The Social Justice Network
The battle over permissible speech in American society was helpfully, and predictably, elaborated by Facebook last week in an update to its “hate speech” rules.
The social media giant’s changes are a signal of the new limits being placed on political expression and the freedom of the mind. Other major American institutions are almost sure to follow its lead.
Until recently, most online platforms largely defined “hate speech” as speech that could lead to imminent physical harm. But Facebook now demands that its users “not post” speech critical of “concepts, institutions, ideas, practices, or beliefs associated with protected characteristics, which are likely to contribute to imminent physical harm, intimidation or discrimination against the people associated with that protected characteristic.”
“Protected characteristics,” according to Facebook, include “race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease.” On its face, this sounds neutral and universally applicable. Yet anyone following the matter knows that it is inconceivable, for instance, that Facebook would ban critiques of “cisgenderism,” a concept whose purpose is to attack heterosexuality and the legitimacy of the generative family. It is similarly unimaginable that protected groups would be blocked from criticizing American constitutionalism as a construct of “whiteness.” Oppressor groups, after all, do not possess “protected characteristics.”
Discrimination once meant denying housing, access to public accommodations, or employment to people based on immutable characteristics. This, of course, was corrected by civil rights laws. But discrimination now means speech that protected groups find insulting. In other words, the last place where discrimination exists is in the minds of oppressor groups.
Arthur Milikh – City Journal – 2021-07-22.