The Slow, Painful Death of Freedom of Speech

By Paul Maxwell Report Archives
Cover image for  article: The Slow, Painful Death of Freedom of Speech

The wagons are circling … “hate speech” and blasphemy laws are restricting freedom of speech here and around the world.  I have written and lamented often about killings, restrictions, bans and other forms of censorship by both official government actions and the unofficial acquiescence of control of the press and individuals. It is happening in more and more in countries right now: Turkey (and, by proxy, even in Germany), Russia, China, Egypt, Hungary, Poland, Indonesia, India, France, Vietnam, Thailand and many others where new laws regarding hate speech or blasphemy have cropped up. Even here in the U.S. it is being chipped away … in colleges where misguided faculty and students want “safe” places free from speech they feel uncomfortable with.  (In my humble opinion, none of those folks should even be in college; rather, send them back to kindergarten to learn how to deal with differences.)

Even the Republican Presidential Nominee agrees … ban any speech we (or rather he) find unacceptable. All so he could sue anyone who might say or print something he doesn’t like!  Just forget the First Amendment.

But … he couldn’t do that in America, could he?  I’m not so sure.

Still, you can hear the chorus. It can’t happen here!  Of course not!  Just think of all the books that have been published about that happening … so it never will.  After all, 1984 was a long, long time ago.

As the Senate Majority Leader asserts, the separation of powers in the USA would prevent that!

And what about Twitter and Facebook and Google … they’ll surely prevent that just by existing.  All that open Internet, you know!

The movement against free speech is happening on the campaign trail right now as both parties begin to unite for the one-against-one campaign (not counting the Libertarians yet; they need to hit 19% polling to get included in the debates).  One party wants its nominee to “tone it down.”  The other wants any contention to be over before the Philadelphia convention.

This is all about controlling the conversation.  Everyone in the public arena would like that to be … but here it can’t ever be that way, right?

Random Notes

Nice to see the growing noise around the Federal Confusion Commission’s set top box initiative … or, as perhaps better stated, the realization of the motives behind Tom “the-wheels-are-coming-off” Wheeler’s White House-directed paean to Google’s ambitions.  Personally, I just don’t think Google needs government help; though the 427 visits by Google folks to the White House must mean something.

Just curious, but how many folks know Tom created and once owned the SmartBrief series of regurgitating newsletters?  No original reporting, just repurposed and aggregated items.  Fair use?  Or, how to find another way, via STBs, to aggregate with copyright?

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