We can put to bed any lingering doubt that “hate speech” restrictions are about creating a subjective end-run around freedom of speech.

Maybe some Millennials are too young to remember, but the ability of government school students to wear whatever t-shirts they wanted was once a major theme in the mainstream media.  These days, we’re learning that it’s highly dependent on the message of the shirt:

In 2023, the seventh grader at John T. Nichols Middle School was told he could not wear a shirt to class with the phrase “There Are Only Two Genders” printed on the front, as it was in violation of the school’s dress code. …

According to the school’s dress code, “clothing must not state, imply, or depict hate speech or imagery that target[s] groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or any other classification.” Carolyn Lyons, superintendent of the Middleboro Public Schools System, explained to the student’s father that the shirt in question “was understood to ‘target students of a protected class; names in the area of gender identity.’”

This was always the obvious end-game of “hate speech” rules.  Once you can ban speech based on the subjective interpretation that it is “hateful,” all that remains is to define criticism of your beliefs as “hate.”

People of integrity who believe in civil rights and freedom should be done playing these games.

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