Hate speech, a name-calling label, is speech allegedly being involved with "hate". More specifically, politically correct sources often use the label to refer to negative messages about certain protected groups.
In many countries, hate speech laws prohibit this. Criticisms include:
- Only certain groups are given this privileged protection, creating inequalities. For example, communists and social anarchists are not prohibited by hate speech laws from demeaning or inciting violence against "class enemies" or entire classes of people. They may be prevented from doing so by other laws, but not by hate speech laws. Similarly, demeaning or violence inciting religious speech is usually not considered hate speech, as long as one of the protected groups is not specifically targeted. It may be argued that if restriction of Freedom of Speech is considered necessary for some reason, such as regarding incitement to violence, then all should be equally protected.
- The protected groups vary. For example, in some countries, minority groups are protected, but not majority groups. In some countries, groups such as disabled people are protected, but not in other countries. Religious groups may be protected, but not atheists.
- The special legal privileges given to only some groups, but not to other groups, can be seen as legal discrimination and/or legal racism.
- The degree of protection and punishment vary. In some countries, blasphemy laws proscribe the death penalty and/or torture for what in other countries would be considered relatively mild criticisms or satire.
- The protection may protect groups from accurate criticisms. For example, religious groups may argue that hate speech laws prohibit their religion from being described negatively, even if the description is factually correct.
- The protection may protect groups from possibly accurate criticisms.
- The protection may protect powerful groups from criticisms. For example, criticisms of the power and effects of the Israel lobby may be argued to be, or should be, illegal, by labeling such criticisms as anti-Semitic hate speech.
- Double standard regarding application to Whites and non-Whites, heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals, and so on, where minority groups are often treated more leniently than the majority group.
- Hate speech laws have been used to suppress entire fields of scientific inquiry, such as Holocaust revisionism in Western countries and research on other alleged mass murders in other countries. Galileo Galilei may be considered to have been convicted of hate speech.
- Anti-Holocaust Revisionism: Holocaust revisionism and "hate speech"