“It Ain’t So Much the Things We Don’t Know That Get Us in Trouble. It’s the Things We Know that Ain’t So”: The Dubious Intellectual Foundations of the Claim that “Hate Speech” Causes Political Violence
The United States is an outlier in its legal protection for what is commonly termed “hate speech.” Proponents of bringing American jurisprudence closer to the international norm often argue that hate speech causes violence, particularly political violence. However, such claims largely rest on assumptions which are inconsistent with social scientists’ understanding of the causes of political violence, including that ethnic identity and ideological salience are more often the result of violence than a cause thereof; that violence during conflict is generally unrelated to the conflict’s ostensible central cleavage; and that violence is generally instrumental and elite-driven, rather than spontaneous and “bottom-up.” Therefore, censorship of hate speech cannot be justified by the argument that such censorship is necessary to prevent or forestall political violence.
“It Ain’t So Much the Things We Don’t Know That Get Us in Trouble. It’s the Things We Know that Ain’t So”: The Dubious Intellectual Foundations of the Claim that “Hate Speech” Causes Political Violence,
2018 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol2018/iss1/4