Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me

Written Dr. Everett Piper

[Last] week, the Scottish government passed the Hate Crime and Public Order Act. In summary, it is now illegal in Scotland to “stir up hatred” via government-prohibited words and thoughts. Violators are subject to arrest and subsequent punishment of up to seven years in prison.

Almost immediately upon the law’s passage, a groundswell of reaction occurred. Scottish police were inundated with incident reports, totaling more than 4,000 complaints within the first 48 hours.

Now, because it’s clear to everyone that this law is intended to silence those who oppose the sexual nihilism and heavy-handedness of the LGBTQIA cabal, you might assume that the majority of these complaints were directed at biblical Christians. But that’s not the case. In fact, the most significant percentage of reports of hate speech was directed at the Scottish First Minister and lead architect of the new bill, Humza Yousaf, who has made derogatory remarks about “white people” on the floor of the country’s parliament.

This attitude of “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is inevitable when your culture insists on sawing away at the branch upon which it sits. Legislating intolerance under the banner of tolerance is duplicitous and self-refuting. Claiming you’re an “anti-racist” while you spout off racism makes you look conflicted at best. And pretending to be inclusive while you exclude everyone who disagrees with you doesn’t end well. Sooner or later, people demand payback, and the branch comes tumbling down, while the one with the saw in his hand gets hurt by his own agenda. Even some on the extreme sexual left are beginning to recognize this. Here’s what James Paul (writing for the Queer Majority, of all places) has to say about the dangers of policing human thought and expression.

Concerning Brazil’s new “hate speech” laws, which, like Scotland’s, make government-prohibited communication punishable by prison sentences, Mr. Paul offers the following.

Banning speech on pain of imprisonment [is] misguided and dangerously reckless [and] it moves society backward. Freedom of speech has never been ‘the right to voice approved opinions.’ Such speech needs no protection, and what is ‘approved’ is both subjective and constantly changing. The value of free speech is in protecting speech we disapprove of, thereby protecting all speech, including our own. Hearts and minds are not changed by government decree, and attempting to police the thoughts of the public through courts and legislatures is a treacherous road to go down…

Mr. Paul concludes,

Freedoms are always easier to take away than they are to establish. It is tempting, when we hold power, to create authoritarian tools for imposing our will and agenda on others. What happens, however, when our successor, whose politics may be diametrically opposite, picks up these tools and begins using them to advance their ambitions? We must be prepared to see every governmental or institutional power we create will eventually be wielded against us by our political and ideological adversaries. And providing the state with the ability to jail citizens for voicing verboten opinions is a potent tool indeed.

Now, it’s obvious I disagree with Mr. Paul on many things, as it’s equally clear he disagrees with me. I, for example, think his sexual choices are harmful to mind, body, and soul. I also believe his underlying worldview is an ontological error inevitably leading to the fabrication of innumerable minority classes, which are defined by little more than their desires, and that this social balkanization has led us to the mess we are now in. Finally, I am as offended by his redefining good as evil and evil as good as he is in that I dare say so.

But our disagreements aside, I can still applaud his comments regarding free speech and his defense of my legal right to say what I just said. The encouraging thing is that while he obviously disagrees with me, he still apparently believes I have the right to think what I think, write what I write, and say what I say. It appears both of us learned the early childhood lesson that flies in the face of these insane anti-speech laws: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Mr. Paul ends his essay by quoting Frederick Douglass:

Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down [because] they know its power. Free speech is the keystone fight upon which all others depend. Weakening speech rights today arms our persecutors tomorrow.

Amen, Mr. Paul. Disagreement doesn’t mean I hate you, nor does it mean you hate me, and it is high time our friends and foes alike learned the same before we all find ourselves seeking the permission of Orwell’s thought police to say or write anything.

This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Dr. Everett Piper (, @dreverettpiper), is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” and Grow Up! Life Isn’t Safe But It’s Good, both published by Regnery. This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Dr. Piper has been a featured speaker in dozens of venues including the Values Voter Summit, the Council for National Policy, the Young American Foundation, the National Congress for Families, and the inaugural ceremony for the United States Department of Health and Human Service’s and Office of Civil Rights creation of a new division for religious freedom. Go here to listen and watch these and/or for more info.