A 19-year-old British woman has been found guilty of a hate crime, has been ordered to wear a tracking bracelet, has paid a fine, and has been sentenced to community service. The reason? Posting rap lyrics on her social media. It’s no secret that rap music is riddled with the “n-word” which most people correctly find to be unacceptable, especially in public domains, but British law enforcement has taken it upon itself to label the perhaps imprudent and rude use of that word on social media as criminal.
The same goes for the doggo who was taught to do the Nazi salute. Mark Meechan was found guilty of a hate crime for being “grossly offensive,” a term that is dangerously vague and open-ended as it depends on the interpretation of individuals and not on strict rules and guidelines. Many people thought that the video wasn’t really offensive, while others thought it was a disgusting display, however, most rational people could at least agree that it would never be worthy of criminal persecution.
The right to free speech is basically built on people’s ability to say things that would seem unpalatable to the general population as adhering to the main narrative will not attract backlash and thus requires no legal protection. When a government has the right to decide for its citizens what falls under the umbrella of acceptable rhetoric punishing all else as a criminal offence the natural consequence is the quashing of free speech and the freedom to make one’s opinions heard. Though it may be hard for some to grasp, one person’s legally protected right to post say the n-word defends everyone else’s legally protected right to call that person a racist.
Giving the government the right to persecute people who say unsavoury things gives them the power to control what is said by everyone, not just those who have been deemed too extreme for the main-stream. This is a dangerous trend and should be stopped before we start incarcerating all intellectual opposition.
Deputy Editor, The Unshackled
Host of the Front and Center Podcast