What if you could sue someone for using a racial slur? In the ’90s, one country that always looked very similar to America decided to allow it, rolling back the rights to free speech in the interest of protecting victims of hate speech. Is the result a slippery slope to government tyranny, or a more harmonious society? The moral right to hate speech does not run as deep in the U.S. as most people believe. Only in the last 80 years of litigation and activism has it become protected. On this episode, we look at the story of a racial slur that led to a precedent, we take a whirlwind tour of landmark First Amendment cases, and two philosophers argue about whether morality is on the side of U.S. law. It might not be.
Guest voices include Sonny Sidhu, Tim Soutphommasane, philosopher Jeffrey Howard, and philosopher Seana Shiffrin.
In Slate Plus: Philosophers Jeffrey Howard and Seana Shiffrin examine whether there is a moral distinction between legislating speech and legislating action, and a special bonus episode featuring Stephen Metcalf of Slate Culture Gabfest talking with Barry.
For all back episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 of Hi-Phi Nation, visit www.hiphination.org.