Apropos “hate speech,” it’s interesting that none of those who are so active in promoting censorship as a means of fighting it even noticed the most extreme and potentially dangerous outburst of it in recent memory. I refer to the obsessive hatred of the United States promoted in the mass media of any number of countries around the world. It reached extreme levels in the final years of the Clinton and first years of the Bush adminstrations before apparently finally choking on its own excess. I speak German, and followed the development of the phenomenon there with interest and dismay. It became so extreme that it occasionally became difficult to find any news about Germany among the rants about the evils of the United States on the websites of such “news” outlets as that of Spiegel magazine.
We humans are characterized by “moral” behavior that distinguishes between “good” in-groups, and “evil” out-groups, a trait that I have elsewhere referred to as the Amity/Enmity Complex. No aspect of our nature could be so mind-bogglingly obvious, yet the neuroscientists and other experts who specialize in the workings of the human mind have yet to “discover” it. It happens to be in conflict with ideological myths, particularly prevalent in academia, about the universal brotherhood of mankind. Earlier generations of so-called experts willfully ignored the abundant evidence regarding the profound influence of innate, “hard-wired” predispositions on human behavior for decades on account of similar myths, until their faces were literally rubbed in the truth by advances in brain imaging techniques and other diagnostic tools. As long as research in the field is not suppressed, their faces will eventually be rubbed in the truth of the Amity/Enmity Complex as well. When that happens, I suspect they will see the question of hate speech in a rather different light.
Among other things, they are likely to notice that “hate speech” is only recognized as such when directed at an in-group. At the time when expressions of anti-American hate reached their most extreme levels in Germany and elsewhere, those who were most active in spewing that hate characterized their vicious diatribes as “objective criticism.” As one on the receiving end of their hate speech, I found their rationalizations absurd, and yet I don’t doubt they actually believed their own cant. Americans were an out-group, and therefore, at least in their minds, incapable of being victims of hate speech.
It is for that reason that attempts by government to censor hate speech, such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the “international organization” favored by French foreign minister Kouchner, as noted in an earlier post, are futile. As intrinsically political organizations they must inevitably be blind to hate speech directed at their political foes, or “out-groups.” I know of not a single instance of such an organization raising the least objection to the mindless demonization and villification of the United States, even when it was at its most extreme. The only real antidote to hate speech is free speech.