Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech’


How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned—discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred—inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism.

It’s political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite.

As a society, we’ve become fearfully polite, careful to avoid offense, and largely unwilling to be labeled intolerant, hateful, closed-minded or any of the other toxic labels that carry a badge of shame today. The result is a nation where no one says what they really think anymore, at least if it runs counter to the prevailing views. Intolerance is the new scarlet letter of our day, a badge to be worn in shame and humiliation, deserving of society’s fear, loathing and utter banishment from society.

For those “haters” who dare to voice a different opinion, retribution is swift: they will be shamed, shouted down, silenced, censored, fired, cast out and generally relegated to the dust heap of ignorant, mean-spirited bullies who are guilty of various “word crimes.”

Full Story @ [The Rutherford Institute]

Americans have largely viewed rightwing extremism as a “fringe” problem, small enough to be ignored, dismissed, or at most, warily observed. But while rightwing extremism is not new, online sites that host a panoply of extremist rightwing views are growing in popularity.

One of these sites, Stormfront, has grown from 124,000 registered users in 2008 to over 300,000 today. And, because of the somewhat borderless quality of the Internet, our homegrown white supremacy is now available to a global audience with deadly consequences. The Southern Poverty Law Center has linked that site alone to some 100 hate crime murders.

The Department of Homeland Security should treat white supremacy as a terrorist threat to the government, and monitor online hubs and websites that promote racial violence and hate. After all, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in last week’s Charleston church shooting, was a sitting state senator in South Carolina. His death constitutes an attack on a government official, and many strains of white supremacy are specifically and directly aimed at overthrowing the government.

Unfortunately, Homeland Security gutted their program for monitoring domestic terrorism in 2010, after conservatives objected to a “politically charged” leaked report. It is time to rebuild that program, and identify and outlaw the kind of online speech that can incite violence and cause real harm. This will take legislative action on Congress’s part, as white supremacist rhetoric online does not forfeit its First Amendment protections in America unless it is joined with targeted threats or harassment, or incitement to illegality.

Source: [New York Times]

The book, “The Law“, he is holding reads like it was written yesterday even though it was written in 1850.

The man who first published plans for a 3D-printed gun has sued the State Department for threatening him into taking down the code – arguing that the government has violated his right to free speech online.

In 2013, Cody Wilson fired the world’s first 3D-printed gun, a single-shot plastic handgun, on a remote ranch in his home state of Texas. Shortly afterward the 25-year-old posted instructions online for “the Liberator”, as he called the gun, and the State Department promptly threatened criminal charges and massive fines for his having possibly broken the export rules surrounding weapons and military technology.

Two years later, Wilson’s company Defense Distributed has allied with first and second amendment lawyers and sued in federal court. They argue that the published plans – nothing more than code – fall squarely within Wilson’s right to free expression, and that the State Department has put a prior restraint on his right.

By extension, they argue that by censoring code that can create a gun the State Department has violated the right to bear and manufacture arms.

“This case is about far more than the subject of firearms,” said Alan Gura, the attorney leading the lawsuit and a former deputy attorney general of California. “Congress has all kinds of authority to regulate foreign commerce and if posting something on the internet isn’t protected by the first amendment then we have far less freedom than the framers intended us to have.”

Full Story @ [The Guardian]