Books Read 2020

Monday, 28 June 2021

Hate Speech


What is “hate speech”?  It seems to be becoming a more common term around the place and I wanted to find a definition of it.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.”

Different countries apparently have different legal interpretations, but basically it is what it says – a public statement of hate for someone or something.

Does this include your personal opinion?  Or does it only apply to those who belong to an organised group?  Is there any difference between saying “I really hate Person A” to saying “Someone should shoot Person A”?  It seems to be a very fine line between the two.

A lot of discussion is happening here at the moment because the government is looking at bringing in new legislation that, as it is presently written, would limit the expression of free speech.

We already have legislation that is designed to limit the active inciting of violence or hatred.  We have laws against terrorism and racism and sexism and ageism, and even against political criticism.

Who could hate the little Fantail?  Yet, I know some people do.
Who is to say whether they are right or wrong?

Who decides what is hatred, or even what is insulting?  If you say something and it offends someone, will that make you a criminal?  Seems ridiculous, but it could become that way.  I would feel much happier if the government would clarify things a lot more than they currently are.

Freedom, including freedom of speech, is something we take so much for granted in our Western world, but is the pendulum starting to swing towards more control over individual liberties?

Sometimes I wonder, and worry, about the world we live in and where it is headed.

Stay safe everyone,

Margaret 😊


  1. Margaret, I was brought up and educated with the understanding that for every right there is an obligation, and you only get the right if you observe the obligation. The right to free speech for instance is accompanied by the obligation to respect the freedoms of others - their right to be free of persecution for instance. For me it is difficult to support anyone who says "I hate...." Every such statement should be reasoned - why do you hate? does it have a sound basis in reason? Do I agree with those reasons? Do I feel as strongly as to describe my reaction as hatred? I also see a huge difference between "I hate person A" and "Someone should shoot person A". The first one is personal to the speaker. The second one is incitement, and if it comes from someone who might in this age be described as an 'influencer' is likely or might even be intended to encourage an unthinking follower to do just that - act on the statement to go out and shoot....
    I fully agree that any law endeavouring to limit the expression of opinion and ideas skates on very thin ice, unless the law makers can find a way of clearly linking rights and obligations, and encouraging sensible reasoned debate about any limits they seek to impose on how ideas and opinions can be expressed, argued, debated, refuted or adopted as should always be the case in any group of people who strive to be better.
    You have opened a great philosophical subject here and I hope you get lots of well thought out comments (and debate) on the issues. I look forward to reading them. F

    1. Thanks for such a thoughtful reply. It is a subject I dithered writing about, but the proposed legislation is so open to mis-interpretation that it makes me worry about the direction our country is heading in.

  2. You made me add something to my post today because it´s just about what you wrote.
    I found the content 2019 and it´s still today, sadly. Maybe you like to pop over.

    1. Thanks Iris, I did pop over :)
      Wouldn't the world be a wonderful place to live if everybody respected the freedoms and rights of other people? I can only dream, sigh ..

  3. This is the eternal conundrum, isn't it? When does the freedom to express your thoughts migrate to incitement against others. I think it is perfectly within your rights to say that you don't like people with pink toenails, but once you start to advocate that people with pink toenails should be rounded up, or denied employment or access to housing, or equal health care, or place restraints on their ability to vote, the line has been crossed it seems to me. It is odious to say that you hate a Jew, but to openly call for the elimination of Jews is a different thing entirely.

    1. You state it well, David. It is usually quite obvious when the line has been crossed, and we already have legislation that addresses that. Respect for others should prevent us from saying odious or insulting things to others, but should we be making disrespect a criminal activity? I think the proposed new law is on very thin ice, and should be rewritten to clarify exactly where that invisible line lies.

  4. Hmmm, I am enjoying the thoughts expressed here - I was bought up to respect others, and their opinions and live-styles, no matter how they differ, as long as it is within the law and not harming others. This I think is the way most folk live, BUT there is a vocal, and increasingly violent, minority that is stirring things up, and rather than take responsibility for their actions, blame others....
    I also feel that some of the content of video 'games' is also very desensitizing, so that those who feed their lives on them loose contact with reality and their responsibilities. I know of various youngsters, both pre-teens and teenagers who have huge emotional problems thanks to the influence of games - some of them apparently innocuous at that! I could carry on but it's a bit off topic, so I will get off my soap box here!
    Stay safe

    1. I was brought up the same way Maxine, and tried to bring my children up the same. It is disturbing to see how this violent trend of hatred is developing.

  5. YESSSSSS!!!! The so-called-Liberals and "Woke" people, want to suppress _everything_, but their views. It is as simple as that.

    And since so many people are not paying attention, they are doing so.

    1. It certainly seems to be heading that way - unfortunately.

  6. I think it comes down to what we say about an individual versus a group of people. I can hate the behaviour of a person, such as laziness, but if I attribute that quality to a whole group of people, it is hate. If I advertise that opinion about the group, that is hate speech. Nobody likes every individual but equating the behaviour of one to all is hate as I see it.


Thank-you for visiting my blog. I truly appreciate it when you leave a comment. Have a great day! Margaret xx