Should there be limits on free speech? The answer is yes. What should the limits be and who should set those limits? These are more difficult questions. Today, one of the most powerful forces on this issue are the Social Media companies. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google have a lot of clout in this world – especially in the realm of free speech.
Facebook finally announced that they will not allow Louis Farrakhan to spew his hate on the platform. Of course, this is long overdue. But in the same breath, Facebook has chosen to lump in to this group ban – conservatives who shine a light on the types of Farrakhan. Are the likes of Laura Loomer people who should be censored?
Barry Nussbaum properly points out that Loomer should be applauded instead. Is she edgy? Yes. Is this hate speech and evil? Actually, it’s the exact opposite even if some people can’t stand her style and are offended by it. Nussbaum explains that Facebook has decided to placate their progressive supporters by lumping in conservatives with pure evil spewers like Farrakhan.
Speech that hurts other people’s feelings is not hate speech
This may seem unnecessary to point out, but it is indeed necessary. In today’s hyper-sensitive culture, anyone who is insulted – generally on the left – screams “hate speech.” People do not engage in the marketplace of ideas the way they used to. They just feel hurt, and try to silence the opposing views in order to guard their own sensitivities.
This is wrong – and dangerous. We need genuine freedom of speech in our society – with some limits on extremism. The limits should be against any call for direct violence against any non-terrorist group or person. The limits should also be against support of institutions of terrorism abroad or at home. Who defines what is terrorism is a more difficult question, but a non-governmental respected body of leading thinkers from both sides of the political spectrum should be able to come to agreement on this issue.
But outside of that, nearly everything else should be fair game. It is much more dangerous to silence people than it is to have people’s feelings hurt by microaggressions and the like. Let the arguments begin, and keep the pure haters off the stage. Facebook should lead the way on this and it will be rewarded as an honest arbiter of free speech in our society.