There’s a couple of terms in play here that are so ill-defined and so overused as to be worse than meaningless; they are emotionally weighted so that people not given to analysis of such things perceive them as verbal saps.
The first is “hate speech.” Hatred is an emotion, it is not a form of speech. The concept of “hate speech” involves attaching a motive to what is said, or addressing the speaker’s frame of mind. It does not even pretend to refer to the tone in which a statement was uttered.
Speech can be hateful, and it can express hatred, but the concept of “hate speech” is invalid. We must deal with the words, not make assumptions about the emotional state of the speaker. Consider this. A man might say, “Homosexuality is a sin,” not because he hates homosexuals, but because his child is committing what he earnestly considers a sin, and his very heart is breaking into a million pieces. His emotional state may very well be one of intense love and equally intense agony. Certainly we must consider the speaker’s intent and tone, but not as the core content of what was said.
The same is true of “hate crimes.” We have a judicial system that cannot or will not convict or imprison people for murder, which is a physical act – verifiable by fundamental sensory perception – you’ve got a corpse, for cryin’ out loud! Because of this utter and contemptible impotence, we have invented a new species of wrong – the “hate crime” – that involves a motive, which can NOT be verified or observed. Because there can be no iron-clad evidence of a person’s motive or frame of mind, the courts are confident in convicting and imprisoning people for things that can’t even be seen by others. The twin lunacies of “hate speech,” and “hate crimes” testify to the intellectual laziness, at best, or intellectual cowardice, at worst, of those whom we have allowed to speak for us. They are laws against a specific thought, which, in and of itself, hurts no one, and which, if the truth were known, has found lodging in the minds of every one of us at one time or another. Hate, without an action, harms no one. An action, with or without hate, may be a crime. Are we really so engrossed in intruding into our neighbor’s minds that we are willing to call a thought a crime?
The second term is “propaganda.” Propaganda is nothing more or less than information that is transmitted by some means – verbally, over the air, in print, or on film – that is meant to change the way people think about something. All – that is ALL – expository speech falls into this category. It is one of the most transparent and foolish of all double standards. When I say, “Socialism is bad because it punishes achievement,” that’s an informative statement, but when someone else says, “Socialism is good because it gives the little guy a break,” well, that’s propaganda! The term is used by adherents to almost all ideologies when they want to make their opponents look evil or manipulative. If someone says something that is wrong or misleading, such as, “Homosexuals just LIVE to sodomize little children,” that’s not propaganda; It’s a damned lie. Let us not pretty it up with a 4-syllable tribute to some professor of linguistic analysis who wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouth full of it.
The moment someone starts throwing around the terms propaganda or hate speech, it’s pretty certain they have no real rebuttal or answer to what was said. They don’t like it, but are too immature, emotionally or intellectually, to admit they have been wrong. Lacking a real answer, they throw out one of these terms. Other similar terms that are used in precisely the same way are “ideologue,” “radical,” and “opinionated.”
Think about it for a second. Have you ever been accused of being an ideologue, a radical, or opinionated by someone who agreed with you? Me neither. Have you ever been accused of uttering hate speech or propaganda by someone who agreed with you? Me neither. I’d dearly love to see these kinds of polemic punji pits fall into disuse.
27 Dec., 2013