Or: "Hate speech laws hate speech."
In the Korea Herald, veteran journalist Claire Lee looks into "Korea['s] struggles to enact hate speech laws" (December 28, 2014) and discusses the definition of hate speech:
In many countries, hate speech is defined as any speech - including speaking, writing and gesture - that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability, nationality, ethnic . . . origin and sexual orientation[, and i]nciting hatred against people on the grounds of such attributes can lead to imprisonment in a number of countries, including Germany, the U.S., Canada and [the] U.K., . . . [while] Croatia, Norway and the Netherlands . . . [even] go as far as to protect one's life philosophy and political views or any other beliefs from hate speech attacks.I'm generally against laws forbidding 'hate' speech, though I personally prefer courteous discourse, but even those who favor laws against hate speech can surely see the problems in limiting speech that is critical of political and religious views, as Ms. Lee herself hints at in noting problems in regulating speech about "different political or religious views."
South Korea, which like Japan does not ban hate speech and doesn't have anti-discrimination laws, ranked second among the OECD member countries in terms of social conflict last year[, and e]arlier this month, the Seoul City's enactment of the Charter of Human Rights was canceled due to fierce protests from gay rights opponents and Christians. In October, a U.N. envoy said the country has some "serious issues" with racism and xenophobia.
While many experts say that hate speech against immigrants, foreign nationals, women and the disabled must be banned, some find hate attacks between Koreans with different political or religious views much more difficult to regulate, particularly because of the peninsula's divided state.
If I consider some political ideology to be fascist, I ought to be allowed to voice my opinion freely and call those who adhere to that ideology fascists. Similarly, if I consider some religious ideology absurd and its adherents fanatics, I ought to be allowed to say so. I ought to be free to speak my mind even if people are offended, insulted, enraged, or worse.
And what happens when politics and religion collide? Suppose a pro-gay rights group calls its religious opponents "homophobic"? Is that hate speech?
Is truth no protection against the charge of hate speech?