Free Speech

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Mar 17 13:26:59 PST 2000

>>> "Joe R. Golowka" <joegolowka at> 03/17/00 02:38PM >>>
The arguement to outlaw racist speech is basically this:

(1) Racist speech is extremely undesirable. (2) Speech that is extremely undesirable should be outlawed. (3) Therefore, Racist speech should be outlawed.


CB: No, if you are trying to say what my argument is, this is not basically it.

(1) Racism/white supremacy has resulted in some of history's greatest crimes against humanity including as the genocidal usurpation of the Western Hemisphere, the enslavement of Africans, world wide colonialism, the Holocaust against the Jews and Soviet Union, the Viet Nam war etc.

(2) Fascistic racist speech is aimed at organizing fascistic racism which will result in another world historic crime against humanity.

(3) Freedom of speech is not a political value more important than freedom from racism/white supremacy.

(3) Therefore , it is justified to provide for an exception to First Amendment protection of speech for fascistic racist speech.


The debate on this list thus far has been with the truth of (2). With good reason, no one has challenged the validity of (1). Let us assume, for the moment, that (2) is true. There are many people who view those of us on the far left in a manner similar to how we view racists. Hence, a right-winger could make this arguement:

(1a) Radical leftist speech is extremely undesirable (2) Speech that is extremely undesirable should be outlawed. (3a) Therefore, radical left speech should be outlawed.


CB: But you don't have an accurate outline of the argument above, so this does not follow from the actual argument for outlawing fascistic racist speech.


Of course, all of us on this list know that, even if (2) is true, the conclusion isn't true because premise (1a) is false. However, as I stated earlier, numerous people would disagree with that. These same people have much better access to the airways then us and would therefore be much more capable of convincing a large number of people that they are right then we will. Of course, such an arguement would only work if the majority of people agree that (2) is correct. In order to implement (3), outlawing racist speech, we would have to convince people that (2) is true. Therefore, it is not in our best interest to convince people that (2) is correct.


CB: You didn't make the correct argument.


Historically, the bourgeois state has always had a strong tendency to direct it's censorship powers against the far left. Increasing those powers will come back to haunt us when the state decides to censor us in addition to the racists.


CB: We aren't "increasing" those powers. They already were sufficient to jail communists and socialists whenever the powers that be saw fit. Defending the fascists right to speak will not prevent the state from repressing Left speech when the state gets ready to do that.


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