When the perpetually angry Howard Dean made his denture-dropping statement that “Hate speech is not protected by the Constitution,” I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was just hoping to reach low-information voters with his words of wisdom. Certainly, anyone with a thimbleful of knowledge would laugh at such a statement.
Hey, Howard, guess what? This isn’t 1960 anymore; it’s the 21st century, and the average voter is armed with a computer, the Internet, and cable TV. Today, many of the most deplorable common folk know more than most of the highly paid anchors on television.
Obviously, the Constitution protects all speech, no matter how offensive anyone might believe it to be. That’s easily verified by simply checking the Constitution itself. The bigger, underlying question is, what is hate speech, anyway? To answer that, let’s back up a second.
Whenever someone refers to the term hate speech, for starters he is basing his comment on a false assumption — the assumption that hate speech can be defined objectively. It can’t. That’s right, there is no such thing as “hate speech.” It’s a figment of the liberal’s subjective imagination.
What I think of as hateful, you may think is good, and vice versa. It always gets back to that same old Ayn Rand question, “Who shall decide?” Chuckie Schumer? Nutty Nancy? Pocahontas? Or maybe Tom Perez or Perez Hilton, depending upon the degree of vulgarity you enjoy?
Hmm … or how about letting Madonna make the decision. In the 1942 Supreme Court case Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the court ruled that the only words that are off limits are those that “inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.” So if I’m Madonna’s attorney, I’m going to argue that her saying that she’s “thought an awful lot about bombing the White House” isn’t hate speech. After all, she’s only thought about; she hasn’t actually encouraged people to do it.
The term “hate crime” is even more nebulous. Here’s a pretty typical definition of “hate crime”: “a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.”
First of all, no one can say for certain what’s in a person’s mind. But, more important, if someone murders his next-door neighbor, does it really matter why he murdered him? Dead is dead. It’s a bit bizarre that if an attorney can convince a court that his client didn’t hate his next-door neighbor when he murdered him, he should get a lighter sentence.
What I find fascinating is that while Howard Dean is trying to stop the Ann Coulters of the world from speaking freely, millions of violent and obscene liberals defy the handful of exceptions to First Amendment protection on a daily basis, meaning that they really are guilty of hate speech according to the Constitution. Yet, rarely is anyone prosecuted for his or her “hate speech” or “hate crimes.”
Howard, you and I spent a couple of minutes on an elevator together a few years back, and I was surprised and impressed with your good behavior. (Methinks the fact that you were speaking at a conservative/libertarian conference had something to do with it.)
So, as a favor to you, and with goodwill in my heart, allow me to say in the humblest possible way that it’s time for you to get off the stage and SHUT UP! And please — please — take Horrible Hillary with you. It really is time for you tired old lunatics to voluntarily put yourselves out to pasture.