Arthur Milikh, executive director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life, told The Epoch Times that policies and laws regulating hate speech are really about silencing opinions and thus take away freedom of speech, leading to tyranny.
“The public view is that to criminalize hate speech really is to rid the public square of racial epithets and Holocaust denial,” Milikh told Jan Jekielek, host of The Epoch Times’ American Thought Leaders program. “The truth is that’s not actually what these laws do.”
Milikh explained that nowadays, the doctrines beneath controlling hate speech have become more and more radical. In the 1990s, political correctness had a lot to do with politeness, “you shouldn’t say this because it’ll hurt people’s feelings.”
“But today, there’s an entire doctrinal world beneath controlling so-called hate speech,” Milikh continued. “And it can basically be summarized in somewhat of a crude way that it has to do with silencing the thoughts and speech of the so-called oppressor group, so as to increase and free the speech of the so-called marginalized.”
Defining people into oppressor groups and marginalized groups is what “identity politics” is promoting.
Milikh suggested that the critical race theory, or identity politics, is trying to “propagandize people by saying that all of history was oppression, there was nothing good whatsoever in the past.”
The New York Times’s 1619 Project asserts that the United States is founded fundamentally on white supremacy.
And the narrative is the marginalized are pure, good and the oppressor groups are “unconscious beneficiaries of all sorts of privileges, and they, therefore, should remain silent when told what justice is,” Milikh added.
That’s why it’s “incredible, yet it makes perfect sense” that fifth-grade kids in Buffalo are being taught advanced Black Lives Matter (BLM) materials in school, Milikh indicated.
Even Facts Could be Viewed as Hate Speech
Milikh went on to say that the doctrines behind hate speech policies have become so radical that even facts could be viewed as hate speech.
“Certain facts can be viewed as racist, xenophobic, anti-trans. And by virtue of that, even if they are true, they are removed from utterances and attempted to be removed from minds,” Milikh said. “And this is very much rooted in the identity politics thinking.”
Milikh gave the example of a debate between medical professionals, biologists, and transgender activists. Many medical people would say that sex is by birth. And the transgender activists say no, “it’s merely assigned at birth, and we decide what gender we are.”
“It is becoming rather evident that there is a great interest in shutting down those kinds of scientific facts,” Milikh pointed out. “Even if science claims that they are true, they are still considered transphobic facts.”
Another example is disparities in crime among groups.
Milikh said many people are promoting that by assuring forth these kinds of facts, they are trying to demean, diminish, and harm people.
“That’s simply not true.”
“When you take away the capacity to speak about these facts, you’re taking away, in this case, safety in neighborhoods,” Milikh said. “But it’s a fundamental distortion of the intellect that says that your mind simply should not go there because certain facts are racist or transphobic.”
Hate Speech Laws Couldn’t Stop Hate Speech or Violence
Milikh went on to say those hate speech laws couldn’t fulfill the promise of what they were intended to do—stop the hate speech and get rid of the violence.
“These laws don’t crack down on violence. In fact, they increase it,” Milikh claimed.
One example is that Jews in the UK, a country that criminalized anti-Semitic hate speech, are 13 times more likely to be subjected to anti-Semitic violence than they are in the United States, which does not have such laws.
Another example Milikh gave is a Belgium parliament member who was prevented from running for public office for 10 years because he spread pamphlets against immigration.
“In that particular European country, discussion of [immigration] is almost impossible because of these hate speech laws,” Milikh pointed out. “Those people become angry and radicalized. And so there’s a great deal of harm that these kinds of laws create.”
Milikh said that since about the 1970s, the UK, Canada, Australia, and the Anglosphere are running a very dangerous experiment. The experiment is to get rid of the freedom of speech by legislating against hate speech.
“The answer is more or less clear that these countries more and more are run by administrations rather than politics, that there’s a great deal of unrest that is shooed under the carpet, especially among various ethnic groups,” Milikh continued. “And what ends up happening is that you have a kind of light tyranny that perpetuates itself by spreading the wealth.”
What Could We Do
When asked what we could do in this sort of climate, Milikh responded that there’re a couple of paths to focus on.
“First, we should think about which institutions have a disproportionate power over policing speech and thought. One I’ve named before is Google.”
Milikh pointed out that Google controls 90 percent of the world’s searches, and therefore is essentially the portal into the internet.
“No free country could tolerate that one corporation could define what it is and is not possible to say, and could moreover attempt to skew the kind of information that is available so as to benefit their moral worldview.”
Second is the universities, Milikh suggested.
“The universities have been captured by a very radical element of the left for quite some time now. And I don’t think that a free people needs to tolerate these kinds of things.”
“These universities, nearly all of them depend on federal and state budgets. Well, the state of Florida, its citizens can very easily defund the University of Florida. No offense to it. I don’t know anything about it. But just to use that one example.”
Milikh indicated that solid, intelligent apprenticeship programs should be created to avoid making college the end-all-be-all credentialing institution.
“But more importantly, while the freedom of speech still exists in America, we have to speak out against these very dangerous and unjust ideologies, elaborate what they do, what they say, elaborate the kind of America that they want to create,” Milikh said, stressing that speaking out is “extremely important.”
“The freedom of speech really is a civilizational level question,” Milikh concluded. “With the loss of the freedom of speech, the country regrettably descends into an unrecognizable form of some kind of soft despotism that will be maybe almost impossible to get ourselves out of.”