Skip to comments.France has turned into one of the worldwide threats to free speech
Posted on 07/06/2019 8:12:39 AM PDT by yesthatjallen
Just over a year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron came to the United States to import two different species to Washington. One was a French oak tree and the other was a crackdown on free speech. Ironically, soon after the tree was planted, officials quickly dug it up to send it to quarantine. However, the more dangerous species was his acorn of speech controls, a proposal that resulted in rapturous applause from our clueless politicians.
Ultimately, the tree died and the acorn has not fared much better. While our politicians may applaud Macron like village idiots, most Americans are hardcore believers in free speech. It is in our blood. Undeterred, however, Macron and Europe are moving to unilaterally impose speech controls on the internet with new legislation in France and Germany. If you think that this is a European issue, think again.
Macron and his government are attempting to unilaterally scrub the internet of hateful thoughts. The French Parliament has moved toward a new law that would give internet companies like Facebook and Google just 24 hours to remove hateful speech from their sites or face fines of $1.4 million per violation. A final vote is expected next week. Germany passed a similar measure last year, imposing fines of $56 million.
The French and Germans have given up trying to convince the United States to surrender free-speech protections. They realized that they do not have to: By imposing crippling fines, major companies will be forced into censoring speech under ill-defined standards. The result could be the curtailment of the greatest single invention fostering free speech in the history of the world. And it is all happening without a whimper of opposition from Congress or from most civil liberties organizations.
The move by the Europeans hits in the blind spot of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment does an excellent job of preventing government action against free speech; most of the laws in Europe curtailing speech would be facially unconstitutional in the United States. However, although protected against Big Brother, we are entirely vulnerable to Little Brother, the private companies that have wide discretion on curtailing speech while controlling a huge amount of speech around the world.
Europeans know that these companies are unlikely to surgically remove content for individual countries. The effect will be similar to the California Exception. Under the Clean Air Act, all states are subject to uniform vehicle emissions standards. However, California was given an exception to establish its own, more stringent standards. Rather than create special cars for California, the more stringent standards tend to drive car designs. When it comes to speech controls, Europeans know that they can limit speech not only in their countries but practically limit speech in the United States and other pro-free speech countries.
They are building on past success. In 2013, a group of Jewish students used French laws to sue Twitter to force it to hand over the identities of anonymous posters of comments deemed anti-Semitic. To its credit, Twitter fought to protect anonymity but the European courts ruled against the company and, ultimately, it caved. Anonymity is now being rolled back as rapidly as free speech in these countries.
Macron knows that the European speech-controls are likely to metastasize throughout the Internet. They have already laid waste to free speech in Europe. These laws criminalize speech under vague standards that refer to intimidating or inciting others based on race or religion. For example, fashion designer John Galliano was found guilty Thursday in a French court on charges of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris bar. At Galliano's sentencing, Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud read out a list of the bad words used by Galliano to Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgitti: He said dirty whore at least a thousand times.
Likewise, the father of French conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was convicted for calling Roma smelly. A French mother was prosecuted because her son went to school with a tee-shirt reading I am a bomb. In Germany, a man was arrested for having a ringtone with the voice of Hitler. A conservative politician in Germany was placed under criminal investigation for a tweet on New Years Eve in which she accused police of appeasing barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men. Last year, even German justice minister Heiko Maas was censored under his own laws because he called an author an idiot on Twitter.
The result of these ill-defined laws is predictable. A recent poll showed that only 18 percent of Germans feel they can freely speak in public; more than 31 percent did not even feel free expressing themselves in private among friends. Just 17 percent felt free to express themselves on the internet, and 35 percent said that freedom of speech is confined to the smallest of private circles. That is called a chilling effect.
There are renewed calls in the United Nations to make hate speech a type of international crime. Muslim nations want blasphemy included, while Israel recently called for anti-Semitism to be criminalized. Even in our own country, politicians like former governor Howard Dean (D-Vt.) and various academics have declared that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Just last week, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) called for people to be prosecuted for making fun of members of Congress. Worse yet, a recent poll showed that half of college students in the United States do not believe that speech deemed hateful should be protected.
The sad irony of France now leading anti-speech efforts worldwide is overwhelming. Once the bastion of liberty, France is now one of the greatest threats to free speech in the world. It has even cracked down on free speech with criminal investigations. For years, we have been content to watch from our side of the Atlantic and dismiss these trends as a European thing. With these new laws, however, it is now a global thing. Macrons acorn is growing, and this invasive species is about to be unleashed on the worldwide web.
What's to stop any agent provocateur (group or individual) from posting extreme content on any platform to drive a company out of business with crippling fines?
Get it? Frog in a pot? France? Frog????
What is to stop a site from ignoring the fines if the servers are not physically located in France or Germany?
That’s one way to stop Peepee the Toad from hopping around hollerin’ KOK! at everyone.
...various academics have declared that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.
They say that because they are opposed to the First Amendment. When push comes to shove, as it finally will, either they will die on our bayonets, or they will themselves be purged, because, after all, mixing metaphors, there can only be one. Snip from 1984, published in 1949:
The story really began in the middle sixties, the period of the great purges in which the original leaders of the Revolution were wiped out once and for all. By 1970 none of them was left, except Big Brother himself. All the rest had by that time been exposed as traitors and counter-revolutionaries. Goldstein had fled and was hiding no one knew where, and of the others, a few had simply disappeared, while the majority had been executed after spectacular public trials at which they made confession of their crimes. Among the last survivors were three men named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. It must have been in 1965 that these three had been arrested. As often happened, they had vanished for a year or more, so that one did not know whether they were alive or dead, and then had suddenly been brought forth to incriminate themselves in the usual way. They had confessed to intelligence with the enemy (at that date, too, the enemy was Eurasia), embezzlement of public funds, the murder of various trusted Party members, intrigues against the leadership of Big Brother which had started long before the Revolution happened, and acts of sabotage causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people. After confessing to these things they had been pardoned, reinstated in the Party, and given posts which were in fact sinecures but which sounded important. All three had written long, abject articles in the Times, analysing the reasons for their defection and promising to make amends.
Some time after their release Winston had actually seen all three of them in the Chestnut Tree Café. He remembered the sort of terrified fascination with which he had watched them out of the corner of his eye. They were men far older than himself, relics of the ancient world, almost the last great figures left over from the heroic days of the Party. The glamour of the underground struggle and the civil war still faintly clung to them. He had the feeling, though already at that time facts and dates were growing blurry, that he had known their names years earlier than he had known that of Big Brother. But also they were outlaws, enemies, untouchables, doomed with absolute certainty to extinction within a year or two. No one who had once fallen into the hands of the Thought Police ever escaped in the end. They were corpses waiting to be sent back to the grave.
What's to stop them from claiming your perfectly rational views are "hateful"?
Churchill predicted it, and it is coming to pass:
[T]he whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
And Sharia marches on.
It’s going to be a brave new world.
I believe that is exactly what they plan to do.
Consider the unthinkable, the issue in America becomes not whether we will have big brother censoring speech and conducting invasive observation over all of us-that will have already irrevocably occurred- the debate becomes whether that technology will be exerted on behalf of the left or of the right.
How much would you bet? Are you betting your life already?
PETA has been advised of your hate speech.
Fat lot of good that'll do.
PETA loves Peepee.
I was put into FB jail for 30 days on July 4th for posting the following comment:
“My grandparents immigrated legally in the early 20th century. I have neither sympathy nor respect for those who enter this nation illegally. They are criminal illegal aliens.”
According to Facist Book this is considered hate speech!
FYI: FB as a private company is not obligated to honor the First Amendment.
Articles 11 and 13 should have made it clear that it’s the entire EU, not just France....
YOU MEAN FRANKENSTAN !
That would tend to get people's attention. I'd prefer that as a voicemail greeting to spammers, myself.
It amazes me that every time this comes up somebody asks the logical question "What is hate speech, anyway?" and it never gets answered. Yet the enthusiasm for banning it marches on in lockstep toward a new progressive future where it doesn't have to be answered because asking it is, you guessed it, hate speech.
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