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Philosophy Paper

1557 words - 7 pages

Inhibition of one's liberty, such as their liberty of conscience (i.e. freedom of speech), is unjust by Millian principles, unless the person's use of deliberation is to voice hate speech. So what is hate speech? Hate speech is directed towards a member of a group, or the group as a whole, that vilifies on the basis of the subject's beliefs. In comparison to discriminatory speech, hate speech does not invoke mere offense, but in most cases is traumatic, and severely impair one’s deliberative capacities, or their mental faculties (judgment, moral preference, intuition, etc…). Liberties have been established to protect our deliberative abilities, as these are conducive to achieving happiness, ...view middle of the document...

According to Brink, "Mill thinks that it is our deliberative capacities, especially our capacities for practical deliberation, that mark us as progressive creatures and that, as a result, the principal ingredient of our happiness or well-being must exercise these deliberative capacities" (123). Human happiness should reflect our character and what is valuable to our human nature; for this reason, liberties are designed to protect our deliberative abilities, as these are important to happiness. Censorship is illegitimate in most cases, unless the opinion being censored is intended to invoke harm, or incite violence against a target. According to the harm principle, an action must "actually violate or threaten imminent violation of those important interests of others in which they have a right" (Brink, 121). Although Mill is clear that mere offensiveness is not what constitutes harm, not all psychological harm is inconsistent with the harm principle. Hate speech, especially that which is directed against minority views, intends to stifle expression of the minority view, and prevents the minority groups' opinion from fair consideration. In contrast to merely discriminatory speech, which causes mere offense since it is not directed towards a specific target, hate speech's "use of traditional epithets or symbols of derision to vilify on the basis of group membership expresses contempt for its targets and seems more likely to cause emotional distress and to provoke visceral, rather than articulate, response" (Brink, 139). Hate speech's violent attitude and use of fighting words makes it a much larger threat in comparison to discriminatory speech. Mill's argument behind prohibition of hate speech relates to hate speech's traumatic impact on the subject's character. According to Brink, hate speech can push their victims' into adopting different beliefs' and behaviors', as they see this conducive to avoiding "potential discrimination" (144). This, however, does not coincide with Millian principles, which states human faculties "are called into no exercise by doing a thing merely because others do it, no more than by believing a thing only because others believe it" (On Liberty, III). For us to improve ourselves, mainly our human faculties, humans need to make an individual choice that comes from their own desires and interests, not that of others. Hate speech also devalues one's opinion and character; it promotes inferiority onto the victim(s), decreasing their ability to productively improve their deliberative capacity. Alongside, Mill believes hate speech worsens societal progression, as this form of speech degrades mutual respect within the community, which in turn discourages public participation in a deliberative community. For us to improve our deliberative capacities, we should explain our views and interests, and communicate this openly within our community, as well as listen to others' views' and perspectives', as their views might progress our...

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