What we today call "hate speech" is any speech that is not considered "politically correct" by our leftist overlords. So, since "hate speech" is forever tied to PC culture, before we can talk about "hate speech", we must define "political correctness".
Political correctness is a term used to define silencing opposition under the guise of being inoffensive. Here are some examples:
-If you oppose illegal immigration, you are a racist.
-If you think we should properly vet refugees from unstable parts of the world, especially when terrorist organizations have said they will use them to infiltrate our country, you're Islamophobic.
-If you think marriage is a religious institution, and the government shouldn't be making rules about it at all, you're homophobic.
Political correctness, as you can see, is just a way for lazy leftists to not have to put any thoughts into arguments. Calling someone racist is an easy way to stop an argument before you ever have to defend your point of view.
It seems every day there is a politician having to apologize for using a word that some group finds offensive. I recall a senator a few years back that got in trouble for using the word "niggardly", because it sounds like a racial slur against black people. Now, for those of you who don't know this, "niggardly" is a word credited to Shakespeare (though, like many words credited to him, it is probably older), that simply means "cheap". The word has no etymological relation to the racial slur. And yet, that senator was still put into the metaphorical stocks until he apologized. Note: a simple apology would not have worked were this senator not a democrat.
I usually go the Ben Shapiro route, and say that the correct response to "You're a racist", isn't "I'm sorry", it's "No, you're just an asshole."
This leads us to the ultimate question, what are the legal limits, if any, to our freedom of speech?
As an American Constitutional conservative, I have to say, there are none.
This is the point in the conversation, usually, where those on the other side of the argument get a bit twitchy, then ask the tired old question, "Well, what about yelling 'fire!' in a crowded theater?"
Let me put this argument, once and for all, to bed. In that case, it is not the speech that is illegal, it's the fact that you're calling people to action, (in this case, inciting a panic) under false pretenses. The speech isn't illegal, because there is a perfectly fine time to yell fire in a crowded theater, and that's when there IS a fire.
If you think there should be limits to our freedom of speech, you then have to answer these questions:
-What should the limits be?
-Who should be the ones creating these limits?
-Who should be the arbiters of these limits?
-How should these limits be enforced?
I think that once you start down that road, it's hard to get back.
I'll leave you with a quote from Ben Franklin: "If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed."