Article 19 Human Rights Charter, United Nations:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this
right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media
and regardless of frontiers."
by Jim Peron
"Nigger." "Kike." "Faggot." "Cunt." Words. Words
that offend. In the new
South Africa these words are illegal under the category of being "hate
speech." But like all acts of censorship the definition of the banned speech
is difficult to determine. In some countries "hate speech" has been so
broadly defined as to ban any speech which some protected group doesn't
Many people assume that hate speech is easily and objectively defined. But
experience proves that it isn't. In fact the term covers a multitude of
acts, beliefs, and expressions depending on who does the defining. Some
would argue that intentionally expressions of hatred meant to offend are
hate speech. But then how do we know the intentions of the speaker? Could
they not be expressing an opinion which they believe is factual without
"intending" to offend anyone? Is a joke or a cartoon intended to incite
hate? Or is it merely an expression of someone's sense of humor?
Recently I went into one of these Christian book shops - curiosity got the
best of me. In that one shop I found books which degraded and attacked
people for being gay, Freemasons, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and several
other groups. In my dealings with fundamentalist Christianity, including
attending a Baptist high school and Bible College, I found these people
infested with hatred for all sorts of people - especially people of other
faiths. Now do these opinions express religious beliefs or hatred? In
another shop I came across a fundamentalist Christian book attacking Islam.
Is this an expression of Christian beliefs or an attack on the dignity of
Let us assume that the banning of hate speech makes exceptions for religious
groups. Aren't we then faced with a situation where hatred based on religion
is protected but nonreligious views are discriminated against? These are the
inherent contradictions that lawmakers must face when they attempt to set
themselves up as the final arbitrators over what people may express.
In reality hate speech is tool for political groups to oppress groups which
they do not like or oppose. It is a way of using the coercive violence of
the police to restrict the political or philosophical views of others. The
Jewish Board of Deputies support such a law because they want to ban any
discussion of the Holocaust not sanctioned by themselves. In Germany Jewish
groups succeeded in banning any discussion about the magnitude or nature of
the Holocaust which challenges prevailing opinion.
Thus when English historian David Irving said that the gas chambers
currently on display at Auschwitz were "recreations" built after the war he
was arrested, tried, convicted and fined for hate speech. Yet the head of
the Auschwitz camp memorial has publicly said the same thing and nothing
happens to him. Irving tried to visit Canada to give lectures and Jewish
groups there had him arrested and deported. The argument was that he should
be arrested so as to prevent him from committing a crime. The crime -
violating hate speech laws by expressing doubts about gas chambers. The same
groups have had him harassed in Australia and in South Africa he is one of
the few British citizens required to ask permission before he can enter the
country. If he does come in he is not allowed to be interviewed by any media
person, give any lectures or express his opinions publicly.
The same type of laws now exist in Switzerland and France. In France various
individuals have been arrested and severely fined for expressing their
doubts about the Holocaust. All of this is done in the name of banning hate
speech. Yet, very little which is said by these holocaust revisionists seems
hateful. Most do not express antiJewish opinions per se nor do they advocate
a Nazi system of government. But Jewish groups don't want the Holocaust
questioned and they claim that any such revisionism is hate speech and
should be banned. Even a balanced article would be considered unacceptable
since Jewish groups argue that the views of revisionists shouldn't be
presented at all.
In the early 60s individuals who said that Dachau wasn't a death camp were
verbally attacked and accused of being Nazis. Today the Simon Wiesenthal
Centre publicly says no gas chamber was used at Dachau. A book published by
the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, a Jewish/Holocaust group, said that anyone
attempting to lower the number of Jewish deaths in German camps was a Nazi
and presumably guilty of hate. Yet, the Klarsfeld's themselves, in the same
book, said that new studies have revealed that far fewer French Jews had
been deported and died then was previously believed. When the Klarsfelds say
this it is scholarly research. If you were to say it would be hate speech.
Honkies and Breeders
Hate speech is applied only to certain protected groups usually specifically
named in the legislation. Whites are rarely, if ever, protected.
Heterosexuals are not protected. Men are not protected. If you happen to be
white, heterosexual and male then you better watch out. The groups which are
protected are also often the ones who define "hate". Thus feminists argue
that porn is hate speech directed at women. Ignoring pornography for gay men
completely. Would-be censors argues that hate speech leads to hate crimes
and therefore should be banned. They also believes that porn leads to rape
and the same logic applies.
But is speech the same thing as action? Very few rational people would say
so. Most governments ban treason, mainly to protect their own interests. But
is criticism of politicians treasonous? Yes, if speech is the same thing as
action. If speech leads to action then where do we draw the line? Do we
arrest out-spoken atheists because we assume that atheism leads to arson
attacks on churches? Take for instance a group of youths who viewed a film
about racial intolerance and then went out and beat a young boy causing
brain damage. Would this film qualify as hate speech since it inspired them
to engaged in a violent act based on race? Probably not because the film in
question was Mississippi Burning a film which is clearly antiracist, meaning
against racism against blacks. But a group of black youths chased down a
14-year-old white boy named Gregory Riddick and almost killed him. After
watching the movie one of the black attackers, Todd Mitchell, asked his
friends, "Do you feel all hyped up to move on some white people?" When
Riddick walked by Mitchell said, "There goes a white boy. Go get him."
There is no doubt that the film inspired something in this gang of criminal
racists. The film, which was highly fictionalized, was described by the New
York Times, as one that "literally crackles with racial hate." The director
of the film said he wanted it to cause viewers "to react to it viscerally,
emotionally, because of the racism that's around them now," The director got
his wish and Gregory Riddick suffered the consequences. In spite of the fact
that there was a clear cut connection between the film and the racially
motivated attack on a young man that left him brain damaged this would not
be considered hate speech because the racists in question are members of a
protected group. The victim is not protected. The film, even though it
inspired a racial, hate attack is not hate speech because it is politically
correct. It is acceptable to those who define hate speech.
Hate speech laws do not promote social unity and understanding. Instead they
create artificial conflicts between protected groups and nonprotected
groups. The churches can preach all they want about how evil pornographers
are because pornographers are not a protected class. But if a magazine like
Hustler were to run an article question the rationality of religion or
pointing out some particular religious absurdity or hypocrisy this could
easily be defined as "hate speech" and, in South Africa, be banned.
Just as with Holocaust revisionism the main issue becomes not what is said
but who says it and who doesn't like it. In South Africa speech that would
be banned is anything which the African National Congress and their allies
claim harps back to apartheid. ANC activist Albie Sachs, a communist who is
now a member of the Constitutional Court which will help define hate speech,
said "there would be no freedom to call for the maintenance or restoration
of apartheid." Raymond Suttner of the ANC, said "Racism and fascism fall out
of the definition of freedom. If we suppress apartheid views and
organisations with fascist views, we will be acting for freedom, not
The ANC wants affirmative action. Will speeches against affirmative action
be considered "apartheid views"? Is every remedy offered by the ANC immune
to criticism because critics may be branded racists and their words "hate
We're All Fascists Now
Suttner's argument that "fascist" speech should be banned is interesting. In
fact the fascists tended to avoid racial politics and weren't particularly
fond of Hitler's antiJewish policies. So exactly what "fascist" views does
Mr. Suttner intend to ban under the title of hate speech? Fascists did
support many policies when it came to labour, economics, trade, etc. But
most of those policies are today being promoted by the ANC!
If Mr. Suttner really means that speech promoting fascism would be banned he
would have to arrest the top ANC leadership and ban the ANC political
manifesto. State monopolies are fascist in nature. Advocating massive
controls on corporations and high taxation is fascist economic policy.
Benito Mussolini, the founder of fascism, would feel quite comfortable in
South Africa's parliament. But Mr. Suttner doesn't literally mean that the
promotion of fascism should be banned.
I suspect that Mr. Suttner is using the word fascist like many on the
radical Left use it. A fascist is anyone who opposes their political agenda.
To oppose affirmative action is fascist. To support free markets is fascist.
To advocate limited government is fascist. The word is not meant to describe
support for fascism but opposition to socialism. It is a clever way of
castrating your opposition and particularly ironic since ANC socialism is
extremely similar to Mussolini's fascism. But this shouldn't be a surprise
since Mussolini's Black Shirt movement originated on the Left. Thus in the
world of South African politics to oppose fascist policies opens one up to
the accusation of being a fascist. Go figure.
Peter Mokaba, of the ANC, was virtually ignored by the antihate speech crowd
when he led mobs in chanting "kill the boer, kill the farmer". Members of
Parliament are seated from parties which advocated "one settler, one
bullet." In America black leaders like Jessie Jackson are immune from
charges of racism regardless of how racist they may be. These charges are
reserved for those groups which are not politically correct.
Black is White
A student at the University of Florida publicly read, before the Student
Government Association, what he claimed was the manifesto of the White
Students Union which he represented. He was shouted down by angry audience
participants and called a racist. His hate speech, in fact, was a word for
word reading of a official document of the Black Student Union. He only
substituted the word white where the document said black. But this document
was only branded hate speech when read by a white student. It was fine when
it was published by blacks.
In an address to college students at Keane College Nation of Islam activist
Khalid Abdul Muhammed said, "If the white man won't get out of town by
sundown, we will kill everything white in South Africa. We kill the women,
we kill the children, we kill the babies. We kill the faggots, we kill the
lesbian, we kill them all. Kill the old ones too. ... push them off a cliff
in Cape Town. Kill the blind, kill the crippled and when you get through
killing them all, go to the graveyard, dig up the grave, and kill them
Rap singer Sister Souljah complained that blacks were killing too many
blacks. Her solution wasn't to stop the killing but to kill more whites. "If
black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white
people?" Jesse Jackson says Sister Souljah represents "the feelings and
hopes of a whole generation." The good Sister, however, insists she isn't
being racist because "You can't call me or any black person anywhere in the
world a racist. We don't have the power to do to white people what white
people have done to us. And even if we did, we don't have that low-down
Crayons of Color
In the politically correct world of hate speech censorship these type of
actions are ignored. The argument goes that whites saying unkind things
about blacks is racism but blacks can say anything they want because they
cannot be racists by definition. Spike Lee, the black film director, out
rightly alleges, "Black people can't be racist." American black academic
Coramae Richey Mann argues "it is definitionally impossible for American
minorities to be identified as racist." The author of a so-called
"multicultural" textbook Racism and Sexism claimed "while an individual
person of color may discriminate against white people or even hate them, his
or her behavior cannot be called racist." The so-called "minister of
information" for the black rap group Public Enemy, Harry Allen, said "Only
white people can be racist, and I am not white." A faculty group at the
University of Michigan released a statement saying: "Behavior which
constitutes racist oppression when engaged in by whites does not have this
character when undertaken by people of color." A training manual on
affirmative action for New York State argued "only whites can be racists".
The author note only argued this point but then alleged that "all white
individuals in our society are racist."
I remember distinctly reading radical feminist Catherine McKinnon's
diatribes on sexism and feeling like a Jew reading Mein Kampf. Attacks on
men for being male is often part of feminist rhetoric but anything which
denies the feminist dogma is considered hate. To ridicule gays is politicall
y unacceptable and hate speech but gays can ridicule heterosexuals. The
double standard of hate speech is quite clear.
Through inconsistent definitions and illogical theories the proponents of
"hate speech" legislation create a situation where only some groups can be
guilty of hate speech. The so-called "victim" groups virtually have
unlimited freedom of speech but their alleged opponents are saddled by the
legislation. And the law is almost always used in such a way as to promote
the political agenda of the Left. By selective application of the law the
Left hinders its opposition. Instead of being neutral these laws are almost
always incredibly biased.
The fact that clear-cut definitions are not possible gives those controlling
the enforcement of these laws immense power over the political discourse of
the nation. Speech they don't favor can be shut off like a faucet. And if
they also control the main broadcast media, as they do in South Africa, they
can keep up a constant propaganda barrage in favor of their own position but
deny such abilities to their opponents. The fact that this is contrary to
any notion of democracy is irrelevant since "democracy" in South Africa is a
political slogan and not a goal.
Opponents of censorship are often accused of supporting hate crimes. When in
fact most are simply supporting free speech. The Left always pulls out
images of Hitler's Germany and the violation of human rights that took place
there. They never seem to use the excesses of Stalin or Mao, even though
both of them committed far greater atrocities. Perhaps this is because they
are more sympathetic to the political agenda of these two tyrants.
But in pointing out the human rights abuses of Nazi Germany the
procensorship groups ignore something important. The atrocities committed by
the Nazis did not come into existence simply because Hitler preached racial
hatred. Hitler's appeal was not just the result of his racism either. Other
ideas laid the foundation on which racism was built. And those same
principles were used in South Africa by the architects of apartheid.
But hate speech legislation doesn't ban the ideas which are fundamentally
crucial in laying the foundation for the destruction of individual rights.
In many ways the legislation itself promotes those ideas. And Nazi Germany
is a good case in point.
Before blatant hate theories can have popular support several concepts must
be destroyed. Individual rights must be seen as a myth and replaced with
concepts of "social" rights or collective rights. The State must be heavily
centralised with massive powers to control every facet of human existence.
The concept of rationality has to be undermined, if not obliterated. Private
property, while perhaps allowed, must not be considered sacred and should be
confiscated if the State decides it wants it. Individual rights must be
limited and never seen as "absolute." This is what happened in Germany prior
to the rise of Naziism. Before a country falls into tyranny it must first be
intellectually and philosophically undermined.
Hitler, the Altruist
Hitler only was able to implement his program because others paved the way
for him. His crude appeals to the masses only succeeded because they were
made intellectually acceptable by nonNazi academics - most of them on the
political Left. Hitler told the German people:
<<It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize
that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his
nation: that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the
interests of the nation as a whole...that above all the unity of a nation's
spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will
of an individual....
This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the
conservation of the community, is really the first premise of every truly
human culture...The basic attitude from which such activity arises we
call-to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness-idealism. By this we
understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the
community, for his fellow men.>>
Hitler's attacks on individual rights were not controversial. Virtually the
entire intellectual elite of Germany had already taken the same political
view. Of all the above views the most destructive is the attack on the
supremacy of reason. If human rationality can be undermined - if man can
believe that his mind is impotent - then he will seek some authority to make
decisions on his behalf. If man is incapable of thought then he must rely on
the thoughts of someone else - some supreme authority. In Germany this was
the Furher principle.
If man's mind is impotent and authority replaces thinking then State power
become almost unlimited. Individual man stops questioning and stops thinking
and begins obeying. When atrocities are committed he answers, "Who am I to
question? I was only obeying orders." The atrocities were the result of this
attitude. The increased power of political authority lead to a power mad
dictatorship which stamped out individual rights, private property, free
speech, and economic liberty. When the orders were given to annihilate,
destroy, torture, rape or steal, the obedient obeyed. They did not question
because they no longer believed their minds capable of rational thought.
More importantly they no longer believed in rationality. With Hitler they
said, "We are now at the end of the Age of Reason."
This increase in State power and destruction of individual thought is the
root of virtually all political atrocities and human rights abuses in the
history of the world. But crude racist slogans come into play only very late
in the game. By the time such slogans are widely believed and accepted it's
too late. The foundation for human rights abuses, by then, are already in
place. Without that foundation the slogans are impotent and ineffective.
Before racist slogans and so-called "hate speech" can be of any import man's
confidence in his mind must be destroyed.
You Can Trust Me: I'm Irrational
Just a few weeks ago I saw a television interview with a representative of
fundamentalist Islamic group. He announced that Islam, as he saw it, "did
not believe in the supremacy of reason." This principle, if carried to its
inevitable conclusion, would lead to flagrant human rights abuses in the
name of the higher authority of Allah, as interpreted by these
fundamentalists. This is, of course, what is happening in every nation where
this concept rules. This blatant attack on reason is necessary if the
concept of individual rights is to die. In fact this is real "hate speech"
because it lays the foundation for an intolerant society.
But under "hate crime" legislation this type of philosophy would be allowed.
Those who advocate destroying private property rights, promote centralised
state control, want government ownership of the broadcast media, endorse
racist programs of "affirmative action" will continue on unhindered. But
those are almost the same policies promoted by the "hate" regime of Hitler.
Barely two years after the horrors of the Second World War a courageous
Englishman named Victor Gollancz wrote a little book Our Threatened Values.
Gollancz was England's most well-known publisher, a man of the Left, and a
Jew. He was afraid that antifascism in England and the desire for revenge
was turning the antifascist movement into little Hitlers. He asked his
fellow socialists and Jews to investigate the nature of fascism. He wrote:
<<If you tell these people that freedom of speech means freedom of speech,
and not freedom to say only what the majority consider wise or decent or
expedient or moral to say, they parry with you with a reply which, I notice,
was recently employed by Stalin himself in a slightly different form and in
another connection. 'Free speech,' they say, 'must not be used for the
purpose of suppressing free speech.' They mean that if fascists are allowed
to express their opinions you will get fascism and what about freedom then?
...But there is only one objection that matters, and it is this: that if you
silence fascists for fear that fascism will be established, you have already
half established it by the very fact of silencing them.
....Fascism is not some separate and isolated phenomenon, which can
magically be brought into existence by appealing to people's reason or
playing on their prejudices: it is the logical development of certain traits
that are in the human nature of us all. If you strengthen these traits you
make fascism more probable: if you strengthen the opposing ones you make it
less so. The strongest of all the antifascists traits is the passion for
spiritual and intellectual freedom; and by so much as you restrict its play,
by so much as you nourish instead the sado-masochistic elements in our
nature, by so much as you introduce the first thin wedge of
authoritarianism, by just so much do you bring a little nearer the very
peril you are anxious to avoid.>>
Jim Peron is the author of Die, the Beloved Country?, a book exposing the
misrule by mismanagement of the African National Congress during its first
term of office in South Africa. He recently finished an expose of the Mugabe
regime: Zimbabwe: the Death of a Dream.