless slogans used solely to destroy your freedoms, your identity, and your intelligence. Rejecting these things undermines the cultural consensus that these acts of censorship depend on for public validity and success. Don’t give it to them. Make them do it by force, if they’re willing to use force. Make them admit that they want to put down opinions they don’t like, rather than “protecting the experience of our users” or “online safety” or whatever other Orwellian euphemism they can fry up to distract you from the blood trail.

The second thing is harder, but it is more important.

Nothing is free. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” as they say. Social media sites like YouTube and Facebook are no exceptions. They come at a price, and the price–hidden for so long–is now becoming visible with the deplatforming of Jones and InfoWars. The second thing we have to do is to stop using their platforms.

This is where you have to dig down and figure out how deeply you really care about this. Many people will bitch and moan, but when it comes time to take action, they’ll vanish–not even over risk, but over inconvenience. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, all of these are the home territory of people who want control over you. It’s their turf; they’re the house. They can kick you whenever they want. You won’t beat the dealer. That’s just not how the game works.

If you don’t want these censors to control you, you have to quit using their free products. If you are dependent upon them, they have power over you.

This doesn’t mean you have to stop using social media. BitChute, idka, Gab, Minds, all of these are viable and growing alternatives, and if you have the skills, you could even design your own. Or, like me, you could de-technologize your life a little bit. Today marks my fifth day without a cell phone of any kind, and so far, the sky has not collapsed.

I’m sure leaving Instagram behind won’t hurt you. Might even make you more interesting to your family.

Ultimately, hate speech may be even more important than free speech. I am tentatively planning on debating Vox Day — who himself put out an excellent video on this subject — on the viability of free speech later this year (most likely in November or December). Vox is critical of free speech because he believes it to be historically detrimental to the West and to Christianity, as well as philosophically incoherent. I believe that free speech is actually defensible on historical and philosophical grounds. We’ll see who makes the better argument about free speech, but we both agree that hate speech is important. After all, hate speech is only a subset of free speech, and as I argued above, it is the most important kind of speech and the one in greatest need of protection.

And it’s the most important things they’re coming for, even if they have to do it slowly.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Free speech doesn’t include blatantly hateful or destructive speech in any civilization that wants continue to exist. Diversity can not coexist with hate speech. Who decides, how they decide, and how they act on those decisions is certainly up for debate. A charismatic figure spreading popular disinformation which slanders others is dangerous and hateful as we have seen. You logic lacks common sense and morality and is destructive.

    1. Well, you don’t have free speech if you ban hate speech. So your argument is that you can’t have civilization with free speech. But your presumption that hatred is obviously bad is hitting the wrong audience here: I actually wrote a whole book in defense of hatred, mostly on the basis of its inextricable connection with love. You can’t have love without the latent possibility of hatred, and a civilization without love is a civilization not worth being a part of. Incomprehension and shallow platitudes masquerading as “common sense” doesn’t make hatred inherently evil, and hate speech is only as bad as the love which motivates it is inappropriate… which is some of the time, but not always. One has to dig through what is worth loving and what is worth hating, and not casually dismissing all hatred as anti-civilizational. At the very least, one would have to hate that which threatens civilization, if one believed an abstraction like “civilization” as something worth loving, and then you’re back at square one.

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