The US government is inching closer to banning so-called hate speech. The Washington Free Beacon reports, the National Science Foundation (NSF), a federal agency, will spend nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to create an internet database targeting “false and misleading ideas,” “suspicious memes,” and “hate speech” on Twitter. Though the database will have no authority immediately, it reflects the federal government’s priority and foreshadows passage of a hate speech ban similar to the UK’s Public Order Act 1986.
The program, named “Truthy,” a term coined by comedian Stephen Colbert, will monitor Twitter usage and collect personal data on accounts with content the agency declares as false or hateful. The government’s only logical need for such information is for the future when they will be able to prosecute such thought crime offenders under a “hate speech” ban.
For assistance, the agency asks Twitter users to identify the accounts spewing the “false ideas” and “hate speech.” Thus it encourages Americans to turn against other Americans. Anytime a user makes a comment offensive to the State, there will be another user to rat out the offender. The pervasiveness of political correctness in a brainwashed society will expand the database and erode free speech more effectively
The advent of political correctness is primarily responsible for the decline of free speech in the United States. Academia and the media have convinced a majority of Americans that it is a greater evil to use certain frowned-upon words or phrases than to commit certain violent, criminal acts.
We see this in the rush to condemn and ostracize anyone who makes a statement deemed politically incorrect. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell his team because of off-hand racial comments he made in a private conversation recorded against his will. Celebrity chef Paula Deen was fired from her cooking show after the revelation that she used the word “nigger” in the 1970’s. Big Brother contestants were fired from their real life jobs after making racially insensitive jokes on air.
On the other hand, those who commit violent acts do not carry the same stigma. Singer Chris Brown remains popular and has faced no perceptible public backlash for his violent attacks on girlfriend Rihanna. Former basketball star Jason Kidd remains an esteemed NBA coach despite having pleaded guilty to domestic violence and recently having been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Since the public perceives the use of certain words or phrases as morally worse than acts deemed criminal, it logically follows that the same public will support the criminalization of those certain words or phrases.
Senate Democrats, who currently control the U.S. Senate, have no qualms about restricting speech. Rather than addressing the major issues facing the nation, they wrote a letter demanding the Washington Redskins football team change their name, and endorsed a constitutional amendment to limit campaign speech. If the composition of this body remains the same after the mid-term elections in November, they will have no trouble passing a bill banning “hate speech” disguised as a “Civil Rights Act” to promote racial harmony. Anyone in Congress opposing the bill will be deemed a racist. Many years later, a progressive Supreme Court will uphold the law as constitutional, despite the First Amendment.
For all Americans, this will spell the end to free speech, the most fundamental right of man.
Perhaps some do not care because they do not see themselves as hateful speakers. Those holding this view should consider the issue from another perspective. Anyone can misconstrue and twist someone else’s political position into something sinister. For example, in the current political rhetoric: if you are pro-life, you hate women; if you oppose illegal immigration, you hate Hispanics; if you favor budget cuts, you hate whatever the program addresses.
Libertarians especially should beware. Once the federal government bans hate speech, the government will crack down on libertarians because their views threaten the objectives of the State more than anyone else. Libertarian ideas will be construed as “hate speech” and so will be banned.
Initially, one way to counter the NSF program would be for someone with money to use that money to create a database to do the exact opposite as the government database. Collect the personal data from accounts of people spreading the government’s propaganda and attempting to subvert the free speech of others. Use this information in the private sphere as the State uses the information of hateful speakers in the public sphere.
Ultimately, someone with even more money could use it to change the culture that prioritizes offensive speech over violent acts. Send out the very simple message that no utterance of a word or phrase should ever be criminalized or viewed as worse than the intentional bodily harm to another. This message would be most effective if transmitted by academia and the media. This may be the only way to slow the arrival of the imminent “hate speech” ban standing on the horizon. Something needs to be done while the opportunity remains.