A call for a consistent law on hate speech

Vivek G. writes:

The inconsistency between laws prohibiting hate speech and the continuing publication and dissemination of the Koran is not emphasized as much as it should be. It seems to me that since the Koran itself incites hatred [LA adds: indeed, since the Koran is by far the greatest inciter of hatred in history], there are only two logically consistent options:

(1) have hate speech laws, and ban the Koran; or

(2) have no hate speech laws, thus allowing criticism of the Koran.

- end of initial entry -

Daniel B. writes:

Reading Vivek G.’s comment regarding banning the Koran as hate speech, it occurred to me that such a reaction would play into the left-liberal concept of religion as a divisive and destructive element within society. I am sure secular liberals would be more than happy to ban or censor the Koran, and just as happy similarly to bowdlerize the Bible.

Gerry Neal of the blog Throne Altar Liberty writes:

Of the two options Vivek G. has presented, number two is the best for a number of reasons. Daniel B. has pointed one of these out—that a banning of the Koran would inevitably be turned against the Christian and Jewish Scriptures as well. There is also the fact that banning the Koran would mean that those who wish to show from the Koran why Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Western culture and civilization and the natural enemy of such would be prevented by such a ban from doing so. Most importantly there is the fact that laws against “hate speech” rank among the most odious of inventions ever to be dreamed up by the progressive liberal mind.

A “consistent law on hate speech” is, of course, a chimera. Such laws are always inconsistent because their true purpose could never be achieved if they were consistently applied. Imagine if prosecutors started using laws against “hate speech” against rappers who call for violence and bloodshed against whites in their lyrics or against militants who blame Christianity for all the evils of the world? That would never happen, although that kind of speech is far more hateful in its tone and content than the “hate speech” that is actually prosecuted, because treating such things as “hate speech” would not further the ends of the revolution which progressives hope to accomplish through “hate speech” laws.

LA replies:

“A ‘consistent law on hate speech’ is, of course, a chimera.”

Of course you are correct. And of course I have never supported proposals, such as Geert Wilders’s, to ban the Koran. However, I think Wilders and others have advocated that position not because they actually sought to ban the Koran, which would be absurd, but (1) as a way of drawing attention to the real contents of the Koran and the real nature of Islam; and (2) as a way of showing the mad injustice of the hate speech laws which criminalize, e.g., “Muhammad was a pedophile,” but allow hundreds of statements that are printed in the Koran and repeated constantly by Muslims that are infinitely worse.

James N. writes:

I am opposed to dignifying “hate” speech laws by trying to include the Koran.

My basic positions are: (1) there is no such thing as “hate” speech which is susceptible to neutral definition; and (2) if there were, religious books should be excluded.

The affinity that devotees of Islam have for the supposed teachings of their god are not susceptible to definition as “hatred.”

Opposition to the utterances of Allah should be based on their falsity, not on the subjective mood of the god in question.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 23, 2011 01:22 PM | Send

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