Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Voices of Moderation

I just posted this at Washington Square News where it is awaiting moderation.

"Do values of free speech override the values of equality and of preventing profound personal offense to any singular group?"  Yes, I think it's pretty clear that they do, and should.  Leaving aside any other issues with this article -- for example, it is the writer of this article, not the writer of the advertisements, who explicitly assumes that "Jihad" is synonymous with all of Islam -- I will simply point out that if we outlaw any speech that causes "profound personal offense to any singular group," then this article itself would be outlawed, because there are people (including myself) who feel profoundly offended by it.

Perhaps the author should clarify what, if any, other criteria ought to be met in order for something to qualify as "hate speech" that can legitimately be outlawed.  And then she ought to discuss how those standards would apply to, say, calls for eliminating the existence of the State of Israel.

BTW, I'm Jewish, and I'm also libertarian, so I believe the United States government should be neutral in the Middle East, and not supply government aid to any country there.