Dr Alexander Brown, University of East Anglia, UK/ Visiting Fellow, POLSIS, UQ

Title: Do elected politicians have any special moral duties to refrain from engaging in hate speech?

Abstract: 
Do elected politicians have any special moral duties to refrain from engaging in hate speech over and above any general duties all citizens might (or might not) have not to engage in such speech? If so, what are the underlying principles behind, or justificatory bases for, these special moral duties? Does it have something to do with the fact that politicians are role models? Is that hate speech by politicians is especially corrosive of assurances of the civic dignity of people who are the subject of hate speech? Is it that hate speech by politicians grants an authority to ordinary hate speakers? Is that hate speech by politicians normalises or even trivializes the practice of engaging in hate speech? Or something else? Furthermore, are there any countervailing duties? For example, do elected representatives also have a duty to represent the views and perspectives of those people they represent including by doing in ways and styles that are “true” to or mirror the ways in which those people speak, even if this involves the use of hate speech?

Bio:
Alexander Brown is Reader in Political and Legal Theory in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. His publications on hate speech include: Hate Speech Law: A Philosophical Examination (Routledge, 2015); ‘What is Hate Speech? Part 1: The Myth of Hate’, Law and Philosophy36 (2017): 419-468; ‘What is Hate Speech? Part 2: Family Resemblances’, Law and Philosophy 36 (2017): 561-613; ‘The “Who?” Question in the Hate Speech Debate: Part 1: Consistency, Practical, and Formal Approaches’, Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence 29 (2016): 275-320; ‘The “Who?” Question in the Hate Speech Debate: Part 2: Functional and Democratic Approaches’, Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence 30 (2017): 23-55; ‘Retheorizing Actionable Injuries in Civil Lawsuits Involving Targeted Hate Speech: Hate Speech as Degradation and Humiliation’, Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review 9 (2017): 1-55; ‘Averting Your Eyes in the Information Age: Hate Speech, the Internet, and the Captive Audience Doctrine’, Charleston Law Review (forthcoming); ‘What is so Special About Online (as Compared to Offline) Hate Speech? Internet Companies, Community Standards and the Extragovernmental Regulation of Cyberhate’, Ethnicities(forthcoming): Alexander Brown, ‘The Meaning of Silence in Cyberspace: The Authority Problem and Online Hate Speech’ in K. Gelber and S. Brison (eds.) Free Speech in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

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