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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Episode 3: What is free speech vs. hate speech?

Hand holding a microphone

Hand holding a microphone

Can we ever really draw a line?

Miranda Bartosz

One of our basic rights as Americans is the right to free speech. But what about when your right to free speech conflicts with someone else's moral rights? Can we ever draw a line in the sand, of what's allowed and what isn't?

In this episode Prof. Peter Minowitz of the Poli Sci department and Alaina Boyle, Director of SCCAP join host Miranda Bartosz in trying to establish some very basic guide lines and principles for how to not overstep your right to free speech. We then try to apply our ideas using some real life examples of the divide between free speech and hate speech.

Full Disclosure: This episode was recorded before the election, and as such does not address any post-election specific issues of free speech and hate speech, which have unfortunately become increasingly relevant. 

On a personal note from the author: The rules we establish in this episode are vague, but mainly what they mean is just don't be cruel. 

Be kind. Be kind to yourself and be kind to one another. Those who throw insults and hateful rhetoric at others do not have goodness in their hearts, but do not let that diminish the goodness of yours. Treat each other with common decency and respect, and don't sink to the level of those who seek to hurt you.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," and I believe her. Stay true to yourself, and never believe anyone who tells you you are less than.

Stay kind, stay respectful, stay safe.



Miranda Bartosz is a Hackworth Fellow for 2016/2017

Nov 17, 2016