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what makes hate speech wrong?

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Here's an interesting article I came across which I wanted to post.  It is a review of Jeremy Waldron's The Harm in Hate Speech (2013).


Many modern constitutional democracies, including Canada, have prohibited what is colloquially known as hate speech—the expression of views about minority groups for the purpose of vilifying or fostering...

Here are a couple of interesting passages from the article:


Two core premises lie at the heart of Waldron’s defence of group libel laws. First, to be full participants in a liberal democratic society, individuals must have some assurance that they have the basic social standing to engage in activities that will allow them to flourish and thrive. They must be confident that they can find meaningful work, get an education, seek high office or otherwise participate in the political sphere, honour their spiritual and family commitments—or do any of the other things that make a life fulfilling—and that they will not be treated as presumptively less worthy or deserving simply by virtue of their membership in a racial, religious or ethnic group. ... The second premise is that people in a liberal democratic society cannot have the assurance that they will be treated with dignity if the physical landscape suggests that their social standing is a matter for public debate.


The way a society “looks,” then, does not just reflect or express its political health—it determines it. We do not need to wait to see whether a billboard or poster libelling a vulnerable group actually succeeds (or has succeeded) in moving someone to discriminate against a member of that group before deciding whether its presence makes our society less just. 

So I think that is Michael Plaxton unpacking Waldron's argument.

What do you all think about this?

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