When, in class one day, a student said that “hate speech” was not free speech, I asked him the following: “Can you even define hate speech?” After a long silence, I assured him that I, too, was unable to define hate speech. But, since then, I think I have come up with a suitable definition that helps me understand both the failure of speech codes and the success of Islamic terrorism.
My new understanding of hate speech comes from a recent speech given by my boss Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. As usual, Rosemary was trying to do damage control as a result of her most recent administrative blunder. The current controversy intensified when the President of the Faculty Senate fired off a couple of nasty emails to the Provost copying the entire faculty in the process. The angry missives correctly criticized the upper administration for making major decisions affecting the faculty without properly consulting them through the Faculty Senate.
At our next university-wide faculty meeting, the Chancellor addressed the controversy without any reference to the substance of the charges against her administration. Instead, she responded to the criticism by talking about the need to maintain “civility” and a “collegial environment,” which, she said, could not be appreciated fully until it was lost. Many, including myself, thought that a lecture by our chancellor on the topic of civility carried as much weight as a lecture by Al Gore, Jr. on the topic of obesity – or perhaps a lecture on good puns by Mike Adams.
Everything was put in proper perspective when a liberal sociologist properly characterized references to “civility” in higher education as intentional efforts to avoid substantive discussions. In other words, he seemed to be generalizing beyond DePaolo to all of those who play the “civility card.” I resisted the temptation to talk about sociologists who play the racism card and feminists who play the sexism card.
But I recognized immediately the connection between the sociologist’s observation and the campus speech code movement, which seeks to ban “hate speech.” And, after letting his words sink in, I formed this new definition of hate speech:
Hate speech is verbal communication that induces anger due to the listener’s inability to offer an intelligent response.
Because this inability to offer an intelligent response is due to one of two reasons, there are really two different types of hate speech: 1) Speech that is too dumb to merit an intelligent response, and 2) Speech for which the listener is too dumb to offer an intelligent response.
Instances of the former are numerous in the society-at-large. For example, when a member of the KKK says “I may not be much, but at least I’m not a nigger” there is really no way to respond intelligently. Nor is there much hope that any response will be understood and appreciated by someone ignorant enough to make such a remark. So the speech can be properly characterized as hate speech.
Instances of the latter are numerous in academia. For example, three years ago this week, I wrote a piece explaining how speech codes produce a form of reverse Darwinism. I argued that only those who are emotionally unfit are likely to become uncomfortable simply by hearing a contrary point of view. I argued further that they are indeed quite emotionally unfit if they actually remain upset long enough to file a complaint aimed at enforcing a speech code.
Of course, after I wrote my piece a feminist started crying and went to the feminist (now former) chair who, in turn, gave me a lecture about civility. In other words, the feminists weren’t smart enough to address the substance of my remarks. Shocking, isn’t it?
Hence, I accurately predicted that the codes seek to weed out the speech of the emotionally stable majority - those who do not cry at work - through the vehicle of complaints filed by the emotionally unstable - those who cry at work but never file complaints directed towards the suppression of their own views.
The similarity between the two principal forms of hate speech is obvious:
They both induce anger in the listener, regardless of whether the speaker expressed his view with any feeling of hatred or animosity.
And this leads to an understanding (see bold sentence below) of the apparent hypocrisy of gays and feminists who a) cry “hate speech” (while actually crying in some cases) against conservatives who do not wish to kill gays and feminists, and b) tolerate “hate speech” by Islamic fascists who really do wish to kill gays and feminists.
Islamic advocacy of violence is not classified as “hate speech” because it induces fear, not anger.
This, of course, explains the failure of speech codes (and probably multi-culturalism in general). Since the enforcement of the codes relies largely on the emotional reaction of the listener rather than the content of the speech, the codes create insurmountable problems within both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
And, of course, it explains the success of Islamic terrorism. It is indeed a strategy that induces fear in an effort to destroy the proper function of the First Amendment through threats and intimidation too serious to simply ignore.
But, of course, this is not as it should be. And I intend to offer a solution to the problem when I speak during Islamic Fascism Awareness Week. Like true First Amendment terrorists, some Muslims are trying to prevent the week’s events from happening. But the true American patriots who outnumber them will not be deterred. They simply will not provide the fear necessary for the survival of their tyranny and the destruction of our precious liberty.
Dr. Adams’ speech will take place at Clemson University on Thursday, October 25th. It will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 100 of Hunter Hall. Anyone in the audience who does not want to risk being shot should wear an orange cap.