In a recent guest editorial (“Another View: Boston counterprotest did not deny anyone’s free-speech rights” Aug. 27), Scott Caulfield of Yarmouth twice used the term “hate speech.” There is no such thing as “hate speech.”

Writing for a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on June 19, 2017, Justice Samuel Alito ruled: “Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability or any other similar ground is hateful, but the proudest boast of our free jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the ‘thought that we hate.’ ”

In the United States there is speech, and then at the edge there are obscenity, libel and incitement. There is a difference between saying in the abstract: “I think the government should be overthrown,” and saying to a group of armed rebels: “Meet me here in an hour; let’s overthrow the government.”

Recall that in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters chanted: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now.” Even that speech was protected by the First Amendment.

Also, Caulfield’s account of the recent protest event on Boston Common doesn’t match the public record, which shows the counterprotesters were anything but peaceful. Police were injured and arrests were made. The two dozen or so unarmed free-speech protesters dared not speak or show themselves for fear of their lives.

Walter J. Eno

Scarborough