Suddenly, The NY Times Is Concerned With Crackdowns On “Hate Speech”

Does anyone think the NY Times would be upset if “hate speech” crackdowns and restrictions were enacted towards Conservatives, Tea Party members, or Christians? Anyhow, the Times was also not brave enough to show the total front cover of the latest Charlie Hebdo. This one is written by the editorial board

Wrong Responses to Charlie Hebdo

Leaders in Europe are justifiably trying to figure out what they should be doing to prevent terrorist attacks like the recent massacre at the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Regrettably, some politicians are proposing the kind of Internet censorship and surveillance that would do little to protect their citizens but do a lot to infringe on civil liberties.

Interesting, because that is exactly what is happening here in America, as it emanates from Liberals for a variety of reasons, especially on college campuses.

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In Paris, a dozen interior ministers from European Union countries including France, Britain and Germany issued a statement earlier this week calling on Internet service providers to identify and take down online content “that aims to incite hatred and terror.” The ministers also want the European Union to start monitoring and storing information about the itineraries of air travelers. And in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested the country should ban Internet services that did not give the government the ability to monitor all encrypted chats and calls.

Strange, Obama and many Democrats (and, let’s face it, a few Republicans) want the same thing here.

Even before the Charlie Hebdo attack, European leaders were proposing or enacting harsh measures. For example, the French Parliament passed a law in September that allows the authorities to temporarily seize the passports and identity cards of citizens who seem intent on joining foreign terrorist organizations. And this week, French officials said they had arrested 54 people for hate speech, including a controversial comedian.

I guess there’s a certain type of “hate speech” and a certain type of action that the NY Times doesn’t want to restrict. Weird, eh?

Appealing as these measures may sound in the aftermath of a tragedy, they are deeply flawed. Countries like France and Germany have long had stricter controls on speech than the United States. For example, their governments have in the past forced Internet firms like Yahoo and Twitter to take down Nazi propaganda. But those decisions are generally made by government officials or judges, not technology companies.

Notice there really wasn’t a condemnation of those restrictions against modern day Nazis.

Of course, governments can and should take steps to identify threats and prevent terrorist attacks through targeted intelligence gathering. But there is good reason to believe that widespread censorship and intrusive surveillance will only undermine personal freedoms and could even make us less secure.

I will wholly agree that restricting speech is dangerous. The government going after folks who speak out is dangerous. Why does the NY Times, though, typically agree with restrictions on Free Speech here in America that it doesn’t agree with? College campuses are hotbeds of free speech restrictions, particularly at government run/funded ones. I can’t remember the NY Times speaking out on that.

That said, does government have the ability and right to deal with speech that is threatening? As the saying goes, you can’t legally shout fire in a crowded movie theater (unless there is actually a fire). You can’t threaten to kill people. You can’t threaten to burn things. Etc and so on. Well, actually, you can, but there are Consequences for doing so.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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