In our latest Legal Spirits podcast, Mark and I tackled the public side of regulating so-called “hate speech.” Our next podcast will deal with the private side–private pressure to conform to a standard of speech considered non-hateful.
It may suggest something about how fragmented public debate has become that one of the only subjects one can come to consensus about is that one should not be “hateful.” The “bare desire to harm,” as the Supreme Court has put it, is one of the last remaining non-controversial moral propositions.
Here is a new book that argues against “hate” and for lots of the notions that people seem to champion today (diversity, inclusivity, liberalism, and so on), but it makes me wonder whether there is really anybody out there who would disagree, at least with the proposition about hatred. Who, exactly, is for hate? The book is Against Hate (Polity Press) by the German author Carolin Emcke.
“Racism, extremism, anti-democratic sentiment – our increasingly polarized world is dominated by a type of thinking that doubts others’ positions but never its own.
In a powerful challenge to fundamentalism in all its forms, Carolin Emcke, one of Germany’s leading intellectuals, argues that we can only preserve individual freedom and protect people’s rights by cherishing and celebrating diversity. If we want to safeguard democracy, we must have the courage to challenge hatred and the will to fight for and defend plurality in our societies. Emcke rises to the challenge that identitarian dogmas and populist narratives pose, exposing the way in which they simplify and distort our perception of the world.
Against Hate is an impassioned call to fight intolerance and defend liberal ideals. It will be of great interest to anyone concerned about the darkening politics of our time and searching for ways forward.”