Reader Reactions: Hate speech abuses free speech rights

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Readers react to a column discussing the difference between hate speech and freedom of speech. The columnist believes opinions that promote violence and intolerance, and disrespect someone’s existence, should not be respected. These opinions are often shielded by freedom of speech, but there is no merit to them for judging a person or group of people negatively.

Read the full column here.

Mario J. Vega: “Not respecting my freedom of speech and freedom of opinion is a disrespect to my and everyone’s existence. You do not get to silence anyone because you don’t like what they have to say or what they think, period. My opinion doesn’t invalidate your existence, and you’re insane if you think it does and I need to be silenced.”

Richard Snyder: “If I am parsing it correctly, it does not argue against free speech, only that hate speech does not deserve an answer which concedes that it has merit.”

Daniel Daye: “If you are going to use your free speech to express potential violence than while in your free speech you are protected from government persecution, you are not protected from public persecution and shut down. The public refusing to listen to you and not letting you speak is not against any law or rule.”

Sophia Akiko: “Opinions aren’t violence? The KKK just might disagree. Or any other white supremacist group.”

Dustin Leitzell: “It only disrespects existence because the individuals disrespect the laws.”

Will Stratmeyer: “If you have different opinions about the economy, the involvement of government, taxes, any of that, your opinion absolutely should be respected, and I will, even if I don’t agree with it. However, I have absolutely no tolerance when it comes to people who have opinions that oppress minorities. That is an absolute fact. Shutting down racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and ableist opinions and speech is absolutely acceptable because our lives and our rights should not be up for debate in the first place.”

Tristan Poteet: “Opinions don’t oppress, actions do. Free speech cannot be infringed upon merely because in someone else’s OPINION, it is offensive, vulgar, etc.”

John Gordon: “So-called hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. There is no right, constitutionally or otherwise, to not be offended. There is no right that our beliefs or ourselves have to be respected.”

Matt Brown: “If you don’t allow ideas to see the light of day and compete in an open way, an ideological win isn’t seen as legitimate, even if the idea you’re competing with is clearly full of faults and holes … If something isn’t allowed to naturally occur, things get worse than they need to be.”