Free Speech is becoming the left’s sacrificial lamb in their list of surrender moves to ISIS. No, I am not kidding. Eric Posner writing in Slate earlier this week posted “ISIS Gives Us No Choice But To Consider Limits on Free Speech.” His thesis comes on the second page:
The major justification for freedom of speech is the marketplace of ideas—the claim that if people can say whatever they want, the best ideas will flourish. But just what is it that we can learn from ISIS? The social value of beheading apostates? The finer points of crucifixion? Those who regard free speech as fundamental need to consider whether legal principles that arose centuries ago make sense in the age of Snapchat. It is possible, as Cass Sunstein has explained in Bloomberg View, to modify the current test for free speech violations so as to advance public safety without throwing out important protections for dissent. A simple balancing test would permit laws to target dangerous speech that does not advance public debate.
The idea that Mr. Posner is pushing is to eliminate the ISIS Radicalization Echo Chamber that has developed around free and easy to use social media sites by limiting the speech that can be said on them. As has been widely reported, the terrorist network and recruiting system is quite active in social media, and as is also reported, regularly, social media sites work with law enforcement to shut down known terrorist handles and channels. In addition, federal authorities watch these networks in action in order to develop threat credibility and assessments.
While it is laudable to want to stop terrorist recruiting by forcibly limiting the propaganda, the truth is that in the United States limiting free speech of truth by law just is not done. Americans may not slander or libel other people, and we must speak truth in advertising, but the government cannot control speech by means of censorship. There are some wise young fools out there as featured by FoxNews’ Ami Horowitz in the last week who are willing to sign a petition to repeal the first amendment. Truthfully, in a Jacobin manner, no one is thinking this idea through.
On the free speech front, looking to limit any sort of radicalization echo chamber by law is quite literally a camel’s nose poking into a tent. As with any other compromise, any abridgement of this basic and natural right will eventually lead to full on oppression and official control of media outlets as the authorities realize that groupthink will allow government to do so without challenge. A whole lot of people sacrificed a lot to be sure we in America could speak our minds freely. To just repeal that is a betrayal and an abomination of the founding principles of the country.
When it comes to limiting the messaging on social media platforms out of Silicon Valley, the people who own those websites are free to control what is said on their sites in their own way in their own time. All conservatives know that they are not shy about censoring speech deemed offensive by anyone who decides to report a post. (We get banned on a regular basis.) At the same time, the Silicon Valley gang recognizes, as do the authorities and more than one outspoken convert FROM Islamist jihad, that there is no way to track, monitor, and shut down the entire universe of terrorist recruitment. Aside from that, as even Posner admits, the people at the top of the ISIS power structure are quite internet savvy. Reports are that they are hiding out on the dark web, a place that isn’t controlled by the Silicon Valley cartel. Any laws trying to control speech and propaganda from that angle are just useless.
Yes, we in the United States are very much in danger thanks to jihadis and their propensity to use host country generosity against their prey (that would be the host countries who have taken them in). September 11, 2001 proved that. However, giving up OUR hard earned rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights – the very ones that the jihadis are targeting – surrenders to the enemy before the war is fought. The lefties and the wise fools of the universities don’t seem to understand that.
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