Hey guys, I know it’s natural to be cautious and worried about the possible ways any infringement on free speech can be turned around and used on the relatively powerless. That’s important, and kudos to folks for thinking through the problem carefully.
But in the US we already have a clear statement in law that you can use as your (relatively) bright line test:
- Does this speech advocate for or encourage the deaths of other people?
- Does this speech advocate for other forms of violence against other people, such as beating, sexual assault, use of chemical weapons, etc.?
- Does this group train and encourage people to carry out the deaths of other people through aggressive acts?
- Please note that defensive training, martial arts, etc. don’t fall into this category, because they’re focused on community and self-defense. This can get fuzzy, because some advocates of violence hide behind “defense”, but journalists are usually pretty good at uncovering that.
- Does this speech celebrate the recent deaths of political opponents in their own country, especially those who died by violence?
There it is. There’s your test. At its core, the issue is violent rhetoric that’s intended to end in violent acts. And yes, both the government and private citizens are empowered to not give violence a platform. The First Amendment does not protect threats or incitement to violence.