Scary Censorship Logic Spreading Worldwide - 'Restricting Freedom' To Save It
By Jonathan Turley/Activist Post June 20, 2023
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The Irish Green Party followed many on the left around the world, including our own Democratic Party, this week and came out for censorship and speech controls. Indeed, the party went full Orwellian as its chairwoman Pauline O'Reilly called for "restricting freedom" to protect it.
O'Reilly's comments are part of the introduction of the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022. We previously discussed this massive assault on free speech.
The legislation that would criminalize "incitement to violence or hatred against" people with "protected characteristics," as well as "condoning, denying or grossly trivialising genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace."
Limiting free speech has become an article of faith for many on the left. I have written about my distress (as someone who grew up in a liberal, politically active Democratic family in Chicago) in watching the abandonment of free speech values by the party.
Democratic leaders now uniformly call for censorship and speech regulations. President Biden even charged that companies who refused to censor opposing views on social media were "killing people." Others have denounced free speech as "a white man's obsession."
The anti-free speech movement has become openly Orwellian in claiming to protect freedom by limiting freedom. It also employs using terms like disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation to obscure their effort to silence those with opposing views. Rather than use "censorship," they refer to "content moderation."
That effort was on full display this week in Ireland with this anti-free speech legislation.
Speaking before the Irish Senate this week, Green Party chairwoman Pauline O'Reilly declared "when one thinks about it, all law and all legislation is about the restriction of freedom. This is exactly what we are doing here. We are restricting freedom but we are doing it for the common good."
It is the same message of New York democrats calling for limiting speech as a way of protecting democracy. Indeed, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich has declared free speech is "tyranny."
O'Reilly assured citizens that giving up freedom was nothing new or threatening:"Throughout our Constitution one can see that while one has rights they are restricted for the common good. Everything needs to be balanced."
What is particularly chilling is how low the threshold is for denying free speech, according to O'Reilly. It now appears that "deep discomfort" is enough:
"If a person's views on other people's identities make their lives unsafe and insecure, and cause them such deep discomfort that they cannot live in peace, our job as legislators is to restrict those freedoms for the common good."
What is interesting is that O'Reilly admits that there is nothing new about hateful views but it is time to clear out such voices: "Social media has fuelled hatred but it has also put on display for all of us the dirty, filthy, underbelly of hatred in Irish society. That hatred has always existed." Of course, she and the majority will determine what views create "deep discomfort."
The Irish legislation is likely to be replicated around the world if the free speech community cannot hold the line against the anti-free speech movement. It is part of an unrelenting movement in Europe, particularly by the European Union, to rollback Western free speech values that once defined countries.
We have been discussing efforts by figures like Hillary Clinton to enlist European countries to force Twitter to restore censorship rules. Unable to rely on corporate censorship or convince users to embrace censorship, Clinton and others are resorting to good old-fashioned state censorship, even asking other countries to censor the speech of American citizens.
Ireland now stands on the precipice of freedom. The embrace of such laws by the Irish is crushingly ironic. Frank Ryan, who fought against the treaty, spoke for many radicals in declaring "as long as we have fists and boots, there will be no free speech for traitors." Those anti-Treaty forces rejected the views of free speech that long defined Western nations. Now, Ireland is declaring "no free speech for haters" and assumes the authority to define who are haters and who are not.
Irelands actions follow in the footsteps of proposals by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who recently announced he wants to see a "Global Digital Compact," (GDC) to push sweeping international laws against "hate & lies" online.
"The proliferation of hate & lies in the digital space is causing grave global harm. This clear & present global threat demands clear and coordinated global action. We don't have a moment to lose," he wrote in a tweet announcing the compact.
The UN policy brief, which was released on June 12, called for handing control of the internet to international bodies, as part of the UN's 2030 Agenda.
Guterres also referred to another UN brief, "Information and Integrity on Digital Platforms" (IIDP), which he said will be used as a guide to coordinate global efforts against "hate."
The IIDP warned about what it calls, the "darker side of the digital ecosystem," which could enable "the rapid spread of lies and hate, causing real harm on a global scale."
Guterres said that the internet is being misused to deny science and spread disinformation and hate to billions of people, in a veiled reference to vaccine skeptics and growing populist movements.
The GDC blamed "hate speech" and "disinformation," on malicious hackers, criminal activity, authoritarian state controls, and "predatory business models," calling them "serious risks to human rights."
It believes that the only solution is to develop "robust accountability criteria and standards for digital platforms and users to address disinformation, hate speech, and other harmful online content."
IIDP expanded on that point by claiming that "social media-enabled hate speech and disinformation can lead to violence and death. The ability to disseminate large-scale disinformation to undermine scientifically established facts poses an existential risk to humanity."
However, the writers of the UN report admitted that "the distinction between mis- and disinformation can be subtle and difficult to determine," without providing any further details.
These statements raised alarm for those concerned with freedom of speech and in countries that have long traditions of free debate and expression.
Some countries with state-controlled media, like communist China, could utilize the international body's panel on online censorship to crush overseas opposition to its views and policies worldwide.
The UN policy brief condemned any criticism of international climate-change policy, which the international body sees as a settled science.
Skeptics of green policy were accused of being guilty of "greenwashing," which was defined as "misleading the public into believing that a company or entity is doing more to protect the environment, and less to harm it, than it is."
The report also called for banning online "disinformation" during key elections, where "the spread of mis- and disinformation can undermine public trust in electoral institutions and the electoral process itself."
This proposal would definitely interfere with the internal politics of sovereign states, at a time when election disputes are still being hotly debated.
The UN further proposed a digital code of conduct, which laid out some of the proposed rules, but provided little detail on how they would be enforced or how violators would be judged.
The code of conduct only suggested that member states "ensure that responses to mis- and disinformation and hate speech are consistent with international law, including international human rights law, and are not misused to block any legitimate expression of views of opinion."
The paper also called on major tech companies to "invest in human and artificial intelligence content moderation systems," which could be programmed to block any views in opposition to the globalist agenda.
"Digital platforms should move away from business models that prioritize engagement above human rights, privacy, and safety," it added.
"From health and gender equality to peace, justice, education, and climate action, measures that limit the impact of mis- and disinformation and hate speech will boost efforts to achieve a sustainable future and leave no one behind," the report concluded.
The Biden administration previously came under fire for trying to start the now-defunct Disinformation Governance Board under the Department of Homeland Security. Many Republicans argued such an initiative would act as a Ministry of Truth in a dystopian society by suppressing dissent under the guise of stopping misinformation.
Don't be surprised if some form of this ugly beast gets resurrected after Former President Barack Obama suggested in a new interview the development of "digital fingerprints" to combat misinformation and distinguish between true and misleading news for consumers.
If the globalists have their way, it will only be a matter of time until what you can say online and how you access information will be state controlled.
Originally published at Activist Post - reposted with permission.