News Comment #11

For my first news comment, I’ve decided to discuss a Vox article called National Revulsion Over the Charlottesville March Shows Why We Shouldn’t Ban Hate Speech by Robert C. Post. The article was written in response to what had occurred  in Charlottesville, Virginia. The article outlines how the organizer of the alt right Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, had intended for the event to be peaceful, well as peaceful as an event involving people with hateful ideologies can be. However, many of his supporters brought weapons in addition to their hateful slogans which makes this an issue not only concerning free speech, but the lack of constitutional protection from serious threats.

It becomes an issue of protection from serious threats as the police remained passive long enough for chaos to erupt. Their purpose should have been to deescalate the situation as opposed to letting what they let go on occur. They should be held accountable to some extent for the events that occurred because they chose to remain passive in a time when it was so clear that they needed to intervene which could have prevented the injuries and the death that occurred. The people who were put at risk of danger from the rally were not protected from this true and serious threat to their lives which is the bigger issue here.

I get why people would call for hate speech to be banned, but that does not help to eliminate the problem as a whole. It in no way changes the beliefs that these people have or prevents them from passing it on to other or their children, and it doesn’t ensure that these people will adhere to laws against hate speech. Robert Post made a huge point at the end of the article when he says that the purpose of the constitutional right to free speech is to allow us to question what we should do and what should be done with what we know. Without knowledge of what people think and believe, as wrong as they may be, it becomes hard to change their opinions as well as understand things that are still wrong with our world today.

Banning hate speech isn’t going to solve the problem in it’s entirety because the problem lies in that these people are somehow allowed to essentially form a militia when protesters of other groups that remained peaceful  were met with brute force when faced with the police. This kind of treatment towards people who are so obviously willing to get violent because of their hateful beliefs is what needs to change. While I don’t believe hate speech should be banned because it brings issues in our society to light, I do believe that we should not be treating these people as though they are not a threat to those whom their hateful ideologies affect personally.


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