Free Speech Under Attack
By Pater Tenebrarum
Offending People Left and Right
Bill Bonner, whose Diaries we republish here, is well-known for being an equal opportunity offender – meaning that political affiliation, gender, age, or any other defining characteristics won’t save worthy targets from getting offended. As far as we are concerned, we generally try not to be unnecessarily rude to people, but occasionally giving offense is not exactly beneath us either.
Some people really deserve it, after all, …which is why we often refer to modern-day central bankers as lunatics, politicians as psychopaths, governments as gangs of highway robbers waving a flag, and so forth. On one occasion we even provided a translation of Mr. Böhmermann’s “abusive criticism” of Mr. Erdogan, which fell afoul of a 19th century lèse majesté law on Germany’s statute books.
That poem really was rude and insulting, no doubt about it. However, locking up journalists and opposition politicians under the pretext that they “threaten national security”, or bombing and suppressing ethnic minorities(for narrow and selfish political goals to boot) seems a lot worse to us.
The person responsible actually deserves to be insulted day and night, and given how thin-skinned Mr. Erdogan is, insulting him is great fun to boot. Admittedly, only as long as one is not within grabbing distance of his enforcers.
Similar to Bill, we also believe in equal opportunity offending. Since we are often at odds with the mainstream narrative on a wide variety of subjects, it seems unavoidable. For all their diversity, most of the targets are united by one overarching defining characteristic: they are either exercising power over other people or dispensing advice to those exercising such power. In our opinion, this makes them fair game.
As has been pointed out in these pages, so-called “political correctness” is essentially an attempt to muzzle free speech and introduce thought control (see “Cultural Marxism and the Birth of Modern Thought Crime” by Claudio Grass for an in-depth discussion of the topic). It also has the uncanny power to transform normally intelligent people into gibbering idiots and pansies (“Reality is a Formidable Enemy” provides a few striking examples).
Unfortunately, equal opportunity offenders are an increasingly endangered species. The world’s densest concentration of powerful and unaccountable statist control freaks in Brussels has just decided that “hate speech” is in need of more policing. Given the salami tactics favored by the Eurocracy, this is quite alarming.
“Voluntary” Agreement and Official Goals
The EU Commission and three large US technology companies (Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) have just signed an agreement on policing and eradicating so-called “hate speech” – under, you probably guessed it, the pretext of “fighting terrorism”.
Terrorism has become a catch-all very similar to “climate change”. Just as there is apparently no ill in this world that cannot somehow be traced to the latter (global warming is responsible for such diverse evils as heroin addiction, the rise of ISIS, a lack of red-haired people, bear attacks in Japan, collapsing gingerbread houses in Sweden and even global cooling) – there are seemingly no civil liberties that cannot be done away with at the stroke of a pen in order to “fight terrorism”.
You won’t be surprised to learn that there has been no public consultation, parliamentary debate or vote on this agreement. It has simply sprung into being overnight. After all, who could possibly be against it? No-one is in favor of hate or terrorism, and since the “code of conduct” agreement is “voluntary” and doesn’t constitute legislation, the EU bureaucrats decided no debate was necessary.
To this one must keep in mind that US technology companies are subject to regular shakedowns by the EU’s “competition commission” as if competing European companies actually existed. They don’t exist of course because innovation and capital accumulation have become nigh-impossible tasks in the sclerotic socialistic EU.
Normally, big businesses use “anti-trust” laws as a means to bludgeon the competition. In this case, though, the shakedowns are initiated by bureaucrats themselves, in the name of protecting non-existing companies. This makes the whole exercise especially bizarre, but no less costly to its victims.
The upshot is though that US technology companies are eager to please EU bureaucrats, so as to avoid getting shaken down again for big money too soon.
The official goal of these restrictions on “hate speech” is to remove messages and postings by jihadists supporting ISIS. These are held to entice impressionable youngsters living in various “no future” ghettos across Europe – the people so eagerly invited in by the very same politicians imposing these restrictions now – to join the IS in Syria or commit violence in its name.
Granted, confused young Muslims surely need and deserve better role models than propagandists of IS and the violent medieval retro-philosophy they preach. The problem is however that what constitutes “hate speech” is very much in the eye of the beholder.
A Problem of Definitions
For once we are on the same page with the usually firmly etatiste pro-establishment magazine “The Economist”, which has surprised us positively with a critical assessment of the EU’s latest move to restrict free speech. As the Economist notes:
[T]he idea has spread that people and groups have a right not to be offended. This may sound innocuous. Politeness is a virtue, after all. But if I have a right not to be offended, that means someone must police what you say about me, or about the things I hold dear, such as my ethnic group, religion, or even political beliefs. Since offense is subjective, the power to police it is both vast and arbitrary.
If one doesn’t agree with someone’s speech, one should simply counter it with more convincing speech. Suppressing views one disagrees with by law (or by means of a “voluntary” agreement as is the case here) may only end up convincing those holding these views that they have to resort to more forceful means if they want to make themselves heard. In other words, more, rather than less violence may be the result.
The “code of conduct” is supposed to be applied to speech identified as “racist and xenophobic” – as if racism and xenophobia could be eradicated by prohibiting people from voicing it!
Immigration is moreover a hot button political issue in Europe right now, so it is easy to see how the charge of “racism and xenophobia” could be misused to simply suppress political dissent. In fact, the vultures are already beginning to circle...
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