Free speech is free speech, hateful or not

I’m sure all of us, as children, learned the idiom “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me”.  Right?

Clearly, someone didn’t get the message.

Like violence, hate speech can also be a physical imposition on the freedom of others. That is because language has a psychological effect imposed physically — on the neural system, with long-term crippling effects.

Here is the reason:

All thought is carried out by neural circuitry — it does not float in air. Language neurally activates thought. Language can thus change brains, both for the better and the worse. Hate speech changes the brains of those hated for the worse, creating toxic stress, fear and distrust — all physical, all in one’s neural circuitry active every day. This internal harm can be even more severe than an attack with a fist. It imposes on the freedom to think and therefore act free of fear, threats, and distrust. It imposes on one’s ability to think and act like a fully free citizen for a long time.

That’s why hate speech imposes on the freedom of those targeted by the hate. Since being free in a free society requires not imposing on the freedom of others, hate speech does not fall under the category of free speech.

There’s more at the link (although it’s not worth reading).

Listen up, o special snowflake:  you’re wrong.  You see, all speech involves neural circuitry, and therefore all speech “neurally activates thought”.  According to your thesis, that makes any and all speech potentially harmful if you react to it in the wrong way.  You asked a girl to go out with you, and she refused?  Harm.  A couple of jocks at school made fun of your nerdy physique?  Harm.  Your boss yelled at you for doing something wrong?  Harm.  Yet . . . none of those examples affect you neurally any more or less than so-called “hate speech”.

Conclusion:  hate speech is as much a part of free speech as any other kind of speech.  Of course, the wrong kind of speech can lead to rejection, or a lawsuit, or a knuckle sandwich, or other expressions of disapproval.  That doesn’t make hate speech any less free.  It simply means that it – like all other forms of speech – might have consequences that the speaker would prefer not to experience.

Therefore, choose your words wisely, according to the time, place and company;  and, if you find yourself on the receiving end of hate speech, respond appropriately – but don’t limit the universality of free speech, just because you don’t like some of it.  That’s what a child does when it throws its toys out of the pram during a temper tantrum.  It’s not how an adult responds.  So . . .

Grow up!



  1. Hey Peter;

    This is psycobabble to support the suppression of "hate speech" or any speech that the protagonist don't agree with. This is bovine scatology cloaked in gibberish. Stuff like this annoys me because it shows that they don't prize the individual but rather the group. They forgot that we have individual rights granted by our creator that supersede any diktats from the state. The average leftist likes the group because any rights that are granted by the state can be removed and as long as they are in control, than they will be responsible for the dissemination of the proper thoughts and improper thoughts will be crushed.

  2. Oh… followed the link and it's just George Lakoff blowing hot air. He's been insane forever. His only use is as an example to show that you can disagree with Chomsky and still be wrong.

  3. A problem of blog posts / article is a name of the a person is used, and I have no idea who they are and their political views. So I have to go Google, oops DuckDuckGo it, and find out for example, the Republican quoted saying negative things about Trump to give the article balance is a Never Trumper.

    I suggest giving a link to Infogalactic- good alternative to Wikipedia that is not as biased.

    Prof. Lakoff is a UC Berkeley Prof. Pretty far left.

  4. I generally don't go in for the 'inspirational quote' type thing, but years ago I saw an artsy-fartsy poster with an aphorism that's stuck with me to this day:

    Man is not affected by events, so much as his reaction to them.

  5. We are certainly subjected to enough hate speech by the liberal socialists and the lame stream media that you'd think they would understand the principle.

  6. Desensitization: In psychology, it is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative, aversive or positive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.

    You gain toughness to abuse, harsh language, etc., through exposure and various desensitization techniques. Allergies and autoimmune disorders are when your immune system is not sufficiently desensitized to some ordinary thing and it overreacts.

    The problem is that our schools, in the process of trying to make people empathetic and sensitive to those who need support, they have managed to do the exact opposite, and make many people hypersensitive to every little thing, rendering them unfit for the real world. It's making snowflakes through a process that is exactly the opposite of desensitization, with their focus on microaggressions, diversity, and sensitivity training. They are making kids allergic to the normal interpersonal conflicts and disagreements, weaponizing fragility to attack the ordinary through their very empathy.

    Leftism sucks the joy from life… often the life from the living, too.

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