For 40 years, experiments in restricting "hate speech" have failed.
The root cause of much of what is wrong in society today began with a giant mistake of adopting this opinion that we should criminalize an emotion and persecute people for using certain words that we would claim proved the emotion. What the hell was wrong with the people entrusted to protect our individual rights to allow this to happen.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road back to system health will require we reverse course and ban hate criminalization as being unconstitutional.
Wow, things have changed since the free-wheeling 70s when I was in college. My dorm mates would have probably been expelled or worse for hanging out a large banner saying "Nuke Iran" after the American hostages were taken in Tehran in 1979.
The problem with any kind of speech control is ultimately the interpretation of what constitutes hateful or threatening speech, or, as in the case of the proposed Board of Disinformation proposed by the Biden Administration, disinformation. Without distinct guidelines, you get cases where just the mention of the KKK warrants action, even when it's in the confines of literature or history.
When I was in college, Saturday Night Live was at its peak of enjoyment and entertainment, and nothing was sacred. I haven't watched in over 35 some years, but I suspect now it's a watered down version and apparently geared more toward mocking conservatives than anyone else. I also suspect George Carlin would likely be turned away for his brutal humor, not to mention Andrew Dice Clay or Lenny Bruce.
When even the ability to poke fun at ourselves is lost for fear of "offending" someone, we become no better than humor Nazis. I sincerely hope that never happens.
"by which harassment is defined as discriminatory conduct, directed at an individual, that is 'so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive' that students 'are effectively denied equal access to' education."
It seems like this definition is not really much better. It's slightly more specific (it should rise to the level of effectively denying them education), but with the way that definitions of harm are expanding, I don't really think that will be particularly helpful; even discounting the expansion of "violent" speech, there's the fact that saying something merely offensive in an insistent enough and invasive enough way can rise to harassment...as can even saying something inane. It would need to be even more specific. Ultimately I'm not sure it's really possible to have a bright line defining the difference between harassment and merely offensive speech. Hopefully we can do better than the above, though.
"Furthermore, social media companies should devote more resources to identifying and punishing another kind of unprotected speech: “true threats” of bodily harm and death."
I'd very much like to see significantly increased enforcement of these specific types of speech.
Really horrible and scary development in parts of the USA, as regarding academia. Anti-freedom attacks coming from the collectivist and identitarian left and right wingers. They hate each other as much as they hate freedom and humans in general
Your otherwise on target article begins with a misunderstanding. The Berkley 'free speech movement' is not a precedent for what is going on today. At the time, it was against the narrowness of hide-bound curriculum and administrative/faculty intolerance for students' complaints a university education was restrictive discourage open dialogue in the classroom. This signaled the beginning of mass movements that broke down barriers for women and
'minorities' to enter, succeed and prosper in higher education. It torn down barriers inherent and obsolete in the university structure. Because it aimed at changing the status quo, the free speech movement of the '60s was inherently left. It also called for challenging the dominant narrative of the Vietnam War, civil rights, etc. in student-led workshops, etc. It was viciously attacked by conservative academics and politicians but resulted in real changers. By the late'60s, the Ivy League and other prestigious universities opened doors for women and 'disadvantaged' students. Affirmative action was breaking down the barriers for the 'out' groups to get in. Now we have cultural movement fighting it out over speech and identities, relatively useless exercises perfect but something that keeps people in over-ripe societies occupied. Politics is dead. Culture is everything.
I have to wonder as to the target audience for this essay. My guess is that nobody who really relishes the enforcement of these speech codes is the least put off by your token tales of black (gasp!) and indigenous (gasp!) victims.
I suppose you might influence people who are all for free speech "except for the really harmful stuff..." but I wonder both how much influence they have and how sharply you can bring their thinking into focus.