Hate speech laws are like McCarthyism in the 1950s.
They purport to be against real evils—racism and Stalinism.
But in practice they are directed mostly at persecuting harmless and powerless people for trivial reasons.
They are used to prevent full and free debate of sensitive and important issues.
They divert attention from real abuses of power. Anti-Communism in the old days provided cover for abuses of power by corporations and American foreign policy. Hate speech rules today provide cover big for university administrators who jack up tuition, push down wages of adjunct and other teachers and give themselves and their consultants six-figure and seven-figure incomes.
I’m old enough to have a living memory of McCarthyism. Back in the day, I was anti-McCarthy, anti-Communist, anti-racist and pro-free speech. I still am.
The Anti-Free Speech Movement at UCLA by Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic. (Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack)