Summary: No Free Speech Without Hate Speech

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No Free Speech Without Hate Speech The current rise of nationalism in Europe, along with the rise of Donald Trump in America has led to an increase in the use of the term “hate speech” in the nightly news reports across the country. Yet, there is no actual legal definition of Hate speech. The American Bar Association defines hate speech as , “ speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits” (“Debating Hate Speech”). Hate Speech, by this definition, does not include speech which incites an immediate breach of peace or are “fighting words.” In Europe, countries ranging from Denmark to France, including the United Kingdom have laws against Hate …show more content…
In his book The Harm in Hate Speech, Jeremy Waldron, professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University, develops a unique modern argument based in part on morality and social duty. He presents a new concept called dignity, which he defines a measure of social standing that requires one to be treated equally as member of an society (Waldron 4). Waldron believes that Hate Speech isn't just speech to say what it is on your mind; it is speech to degrade other's dignity, and as such the government has moral responsibility to offer their protection. (Waldron 4-8). This idea of the government obligation to protect the dignity of its citizens is not a constitutional, but a moral right. However, it seems as an attempt to circumvent one of the the central tenets of modern political philosophy, John Staurt Mill's harm principle by not requiring harm to the actual person only to their dignity. In essence making the assertions since everyone has a right to dignity, anything that harms dignity harms the person as well. Assigning a transitive attribute to rights or even the harm principle itself easily causes the argument to become illogical because it would be illogical to transfer fights to, for example, one's life. Every person has a right to life therefore, the government has to moral obligation to protect its citizens lives from any emotional harm or offensive behavior. This is one of the reasons why the appeal