How to Address Hate Speech and Ad Hominem

The issue of hate speech against Patch bloggers. How do we address it?

As I am reading many of the responses on the Patch to bloggers, I have seen a pattern that is somewhat disturbing. In an age of communicating and sparring between conservatives and liberals, we see the use of dirty accusational words, dismissive statements and many other unjustified claims.

For example, the claim that we shouldn't listen to those radical liberals in Madison is a claim that they are simply not worth listening to because they are radical. Their radicalism isn't really proven through some sort of justification. It's a fallacy called loaded words, which is a form of unjustified criticism.

Let's say a conservative is talking about a liberal minority group that has made discriminatory slurs against white people. The conservative makes no racist comments but keeps their conservative view. Some people will turn around and say to the conservative that the comments they are making are nothing more than racist and stupid. This fallacy is known as ad hominem (against the person). It "consists in rejecting a claim or an argument by offering as grounds some personal characteristic of the person supporting it." (Munson and Black)

My question is how to address such issues on the Patch and whether or not we should point them out in order to shut these people down. I understand that hate speech is allowed under the first amendment to certain conditions that are defined by the government; however, as a social people, perhaps we should monitor ourselves a little more in order to reduce the need to use up the government's money, because of our ignorance. Or is it the case that we should allow the government to stop us and allow us to push the limits of hate speech so that we can focus on other issues more important to our personal interests.

I'm curious to hear what you all have to say.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jay Sekys August 17, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Randy1949 August 17, 2012 at 04:23 PM
"I hope you just scramble the letters in your name, so that we will always know that it is indeed you, Brian." Splendid idea! ~signed Danry1499
Ima Hippee August 18, 2012 at 03:58 PM
This is a constant problem. There are certain participants who troll under a variety of identities just to trash others. It seems to me that the worst offenders have been those on the extreme left. I can't say for certain but I notice some with the same writing style and vocabulary under different handles. My approach is to stay on message as much as possible, denigrate, bully and antagonize those who are particularly weak.
Randy1949 August 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Same writing style? You mean that some of us on the Left can spell, use punctuation, and employ big words? And, pray, what is your definition of weak?
Andrew Ruble August 20, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I think regardless of which side these are coming from. Be it right or left, that point is entirely mute. use of name calling and insults only serves to detract from the importance of an argument (red herring). There are brilliant people on both sides of the field; however, people seem to lose sight of the fact that other opinions can still be considered as feasible albeit not what we necessarily want.


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