Never trust secondary sources.
Here is what seems to be the significant text of the bill
... a person shall be guilty of an offence under this section if —
(a) the person —
(i) communicates material to the public or a section of the public, or
(ii) behaves in a public place in a manner,
that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or a group of persons on account of their protected characteristics or any of those characteristics, and
(b) the person does so with intent to incite violence or hatred against such a person or group of persons on account of those characteristics or any of those characteristics or being reckless as to whether such violence or hatred is thereby incited.
Protected characteristics are: race, color, nationality, religion, national or ethnic origin, descent, gender, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, or
There are other sections about things like preparing or collecting material with the intent of it being used as described above and about details, but the above seems to be the gist of the bill.
So to review some characteriz
ations from Paul's transcription of the Spectator
Under the Bill, soon to become an Act, it will become a crime to say anything, in person or online, which anybody from a protected category (race, gender religion, sexuality etc.) finds hateful or offensive.
Doesn't seem to be true. Has to be done with the intent of inciting violence or hatred.
So, for example, if you have a copy of something like The Turner Diaries or Mein Kampf on your phone or laptop, you are now looking at a potential sentence of five years in jail.
No. Only if you have them with the intent to have them distributed with the intent of inciting violence or hatred.
In reality what this means is that Irish pro-life groups can expect calls from the cops when they say that life begins at conception.
? Maybe in a very particular context?
It means that feminists who assert that a man is a man and a woman is a woman and who believe in biological reality can expect criminal prosecution, with jail and unlimited fines lurking over their shoulders.
If they do it with the intent of marginaliz
ing or demeaning transexuals, potentially yes. Is that wrong?
In America, we have the legal notion that "fighting words" are not protected free speech. This was first recognized in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)
, where the unprotected "fighting words" were apparently "damned racketeer" and "damned Fascist" (? different times?). "Fighting words" were defined in the ruling as words or statements that "by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace," and the ruling immediately noted, "It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality." ("Morality" probably included because the ruling also noted that "lewd and obscene" speech is not protected. Different times.) Note that none of this was based on "protected characteristics," and I don't think it was ever argued that Chaplinsky intended
to provoke his target to violence, only to insult him.
So this original standard was A LOT more restrictive of speech than any standard we tolerate in American, at least. America in 1942 was an awfully fucked up place. I think most "hate crime" restrictions on speech do something like the Irish bill, and only restrict provocations based on "protected characteristics."
I believe pretty strongly in a right to be left alone. If you're minding your own business, in general no one else should trouble you. And I think that's the intent of "hate crime" laws. They can be abused, sure, but on the whole they are good: if you are part of a historically or socially marginaliz
ed group, is it not wrong for anyone to remind your of your marginaliz
ation and to reinforce it? Criminaliz
ing such behavior is maybe heavy handed ... but also some of it probably should be criminaliz
ed. And maybe less egregious behavior should be recogniz
ed as a violation subject to a fine.