Hate Speech Law: A Philosophical Examination (Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy)
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Hate speech law can be found throughout the world. But it is also the subject of numerous principled arguments, both for and against. These principles invoke a host of morally relevant features (e.g., liberty, health, autonomy, security, non-subordination, the absence of oppression, human dignity, the discovery of truth, the acquisition of knowledge, self-realization, human excellence, civic dignity, cultural diversity and choice, recognition of cultural identity, intercultural dialogue, participation in democratic self-government, being subject only to legitimate rule) and practical considerations (e.g., efficacy, the least restrictive alternative, chilling effects). The book develops and then critically examines these various principled arguments. It also attempts to de-homogenize hate speech law into different clusters of laws/regulations/codes that constrain uses of hate speech, so as to facilitate a more nuanced examination of the principled arguments. Finally, it argues that it is morally fitting for judicial and legislative judgments about the overall warrant of hate speech law to reflect principled compromise. Principled compromise is characterized not merely by compromise over matters of principled concern but also by compromise which is itself governed by ideals of moral duty or civic virtue (e.g., reciprocity, equality, and mutual respect).
of group defamation law, the easier it becomes to condemn it for being destructive of free speech values. Nevertheless, one of the drawbacks with this usage is that it stretches to breaking point the ordinary legal meaning of the term ‘defamation’, to wit, making false statements of fact that are damaging to reputation. Another is that it makes it much harder to explain what could be distinctive, normatively speaking, about a legal regime in which false damaging statements of fact may be
university, or a think tank) or any professional body to which he belongs. If the expert is found to have deliberately exaggerated the relevant threat level so as to give effect to his own personal prejudices, biases, or hatred toward Muslims, then his speech could be lifted out of the protected category of expert testimony and into the proscribable category of incitement to hatred. The present account has been implicitly accepted by some courts. In their application of incitement to hatred
application of the relevant section of the Swedish Criminal Code was consistent with the ‘necessary in a democratic society’ test articulated in Art. 10(2) of the ECHR. In doing so, the Court made clear that it took into consideration the fact that ‘the leaflets were left in the lockers of young people who were at an impressionable and sensitive age and who had no possibility to decline to accept them.’19 Now, I do not presume to know which of the foregoing accounts of undue influence is
statements denying the Holocaust. One might think it wrong or inappropriate to protect Holocaust denial under the banner of the Principle of Truth if the only viable reason or epistemological basis for doubting personal testimonies relating to the Holocaust is philosophical doubt as to the veracity of all human sense perception. This, at least, is the view of Alan Haworth: I think readers will agree with me it is not a reason which will hold much appeal for historians, for Holocaust survivors, or
it might be argued on Mill’s behalf that what really counts in favor of the right to freedom of expression is that people develop their epistemic virtues to the best of their ability, that they endeavor to rise to the dignity of thinking beings. Although there is a sense in which someone could acquire knowledge of the Holocaust without ever consulting radical, opposing opinions on the subject, if they did so, they would not be realizing the full extent of their powers of critical reflection. They