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Frankly, I don't know what a specific legal criteria might even look like. In fact, I'm not even sure I'd like someone smarter than me with legal street credentials to come up with one.

What I do know is that SCOTUS famously refused to define what porn is [0], and went instead with something to the effect of: I know it when I see it, and this is not it.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

Methinks we as a society can arrive to similar types of rulings for intolerance.




> Methinks we as a society can arrive to similar types of rulings for intolerance.

Freedom of speech is too important to be of secondary value to something that can't even be defined clearly.


On the contrary. It is so important that it cannot be secondary to something that can be defined clearly. Hence my comment.

Edit for clarity: What you think is fine or not today may or may not be considered fine in the future. So there's an incentive to not set what is intolerance in stone on the basis that today's standards may not match those in the future.


Freedom of speech ensures we can always debate the value of the rest of our rights. Without it, that amorphous 'tolerance' could remove the ability to speak against bad things.

Who defines hate speech? Mobs? Who gets to enforce the official definition of intolerant behavior? Trump? Hillary? (hyperbole to make a point) If we don't maintain freedom of speech above tolerance, then we cannot speak out when our words violate the accepted (and as you pointed out, transitory and unpredictable) definition of 'what is fine'.

Do you really want to just stop talking, without recourse, when a future mob decides your words are unacceptable?


This is exactly right. So much of the discussion here is because people can't turn their own arguments against themselves. The sentiment is, "clearly this is bad and needs to go away." This is also an extension of surveillance arguments where people say "i have nothing to hide." They forget to take into consideration the power that has been given to a group that could become immoral in the future and use that power against them. I really wish we could agree that freedom is a burden and we can and should shoulder that burden because it is worth it. Let's all take some responsibility for not doing enough to convince extremists away from their beliefs. Let's accept that censorship represents a failure of imagination in combating the issue responsibly (whatever that might be).


That’s probably the most widely mocked thing a justice has ever said -- it's even mentioned in your source -- so it's probably not the best argument to put forward.


I always took "I'll know it when I see it" to actually mean "I want to see a whole lot of it!", as Edwin Meese demonstrated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meese_Report

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/21/books/some-say-meese-repo...


Part of the problem is that historically intolerance has been defined as "opposition to openness" and indeed historically most human societies were too closed.

Any hope of easy classification crumbles when you consider that a society can be too open (there are actual group that want to include age as a form of protected self expression, with significant consequences on the legality of various actions).

At this point is it being intolerant if you do not tolerate treating a 30 years old person as 8 years old in matters of law?




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