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“For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please.” – C.S. Lewis
Years ago, in The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis cautioned that as a society lets go of an objective basis for morality, a society ends up conditioned to believe the values and preferences of a few men. He called these men, “The Conditioners.” They are those men with power, a voice, and the platform to spread their message. While his warning sounds like the introduction of a fictitious dystopian novel, it appears that our society has reached the dawn of dystopia.
In The Abolition of Man, Lewis’ social conditioners are those who prescribe for everyone the values they have chosen for themselves. These are not values chosen through means of any objective basis or standard, rather these are subjectively chosen values. Yet, anyone who disagrees with the conditioners could be labeled as bigoted, ignorant, and perhaps, dangerous. In our society, we have come to the point of understanding what it means when the few decide what the rest of us may or may not think or even discuss. It’s emanating, in part, from a redefining of the term, “hate speech.”
The definition of “hate speech” as described by the US Legal website is,
“a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women.” (http://definitions.uslegal.com/h/hate-speech/. Emphasis mine.)
Notice that hate speech is communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred. One website described these words as “fighting words,” or words meant to intentionally incite violence. Fighting words have a different motive from public debate on a hot or controversial topic.
With so many different views in our society, we must walk the hate speech line carefully or we could propel ourselves towards a society that is no longer truly free, or truly concerned for freedom itself. The social redefining of hate speech language knowingly or unknowingly affects at least one foundational doctrine of the United States, the separation of church and state. The separation was not intended to persecute people of religious beliefs for their views on abortion, homosexuality, marriage, etc.; it was meant as a safeguard from discrimination, bigotry and persecution, in so far as possible within the social contract…
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