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Saving the h-word

Monday, October 15, 2007 by Dave Winer.

Usually I ignore the moralistic snipes that come from a handful of bloggers, but to characterize a post of mine with a term like "hate" is really over the top. The post certainly was critical of a piece of software, but hate is a special word, and should be saved for special circumstances. Permalink to this paragraph

My family emigrated to the U.S. during World War II from fascist-occupied Europe. Growing up, my grandparents told us stories of how they fled for their lives and how the U.S. welcomed us. Without that, I wouldn't be here today, I never would have been born, because my parents and grandparents wouldn't have survived. What they dealt with certainly was hate. It was there in NY when I was told by schoolmates that their uncles were killed in World War II fighting for "The Jews." To be blamed for the deaths of loved ones when I wasn't even born was, imho, an example of hate.  Permalink to this paragraph

Saying that a software system is controlling its users, when it obviously is, is not hate. It's criticism, and it's one of the things guaranteed by our Constitution in the United States. In this country hate speech does not enjoy the same protection. So let's not cross that line so easily. Let's not devalue a term like hate, let's save it for those special circumstances when speech is used to persecute innocent people. Permalink to this paragraph

PS: I turned on the TechMeme blocker to be sure this post doesn't appear there. I don't want this to turn into a topic that other people pile onto in hope of improving their rank on the Leaderboard. I'm seriously considering leaving the flag on, because the atmosphere there has turned so acrid. Permalink to this paragraph

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