Tuesday, September 13, 2016

America needs stronger laws on inciting hate crimes

The time has come for the United States to join the civilized world by passing tough but fair laws against inciting hate crimes - like the laws of our northern neighbor Canada.

It's a fair topic for debate. I wouldn't support any laws that didn't have broad protections for free speech. Free speech works. But just as a liberal democracy protects free speech, it should also take the initiative against the calls to violence that threaten Americans all because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or (the big one lately) economic class. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the U.K. already have similar laws. Most of those countries are far from being among the world's worst dictatorships.

It's not a matter of hurt feelings. The real issue the outright incitement to actual hate crimes - a form of terrorism. The threat shouldn't have to be imminent or even likely in order to be legally punishable. Incitement is incitement.

These laws would not be unconstitutional by any means. The Constitution of Canada has free speech protections as wide as the First Amendment. (Some say it's wider, citing Canada's protection of picketing, though in fact the U.S. is supposed to protect picketing too.) But in Canada, the idea of challenging the laws against incitement is considered laughable.

I'm looking at you, Facebook. Facepoo is classism central. Every right-wing classist meme on Facebook is an incitement to hate crimes. Every single solitary one. We don't need to beat around the bush about this.

In a more sensible world, we could expect Facebook to police itself by deleting these memes. Unfortunately, Facepoo is more inclined to delete users who argue against these memes. Facebook needs to act, or the law must.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately it is true about Facefuck. Anyone who challenges right wing spam from Gufus W and the religious slur filled from his tag team of troll buds is deleted..