Hate speech is abhorrent, widespread on the Internet and elsewhere, and Constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.
The near-absolute protection of all forms of speech by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (see full text, at left) is a rarity, not even shared by Great Britain, whose Magna Carta served as a model and inspiration for our Founding Fathers. Peter Scheer, Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition in San Rafael, notes that other long-established western Democracies in Europe set tighter limits.
The risk inherent in attempting to legislate against hate speech, says Peter Scheer (right), lies in how it is defined, and who is doing the defining.
Even in thoroughly modern and democratic nations, attempts to limit hate speech have proven problematic. Scheer details a specific recent instance in Canada.