Yesterday, The Washington Post released one of the more ridiculous pieces on freedom of speech you’ll read this year. I say this year, because matters are bound to get stupider as time moves forward. In it, Obama’s former Under Secretary of State tells us about his great travels around the world where he noticed other countries don’t have the same concepts of free speech as we do.
From that, he comes to the conclusion that we are simply doing it all wrong. Here’s some excerpts form the piece.
But as a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier. Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?
It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects “the thought that we hate” but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.
This dude is literally forming his opinions based on some dictatorial Arab diplomat’s concerns about burning the Koran.
And you’ll be shocked to learn that part of his reasoning for cracking down on the First Amendment is Russia fear-mongering, because it’s always about Russia fear-mongering.
The Russians understood that our free press and its reflex toward balance and fairness would enable Moscow to slip its destructive ideas into our media ecosystem.Â When Putin said back in 2014that there were no Russian troops in Crimea – an outright lie – he knew our media would report it, and we did.
That’s partly because the intellectual underpinning of the First Amendment was engineered for a simpler era. The amendment rests on the notion that the truth will win out in what Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas called “the marketplace of ideas.” This “marketplace” model has a long history going back to 17th-century English intellectual John Milton, but in all that time, no one ever quite explained how good ideas drive out bad ones, how truth triumphs over falsehood.
I mean, if you value free speech, you are clearly just helping Putin or something.
The writer goes on to pretend that the internet is somehow unique in American history when it comes to the spreading of falsehoods. It’s as if he doesn’t realize that the term “yellow journalism” far predates modern technology or that false advertising was far more of an issue prior to the information age.
If anything, the internet has created a much more inviting environment for the truth because you are never more than a click away from finding it. Before, some news anchor with political leanings could spin things however they wanted and you were expected to just buy it. And let’s be real, that’s exactly the setup Democrats would love to return to. They want to control the flow of information.
In the end though, the real reason this guy wants a “hate speech” law (which is blatantly unconstitutional) is because orange man bad.
My @WashingtonPost piece on why the very broadness of the First Amendment suggests we should have a hate speech law. And if we did, why the President might be in violation of it. https://t.co/3ybv3kC69f
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) October 29, 2019
You knew that was what this is really about. He wants to charge Donald Trump under some nebulous “hate speech” statute, by which Democrats get to conveniently define what the speech is. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s also worth noting this guy is a hypocrite who’s previously decried criticism of the press as an attack on the First Amendment.
Tell Richard the “press” section of the first amendment was written in a simpler time and should be revisited and see how he reacts.
— BT (@back_ttys) October 29, 2019
These people don’t care about free speech. They only care about squashing speech they they don’t like. Worse, these people want special carveouts for themselves while denying the rest of us basic rights.
I’ll end by pointing out that on a broader level, this is why Republicans aren’t rushing to turn on Trump over some silly phone conversation whereby nothing actually illegal took place. The stakes are far higher than whatever nonsense Adam Schiff has managed to cook up and voters recognize that.
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