Should democracies ban hate speech?

The goal of this paper is to develop a normative framework for justifiable hate speech regulation. The paper looks at four justifications. First, the line of argument developed by critical race theorists that assumes hate speech leads to direct harm and violation of rights of individuals. Second, the Weimar model that rests on the assumption that hate speech can lead to indirect harm to members of vulnerable minorities by creating a toxic environment. Third, the justification derived from the idea that forms of extreme public speech violate the basic values and principles of constitutional democracies. The fourth approach extends this argument from general values to the status of citizens by arguing that hate speech violates the equal standing of citizens by attempting to exclude certain members of society from the process of democratic deliberation. After discussing the five approaches to hate speech, the paper will develop a framework for regulating hate speech in the public sphere.