Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Stochastic Terrorism, Speech Incantations, and Federal Tax Exemption
At long last, I have finally finished my article, the name of which is in the headline. It proves that hate groups are not entitled to tax exemption. It argues, as well, that government may not grant tax exempt status to hate groups. My purpose is to get to the right outcome so I admit that there is an argument against the proposition that government is constitutionally prohibited from granting tax exempt status to hate groups. That argument is wrong, I am sure and I will strengthen my conclusion as I edit. The arguments that government must grant tax exempt status because to do otherwise is to deprive hate groups of their right to free speech is an exceedingly lazy one. It is made, not because constitutional scholars like Eugene Volokh are racist or stupid (though the notion of a hate group being charitable, even just for tax purposes, is so absurd that it must be hard to see the stupidity of it). I think instead that there are some free speech purists who cling to the discredited "marketplace of ideas" and so speech should never be infringed, no matter how odious or dangerous. Fair enough. But that hardly equates to a requirement for subsidy. Here is a quote from Justice Stevens that succinctly summarizes my conclusion: "[Hate] groups may exclude or mistreat Jews, blacks, and women—or those who do not share their contempt for Jews, blacks, and women. A free society must tolerate such groups. It need not subsidize them, give them its official imprimatur, or grant them equal access to law school facilities." Christian Legal Society Chapter of the University of California v. Martinez, 561 U.S. at 703 (Stevens, J. concurring).
Here is the abstract to my article:
Stochastic terrorists demonize and dehumanize groups of people through propaganda to incite “lone wolf” violence against those groups. Their demonization and dehumanization is explicit, but their solicitation of murder is implicit and sufficiently ambiguous that most listeners will not perceive their call. But a few will perceive, fewer still will act. The resulting murder, legally attributable to the killer but not the hate group, is random and unpredictable by time, place, or manner. Researchers theorize that stochastic terrorism is nevertheless capable of statistical analysis the results of which positively correlates violence to hate speech; murders increase even if it cannot be determined when, where or how a particular murder will occur. Stochastic terrorism is the raison d’etre of hate groups.
Stochastic terrorism is protected speech so far; it does not constitute fighting words, incite imminent lawlessness, or provoke a stampede to the exits. The law is not yet enlightened. I accept but do not rely on the inevitability of murder in my analysis. Whether stochastic terrorists are successful is not essential to my conclusion. Nevertheless, we should be explicit about what hate groups seek and the murders they incite before discussing their claim to tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3). It diminishes the analysis not to be explicit. I do not allow for any other possibility than that hate groups seek the death of those they hate. Stochastic terrorists are genocidal; they would neither settle for subjugation or forced expatriation, nor concede reparations even if those were acceptable alternatives. I disprove the argument that because their speech is protected, stochastic terrorists are entitled, as an exercise of their free speech, to tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3). The opposite is true. Government is required to deny tax exemption to stochastic terrorists.