This is a very sensitive subject. I understand why some people might feel like it is OK to imprison someone for their racist thoughts or words. I do. Some people really do think that words can hurt them. That they have no control over how they react to such words. I understand this. I’ve been called many not so nice things over the years.
But some people in the past also thought it was OK to burn people at the stake for uttering words that were against “God.” (But often just against the Church power structure.) People in Soviet Russia got a bullet to the brain for speaking ill of the Communist Party. The same can be said for Mao’s China. And even in the US we haven’t lived up to our ideals. A young black man coming on to a white woman in past days, just saying something to the woman, might have gotten that kid a stretch in jail, or much worse. So I understand it. The control freaks, whether the Klan or the Commies throughout history have sought to restrict speech, and they always start at the margins and then work their way back from there. So it’s very “understandable.”
Speech is often ugly. It is often vile. And it is that speech that must be most protected. That’s the point of free speech. That South Africa, a country that has teetered on the edge of sorta, kinda, 1st Worldish status would imprison someone for being a racist is very sad. It in no way represents a victory over “racism.” It is a loss for humanity fundamentally. The sentence reflects a descent from the Enlightenment back to a lower level of societal consciousness.
Racism is not illegal (probably even in South Africa, we’ll see if this lady appeals) nor should it ever be in any developed society. (Or developing for that matter.) What is racist in your eyes might not be racist to me. And it ISN’T whether YOU think it’s racist that is important. The point is that racist speech is speech and that speech must be protected. Because if you think the control freaks will ever stop at throwing a lady who used a racial epithet 48 times in jail you haven’t read enough history. The control freaks always want to limit the speech and thoughts of those they find abhorrent. The KKK, Saddam Hussein, the Inquisition, the communists, the “social justice warriors,” they all want/ed to limit the mind. They want/ed to limit thought. For these people some some words are just beyond contemplation. In fact such words must be MADE BEYOND THE CONTEMPLATION of others. Such words – they argue – are violence (because the words are in conflict with their preferred mental narrative) and so they justify actual, real, violence in retaliation. It is a philosophy for the weak minded. It always has been and it always will be.
I despise racists. We do not tolerate racism here at AC2 News. It is completely unacceptable. And we will ban you in a second for being a racist jerk. However, we are a private organization. In our small area we can do that. When a country starts locking people up for “racism” however, that is something very different. It constitutes a failure of civil society and represents a slippery slope toward outright tyranny. I’m sorry if you can’t stand the idea that someone would dare use a certain word, but your discomfort doesn’t trump the Rights of Man.
Noah is deeply wrong here. He represents a backward state of mind. (While using the cover of “progressivism” of course.) I am personally disappointed. But I’m even more disappointed with the smattering in his audience who seem to think that throwing people into the gulag for speech is OK.