There is a tendency in some quarters to censor speech that offends protected groups. Such groups include, but are not limited to, blacks, Hispanics, gays, and Muslims. God help you if you’re a black Hispanic gay Muslim, but you’re not going to be insulted in public without severe repercussions. Speech codes prohibiting “hate speech,” meaning any racial or ethnic or religion-based “slur” on campuses across what used to be a free nation are symptoms of a loss of liberty.
You can call a Christian all sorts of names; you can defame Jesus Christ; you can celebrate a crucifix dipped in urine. All protected speech. Offensive as all get-out, but protected. As it should be. But call a black that ugly word beginning the “n” or a gay that other ugly word beginning with “f” (no, not that word) and watch out, brother. Your speech isn’t free.
I don’t advocate using such words, they are quite offensive. I do, however, advocate having an absolute right to use them. My First Amendment rights trump your right to not be offended. Period.
Are there any limits on free speech? Yes, the extreme example of not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater or other academic situations that don’t seem to occur in real life. The point is that one does not limit speech that certain groups find offensive because there were lynchings many years ago. Or, do any idiots out there believe that yelling racially offensive words will lead to lynchings or race riots?
Oh, right. Blacks are so stupid and unable to control themselves that they will riot if someone yells an offensive word… But not everyone is as stupid as members of the Congressional Black Caucus (one of whom believes that Guam will tip over), who claimed they were called the you-know-which-word when no evidence for this exists. This must be what those willing to circumscribe our freedom of speech must believe. Blacks, and other protected minorities, have no self control, and, like children who are taunted on the playground, will strike out.
This appears to be the Left’s mindset, who continue to treat blacks and other special groups as though they were children. Now, enter Elena Kagan, Obama’s nominee for SCOTUS. From her limited body of work, we find this (via Washington Examiner):
“Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.”
Now if you don’t know who is going to determine the “societal costs” of speech, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the growth of government control under Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and, now, worst of all, Obama.
Dollars-to-donuts the “societal costs” are going to be protecting approved minorities from being offended. The erosion of a fundamental liberty is not, apparently, considered such a cost. This kind of balancing act merely hastens the continuing erosion of our Constitution.