The frightening realities of hate speech laws

Apr 29, 2017, 6:31 AM | Updated: May 1, 2017, 3:57 pm

How does the world deal with hate speech?

“Anyone who in a ridiculing, slanderous, insulting, threatening or any other manner publicly assaults a person or a group of people on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion or sexual orientation, shall be fined or jailed for up to 2 years.”

That is the law in Iceland.

RELATED: Kshama Sawant walks back on calls to disrupt freeways

“He who publicly, orally, in writing or graphically, intentionally expresses himself insultingly regarding a group of people because of their race, their religion or their life philosophy, their heterosexual or homosexual orientation or their physical, psychological or mental disability, shall be punished by imprisonment of no more than a year or a monetary penalty of the third category.”

That is the law in the Netherlands.

Do you want these sorts of punishments in the United States? I would hope not. Though the First Amendment is often misunderstood, most people get the gist of it. With a few exceptions, we can say pretty much whatever we want. We can ridicule, insult and mock without reproach — at least for now.

Hate speech in America

I don’t want to overreact to an emerging line of thinking that only nice speech should be protected, but it is concerning. Nice speech, of course, is speech that you agree with. Any speech outside of this realm is more and more commonly being called hate speech.

Can we define hate speech? No, it’s subjective. Even if we could, it should still be protected. We should rather err on the side of overprotecting speech rather than eliminating it. That seems like a fairly obvious statement but a lot of potentially prominent people don’t agree. For example, Seattle mayoral candidate Cary Moon.

Thankfully, Dave Ross challenged her on this piece of misguided idealism. Read the take here.

Consider the two European laws laid out above and understand that there are many people in this country that would absolutely support implementing them here.

So would we jail the author of a controversial joke? The joke infers that Hispanic men are rapists, kind of like what Trump said, right?

“I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual.”

It certainly ridicules a skin color. It certainly insults a certain race. So, jail time, right?

The joke was made by Ann Coulter, who just was banned from speaking on the campus of UC Berkeley. They decided this kind of comment, even in jest, was intolerable.

OK. I have to stop here and admit that I just misled you to make a point. The joke was actually made by Amy Schumer, who is welcome to perform anywhere she pleases.

You see the problem here?

This is why the term hate speech is meaningless and undefinable. May it remain that way.

I will not be voting for Cary Moon.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

downtown Seattle Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Downtown Seattle Target barely surviving as shoplifting ravages store

The Target department store in downtown Seattle is being absolutely ravaged by shoplifters. I saw two incidents in 12 minutes.
2 days ago
hostages, Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle man live-tweeted ‘hostage taking.’ He keeps getting out of jail

A man who says he suffers from mental illness attempted to take hostages at a Seattle Target. He's pulled this dangerous stunt before.
3 days ago
Seattle police, COVID...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Concern as 20% of fully vaccinated Seattle police hit with COVID this month

A fully vaccinated Seattle Police Department suffered nearly 20% of its staff contracting COVID in just the first 21 days of January.
3 days ago
King County jail, staffing...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: King County fired the unvaccinated, now pays $103 an hour to fix staffing crisis

The staffing situation at King County jails is so dire that some correction officers are now being paid over $100 an hour for overtime.
7 days ago
car prowl...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man allegedly car prowls for an hour in broad daylight, as police couldn’t respond

A man was caught on video as he appears to car prowl in Tacoma. Police officers were nowhere to be seen, but even if they were, he couldn't be detained.
8 days ago
MLK Day assembly...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle-area school uses MLK Jr. Day to bash police and USA

A local school used a Martin Luther King Day assembly to amplify virulently anti-police and anti-American messages. Is this what the holiday is meant for?
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
The frightening realities of hate speech laws