Another form of math, a writer's delight.
|Amnesty International must have some tough fights on their hands, these days.
Whenever I think of freedom of speech now, it immediately sets off the crowd of typical reasons why this freedom is important, necessary, in need of protection, and so forth.
But I like to remind myself of one of my favorite "word equations" (things I come up with when reasoning my way through something.)
Seeing as attack on speech (or writing) these days shows up overwhelmingly under an umbrella of generally conceptualized hate - that word and all it is supposed to mean, runs the show. We all know how this works.
That's the initial ticket to the ride, and it runs like a carousel, gently round and around.
But then it gets pretty interesting.
The term hate speech implies that the speaker (or writer) hates.
Often, this is not the case. Beyond that, it is of course, impossible to measure the thoughts, feelings of another human being - other than the words they say or write.
But if they happen to not hate, then they don't hate.
This alone, appears to have been dispensed with. But it is entirely germane to the issue.
Their entitlement to their own feelings, in other words, precludes anyone else having to right to define exactly what those feelings are - for the reason that no-one can ever climb inside anyone else's skin and feel what they feel (or think their thoughts.)
Establishing all that, what are we left with?
Speech and writing that is described as hate speech because it is taken to be the expression of hate (by the reader or listener) and is in fact, hated. By the reader or listener.
This I believe, is an extremely acute distinction, one of uttermost importance.
Speech (or writing) that can be easily and effortlessly claimed to be hate speech - not because the originator of the speech hates - but because the recipients of the speech - hate it, often passionately.
So we have here a definition of hate expression that has absolutely nothing to do with the expresser - and everything to do with the hatred felt in those who are expressed to.
If one were to add one single letter to the word hate, this one little letter completely changes to a very different identifiable concept: that letter is of course, the letter "d."
Then we wind up with the word, hated. (Many English speaking people prefer the word, hateful, which serves exactly the same purpose.
And the purpose of correct wording?
It identifies the fact that the reader or the listener finds the speech or the writing, hateful.
And now we're getting somewhere.
Because it puts the emotional reaction of the reader or listener squarely back into the equation, where it belongs.
And correctly identifies the heard speech, or the read writing as something to be hated - by the listener or the reader.
Their hate, in other words, enters the picture. And often runs the show. With impunity.
We live in times when "hate-anything" has become a useful tool of idiots, employed in shutting down any expression they don't happen to like, or disagree with, strongly or otherwise.
And this is a power that does great damage in the hands of those willing to abuse it.
Because most intelligent people will agree that when times get tough, confusing, volatile - these are the times when straight talk, honesty and truth are most needed in discussion. Not slogans, propaganda, or 4th-rate ideological theory.
And when the real truth of the matter is that if the only hate looming on the horizon in response to speech or writing - is the hate of those who react to it, then we would do well to not allow their hatred to remain invisible, or operate with impunity.
Hatred is not a political strategy. It is a very real emotion felt by human beings.
Personally, I have lived almost all of my life free from hatred. I am not about to start down that greasy slope into the pit, now. Because that is what has fueled the forces that have done away with hundreds of millions of humans. It is when we decide that this is "justifiable" that we are no longer human anymore.