Free Speech vs Free Will

 

rulingsword

Drawing from my ex-co-blogger of an image that I created on the computer, shows my core values of love, unity, truth, knowledge, and free will

I already wrote my opinion on this issue in No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”, and its reactions were…argumentative as I desired (a friend taught me that the best way to provoke people was to say that they don’t have the right to do something, and my goal was to provoke conversations and opinions).

But we can write article after article on opinions for or against “freedom of speech”, but it doesn’t get to what the essence of this conflict for those like myself actually is.

In my view, this fight is between two concepts: free speech and free will.

My problem with my opponents is that they believe that people should be able to say anything no matter the consequences of their words, but don’t think about what that actually means and the effects it has. It’s a conflict of priorities: the right for the oppressor to spread fear, hatred, and stigma vs the right of the oppressed not to be stigmatized, hated, or live in fear.

The instance that inspired this article happened today in an argument with a classmate in class regarding Milo not being allowed to speak at Berkeley by the protesters, an incident which I touched on briefly in the introduction in my article on the ableist notion of slacktivism. She stuck to her guns even as I mentioned how he was planning on outing undocumented students on a live stream, saying that they could file lawsuits…against a rich celebrity guy that would probably fail while being afraid for their lives and at risk of harm or worse because their names were released to people who have already shown that they’re more likely to harm undocumented people in the wake of Trump’s increasing anti-latinx rhetoric.

Our conflict essentially comes down to this: which is more important:

Milo’s right to say whatever he wants?

Or the right of the people he targets not to be hurt or afraid for their lives?

In my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating where I called Nazis Nazis, I described how someone told me that autistics are horror shows will be aborted in the future and my friend was told by someone who he thought was interested in him and her friends on a phone call that the world is too good for us autistic fucks to live in.

Which is more important, their rights to tell us that the world is literally not meant for us to exist in or my friend to not be driven to the edge of suicide by that 45 dehumanizing hate speech?

People will claim “well, the first amendment,” but…personally, the words on a paper written hundreds of years ago by racist sexist rich white men, many of them slave owners, are less important to me than the safety of my fellow humans today.

I believe that humans deserve to be free of hatred, fear, and stigma based on things intrinsic to their nature like orientation/disability/gender/mental illness/etc, and that we should be protected and protect others from degradation and dehumanization.

I believe it is right and just to protect people from harm from those who seek to cause them harm.

I believe that we should choose the freedom of the oppressed over believing in free speech of their oppressors, enabling them to incite violence and fear.

When given the choice between first amendment rights and something that I consider a basic human right, I’m choosing the latter, and honestly feel like the morals of those who choose to love the hateful and enable them in their tyranny instead of caring about those they hate and seek to bring harm to are fucked up. My morals aren’t based on the Constitution (which really only protects people from the government not from the court of public opinion) but on the belief that humans deserve to be happy and free from hatred. I refuse the notion that I should consider speech that hurts my fellow Outcast sacred and deserving of my defense just because old dead people said so. I seek to unite those who are fighting against that oppression in The Outcast Army Facebook group because I see so many who are determined to enable those who hate us to cause us harm. The choice between the oppressor and the oppressed should be an easy one, but to people I honestly consider immoral in their defense of hatred, it somehow is. To them all I can say is that we see you, and know who we can trust.

No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”

hate-speech-is-not-free-speech-e1333808600761

Hate Speech is not Free Speech

“You have the right to your opinion.”

This phrase is everywhere in our culture. People trot out the first amendment (though people misunderstand what it means), quote “Voltaire” saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (was actually from his biographer), and it’s always mentioned any time someone decides to speak out against intolerant speech.

People argue that we need to respect all views as equal, that maybe people may have a reason for their bigotry, something that makes their hatred valid. Maybe they’re not actually saying the hateful thing they said no matter how obvious it is.

That’s wrong, morally so.

I already posted once on how I blame tolerance of intolerance for Trump winning. In the end I said:

We need to combat the hateful and protect the Outcast under threat, actually act against the hatred with our words and our feet, they are now actually attacking people countrywide in large numbers. We didn’t rise up then, but we need to now.

Instead I quite often see people do this stuff…I’ve dealt with it twice personally. The first time was a response to my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating (CW: Inhuman hatred towards autistics, eugenics, swearing). In that, I share where a woman told me “Science WILL find away (sic) to abort autistic people. This is what we are moving towards,” after she told me that autism was a horror show and telling me that I wasn’t “(autistic, autistic)”, a common tactic to silence autistic adults by telling us that because we can talk and explain stuff we’re not autistic and don’t know what we’re talking about. This was an event that had me shaking with rage and shock for days after (and as I write this, to be quite honest) as I didn’t expect it to happen (especially on that speech) and I didn’t realize that people would be so vile, advocating eugenics, to my face.

I shared it on my page and someone started trying to find some nuance of “maybe she meant that people will be able to choose to abort.” This was extremely invalidating (when people are hurt, the best idea isn’t actually to find why they may be wrong), as well as complete nonsense based on the context clues that even I could see (I’m admittedly not always the best at that).

The second time was more recent, when I shared this article about Ann Coulter tweeting “14!”, something that relates to white supremacy (considering her words in the past, it’s quite understandable why the responses from my friends, especially my non-white friends, were quite unsurprised, saying that we already knew this). In response, someone started looking for other reasons for this and found something that was mentioned and countered within the article itself.

Here’s the thing: Devils neither need nor deserve advocates.

Hate speech is harmful. Views of degradation and bigotry towards the oppressed and Outcast hurt. Being told we’re subhuman, that we’re going to hell, that how we were born was wrong, that we’re horror shows, is seriously damaging and happens all the time. It causes fear that we may get even worse from these people, especially when it’s actual threats like the woman who was told that she’d be lit on fire if she wore her hijab. It traps us in a cage of fear for our safety and not knowing who thinks that or wants us to be hurt or dead. It inflicts emotional trauma that these people think we deserve for our existence. Their speech takes away our freedom to be ourselves.

But you know what just adds to that hurt?

You who do this.

Each time you say this stuff, if you tell us any of the things that I mentioned, what you’re saying is that they have a right to say stuff that hates us. They deserve to be able to think that stuff about us, to think that our existence is morally wrong or deserving of suffering or just overall lesser. You’re saying that you’ll defend to the death the voices of people who want to hurt us, to kill us, to cause emotional pain solely because of how we were born (and yes I mentioned Muslims and am saying the way you’re born [considering it as racism], as let’s be completely honest here, when people call Muslims evil, they’re thinking about people from the Middle East and equating the two, it’s no coincidence that every time someone who looks Arab is involved in a terrorist attack everyone says they’re automatically Muslim). You’re looking for reasons to justify people thinking or saying that we are unequal to humanity, and saying we’re bad to defend our right to exist. When we’re feeling hurt, instead of caring about our feelings and standing by us, you rush to find alternate reasons for what the people who hurt us did to tell us we’re wrong to feel that way, to invalidate us. Beyond that, you enable this hatred to continue by deciding to silence us by letting those who feel these ways about us to keep speaking and bringing suffering to us. You choose to stand with our oppressors and their right to cause us suffering over our right to exist freely. You’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt than give us the benefit of your trust, care, and validation.

We notice this, and your choices to do this makes you just as great as a threat to our lives because when it comes down to impact, you have shown that, while you might not say those things, you’d much rather stand by their hatred than support us against them. By not standing against the system of oppression you help it continue. You normalize it, treat it as something that should exist no matter what harm it causes, no matter what stigma it might perpetuate. You let us know that when our backs are against the wall we should distrust you just as much as them because that’s when you’ll go to their side.

Nobody has the right to hate others, to cause harm, and now that this hatred is happening more and more, it’s time to start condemning it. If you don’t, we know where you stand.

-Laoch Onórach