Do we still believe in a robust freedom of speech?

(CNN) — America used to be a place where we said, "Give me liberty or give me death." We live by a credo that "freedom isn't free," and that our Constitution is worth dying for. How inspirational it is to believe that this is the wind of thought that blows underneath the Eagle's wings.

Unfortunately, whenever that wind becomes just a little too gusty for comfort, we find out just how little relationship our poetic credo has to our collective guts.

The latest example: Nine seconds of video of a number of boys singing an offensive song. Immediately, the University of Oklahoma expelled two of the boys for their speech. Forget whether you like the speech or not. That is not relevant. These boys got kicked out of a public school for singing a song, on their own time, in a privately rented bus, simply because the government didn't like the content of their song. (source)

While in a my college years, a black woman I knew said she opposed trying to force racists back into their shells and shutting them up because she wanted to know where people stood. She actually felt safer when the racists and people with views in opposition to hers on issues affecting her operated out in the open.

Today, it seems we aren't satisfied with avoiding expressions we dislike, we actually want to suppress their expression.

Are we on the right track?

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Are we on the right track?

Hell, no.  In particular, I oppose rules against "hate speech."

Agreed.  I also oppose laws against "hate crime".  A crime is a crime, assault is assault, murder is murder.  It makes little difference to me WHY they did it.  That's entering into thought-crime territory.  We should be punishing behaviors, not motivations.

"Sorry. We could have charged your child's murderer with more except that there was no hate involved."

We could have charged your child's murderer with more except that there was no hate against a minority group involved.

Plenty of crime involves hate but isn't a "hate crime". I always thought it a bit unfair that some crime against certain group of people is treated as worse than the exact same crime against another group of people... considering the difference between said people is usually something outside of anyones control, i.e. skin colour, sexual orientation, etc.

  Hate crime is the whitewashed  name for domestic terrorism.

Actually, Gary, they are somewhat opposite in nature. They are certainly different in important respects. The goal of a domestic terrorist is to terrorize the public at large to a general political end.The goal of a hate criminal is usually to vent his personal dislike on an individual or a relatively small set of individuals only to satisfy his hatred for them.

No Unseen 

Hate crime and terrorism aren't "somewhat opposite in nature". Generally speaking terrorism is a subclass of hate crime. Long before the term "hate crime" was coined the KKK openly described them selves as a terror organization

KKK on the Beatles 

  

Hate crimes are about hate. Terrorism is about politics.

I'm not going to chenge my view because of something said by a bunch of ignorant racist redneck asshats.

Back in 2002,  two incidents less than two month apart occurred on American soil. In the first incident, a man approached the airport ticket counter of a middle eastern based airline and opened fire on airline customers and employees, killing two and wounding dozens. 

In the second incident An FBI investigation lead to a home where agents found plans for attacking 50 houses of worship, They also found a large stockpile of weapons including light armor piercing rockets, grenades, .30 cal machine guns, and sniper rifles,.

  One perp acted alone, the other had accomplices.
  Both perps were assessed to be mentally unstable.
 Both were angered by media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict (2002 was a bad year for both sides)

 One incident was labeled an act of terrorism, the other a hate crime.

 One perp was an Arab immigrant and the other was an American from the Jewish community

Where does hate speech fit in, you may ask?
While some European news outlets gave balanced accounts of te conflict, showing aggression from both sides, however, American media predominately portrays the Israelis as the victims. Fox News with its strong emphasis on opinion editorials masquerading as news disseminates misinformation to the public that leads viewers to paranoid uncertainty. Hate speech can, and often does precipitate both hate crimes and terrorist actions.

  Here's a challenge:Without trying to google the answer, or using cheat sheets, or looking at the answers in the back of the book, can you determine which incident was terrorism and which was a hate crime snd the nationality of the perp, 

They were both mentally unstable? In that case they weren't terrorists or haters. They were crazy people acting out.

I think mental instability is a prerequisite for terrorists and for haters who take action.

I agree. The difference is the perpetrator's attitude toward the victims. In a hate crime, the perp HATES the victims (whether because of race, religion, etc.). But with terrorism, the perpetrators are totally ambivalent toward the victims. How many Muslims were killed in 9/11? They weren't killed out of hate - they were innocent victims of a wider political agenda. BIG difference.

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