Unpopular opinions are not popular.
Defending hate speech is a difficult - almost impossible - position to defend.
But I’m going to try anyway.
Let’s begin with the cartoon in question. It was rejected and, to be honest, understandably so. The client would end up doing a lot of damage control because of knee-jerking sheep on Twitter who can’t think for longer than three seconds.
I am not defending Vicki Momberg. I am defending a principle.
This is where leftists (and some rightists) immediately lose their sense of rationality and ability to think clearly. Two statements can be true simultaneously:
I believe in saying what you like.
I also believe that consequences are acceptable.
In other words, if you come into my home and insult my wife, then a consequence is that I will kick you out.
Another consequence is to use my freedom of speech against your freedom of speech.
But I’m cool with punishment, so what’s the problem?
Let me be clear. I don’t know Vicki Momberg and have no dog in this fight. What she did was vile and completely unnecessary. I would have punched her in the ovaries if I were on the receiving end.
But are her actions worthy of state-sanctioned imprisonment?
Throwing people behind bars because of insults, is a slippery slope towards North Korea. The legal proceedings are also a costly venture at the expense of taxpayers, harming poor people the most.
When Velaphi Khumalo posted his grotesque comment to Facebook, many people went berserk, and for good reason.
Very few headlines resulted, and he was eventually given a slap on the wrist.
Compared to Vicki Momberg’s sentence, the double standards are glaringly obvious. Especially since Velaphi’s comment includes a call to action.
But the double standards are a topic for another blog post.
Nevertheless, out of principle, I also don’t believe that he should be jailed (or, as per the court order, forced into state-sanctioned community service). Public ridicule is a more effective alternative, in my mind. And it doesn’t burden the taxpayers.
I’m a fan of private litigation.
I don’t take issue with private litigation.
In both Vicki and Velaphi’s scenarios, no individual was defamed. But let’s say somebody emails your employer and falsely accuses you of rape, and you get fired.
There is an obvious defamation problem here, and one best left for a lawyer to claim financial restitution. Nothing wrong with that.
Hate speech is a fuzzy concept.
Here’s the thing. “Hate speech” differs from hateful speech in that “hate speech” is a globally inconsistent political construct, while hateful speech is subjective. What you might consider hateful, I might consider funny. Furthermore, hateful speech isn’t necessarily “hate speech”.
Vicki Momberg’s meltdown was not only unbelievably emotional, it was extremely hateful. She would do well with anger management sessions.
But I’m not convinced that years of jail time will rehabilitate her or cleanse her of racist thoughts. If anything, then it will probably make her more zef. And I - a taxpayer - am forced to pay for all of that.
There are a multitude of ways to deal with speech you dislike.
Using the state as a default go-to is, in my opinion, not one of them.