Garrote Tightens Around the Neck of Free Speech

We can gauge how fast liberty is dying by how aggressively freedom of expression is attacked. It doesn’t have to be the government that does the attacking:

U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists.

Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The measures are ostensibly intended to target Muslim extremists. But “hate speech” is whatever the progressives in charge say it is.

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Meanwhile, Glenn Beck has been suspended from SiriusXM radio over a conversation he had with author Brad Thor about what might happen if Trump takes power and imposes dictatorship and national catastrophe on the level of Lenin and Hitler, as Trump’s character and mental state make conceivable. This one is less black and white than most. Thor stands accused of calling for assassination. But the conversation was hypothetical, referring to a situation that might exist at some point in the future.

Freedom of expression ought to be defended most energetically in academia. Instead, we read that sociology professor Ada Cheng has resigned in protest from DePaul University because a speaker she doesn’t like was allowed to be heard there, despite efforts to shut him down. Cheng denounces “so-called free speech” as “delusional.”

Direct involvement by the government was not required to chill free speech in any of these cases. But as we come to accept being gagged, involvement by government will follow.

Liberty is as delicate as it is precious. If it is not defended, it will not survive.

The words of Ronald Reagan ring truer than ever:


On tips from J, Stormfax, and JeffersonSpinningInGrave. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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