Free Speech in Danger: Half of Democrats, A Third of Republicans Want to Ban “Hate Speech”

And remember, it’s the government that determines what “hate speech“ is.

“Stir up hatred against” is a fancy way of saying “be really mean to.”

New poll by YouGov shows just how far toward totalitarianism Americans are slipping:

YouGov’s latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups.

hate_speech1As Charles C. Cooke notes at National Review’s Corner,

It’s important to note here that “stir up hatred against” does not mean “instruct a crowd to kill” or “explicitly incite violence against.” Both of those things are already illegal under the Supreme Court’s 1969 Brandenburg standard. Rather, it is a fancy way of saying “be really mean to.”

Back to YouGov:

Support for banning hate speech is also particularly strong among racial minorities. 62% of black Americans, and 50% of Hispanics support criminalizing comments which would stir up hatred. White Americans oppose a ban on hate speech 43% to 36%.


Unlike much of the rest of the developed world… the United States does not make it a criminal offense for people to make statements which encourage hatred of particular groups. For example a prominent British columnist, Katie Hopkins, is being investigated by the police for referring to African migrants crossing the Mediterranean as “cockroaches.”

Cooke again:

You will note that Hopkins did not threaten African migrants, and nor did she ask her readers to meet her the next day and embark upon a violent crusade. She merely said horrible, uncouth things. In America, she would have been absolutely fine. In England, she can — and may — be prosecuted under the Public Order Act.

Should Americans wish to become more like the British, they would have to do no less than to repeal the First Amendment.

The fact that even more than a third of Republicans would be in favor of repealing the First Amendment in order to criminalize offensive speech is alarming, to put it mildly.

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