The Future Formalization Of Speech Restrictions

As fissures in the American political landscape deepen, a rather large crack in the truce between the tribes has opened surrounding the concept of free speech. The Left proclaims itself the defender of free speech while at the same time no-platforming mild conservatives, purging rightist Twitter accounts, and even going so far as to redefine in the public sphere the First Amendment’s protections. Opinion polls reveal the coming conflict over the basic idea of expression.

The progressive machinery will work to shut down opposing views. This is not about speech, but power.

Millennials are far less likely to support freedom of speech. This is a function of how the question is framed and also of millennial demographics. As the media proudly notes, millennials are far less white than older generations. The framing of free speech questions revolves around whether freedom of expression should be allowed for words that offend minorities. Who defines what counts as offensive is what matters. Shouting racial epithets is different from pointing out racial disparities in any given area, but the act of noticing disproportionate crime rates sends specific ethnicities and white progressives into hysterics. As America grows less white, the framing of speech restriction will make gutting the First Amendment almost certain.

This is not entirely a racial issue. The seeding for speech restrictions starts early, just like any other large political propaganda campaign. The global warming drive needed school propaganda of ozone layer holes, eliminated rain forests, and acid rain. It also required cultural products geared towards kids like Captain Planet. The cartoon theme song and messaging of bringing pollution to zero was slick. It was funded by billionaire Ted Turner. A generation later, these children become voters ready to validate what the elite progressives want to install.

The same has happened for free speech restrictions. In America, the seed meme was anti-bullying. Anti-bullying was so strong a school movement that it made it to state legislation. Bullying has been with humanity forever but formerly was something dealt with between the bully and the bullied. Overcoming a bully, simply by standing up to the bully, was once a test of one’s mettle or a moment character development for young people. No more. Rather than have the bullying be dealt with by the two student, or even the students’ parents, school authorities took over.

The generation that grew up with anti-bullying messaging is now of voting age. Each year, new voters enter the pool with even more years of prime propaganda. This lower-level indoctrination does not compare to the effect universities can have on forwarding the anti-bullying and therefore anti-speech idea.

Consider the ideas embraced by and foisted on universities such as triggering, safe spaces, hate speech, and microaggressions. Conservatives laugh at the hypocrisy of the Left when progressives frame things as: “My violence is free speech, while your free speech is violence.” The conservatives forget that the Left controls institutions and continues to import voters and indoctrinate children. They cannot see the potential or near certain future ahead of them.

A heavy blue state like California or New York will introduce legislation against certain types of speech that they deem hateful. In reality, the legislation is directed at the political opposition for noticing things. This will be challenged in court, but consider what it would take for the Left can make this a scientific, academic and compassionate update of our concept of free speech.

Hate speech, defined solely by the Left and even quisling Right, triggers specific groups (racial, ethnic, religious, gender, LGBT). When hearing such speech, these individuals will go catatonic or feel pain, due to microaggressions. The emotional and mental trauma may even require them to take certain medications or seek psychiatric help. Emotional and mental trauma in turn, so the argument will go, causes immediate, physical harms. The hate speech may even incite the target groups to violence or anger.

The appeals process will inevitably take this case to the Supreme Court. Imagine the media narrative for this showdown and the build up to it. Consider a future where the Supreme Court is lost for eternity with a solid five liberal votes, and not of the old liberal mold, but the Kagan-Sotomayor form. The media will cite statistics of stereotype threat, microaggressions, and the pain of words bringing back memories of slavery, the Holocaust, etc., despite those events being decades if not centuries in the past. The media can point to anti-bullying efforts performing a similar function as just a few conditions to free speech.

The Supreme Court will have a wealth of academic output to fall back on, millions of Americans will support it, and your corporations and businesses will already have codified them for decades. The era of progressives saying that the freedom of speech only protects you from the government limiting you, not from you starving due to blacklisting, is upon us. After all, we all don the mask of the anon when online.

The decision will be vague enough to not appear a cement shoes treatment to free speech. In addition, a vague reading will allow for more lawsuits and humiliations of progressive political opponents. This Supreme Court formalization will be sold to us as an evolution to protect people from harm, to protect the oppressed, and most importantly, to shut down any dissent from the progressive worldview.

You will, of course, be allowed to say “down with the government” at 100 decibels–just don’t comment on the social dysfunction of any progressive voter bloc.

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  1. Well, more foundationally than that, every form of government has to be legitimated by some sort of dogma: assumptions that are axiomatic, irrefutable and forbidden to question. One cannot tolerate illiberal factions in a liberal state or anti-democrats in a democracy. They’re an existential threat to the formal constitution. The necessity of an unprincipled illiberal exception to make liberalism work was long lost in a sea of idealism, but eventually the authorities must wake up to a more gruff right-Hegelian form of liberalism (a la Treitschke) if the project is to last once broadcast and print media kicks the bucket.

    Hence, all of this is perfectly normal. That “free speech” somehow became a “conservative” value is what is more interesting, given that ultra-royalist MPs during the Bourbon Restoration and even liberal doctrinaires of the July Monarchy all agreed that speech restrictions were necessary to either defend public morality or in the latter case, to protect the integrity of representative institutions. Nor was free speech to be defended by Counter-Reformationists like Saint Bellarmine.

    But of course, free speech is an indispensable tool to let you breathe when you’re the underdog, so that’s probably the reason.

    1. Hadley Bishop May 7, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Naturally. The essay is not arguing for the universal “goodness” of free speech as such, or anything of the sort.

    2. Thomas Jefferson May 8, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      It is a conservative value because it is in the First Amendment.

  2. Government mandated speech only encourages resistance. You can not legislate morality nor can you control behavior, short of a police state. But you do encourage every type of resistance and mocking of imposed standards. I haven’t seen so much choas in the social balance in decades.

    Harmony doesn’t spring from some bureacrat’s mind nor does acceptance spring from the media, academia nor elites urging.

  3. More succinctly: freedom of association was already gutted in the name of anti-racism. There’s no reason speech won’t be given the same treatment.

    1. Chiraqi Insurgent May 7, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      This × 100

  4. It may be more fruitful for libertarians and rightists to agree that freedom of speech may be overrated and seek to ban communist propaganda rather than hate speech. Such a ban should be as vague and fear-provoking as the hate speech laws which muzzle anti-progressives, particularly outside of the United States. And of course, any advocacy of the concept of hate speech would count as communist propaganda. The end goals of such a measure would be to suppress radical leftists and to show moderate leftists that any power they wish the state to have can and will be used against them when they are not in power.

  5. “The framing of free speech questions…”

    Ironically the term ‘free speech’ itself has played a role in framing the discourse around this subject. ‘Free speech’ is defined as a noun with the same meaning as the noun ‘freedom of speech’ and therefore they are used interchangeably, but obviously they are not syntactically the same. If you remove the meaning from the term then you are left with the adjective ‘free’ and the noun ‘speech’. This opens the door to the stupid (or dishonest) for the misunderstanding that there are different types of ‘speech’ — hence hate speech or the idea that there is good speech (legally protected) and bad speech (legally prohibited), which of course is a total inversion of the principle of freedom of speech.

    ‘Free’ can also mean without cost which lends itself to the annoying rhetorical rebuttal, “Free speech isn’t free!” Well of course not – it’s valuable, it has a cost – which is why it must be protected.

    I dunno, maybe this is too much of an autistic linguistic analysis, but I recommend excising the term free speech from your vocabulary and only ever referring to freedom of speech so as not to inadvertently stumble into the dialectical trap of the free speech/ hate speech dichotomy.

    I write this from a UK perspective where we actually have hate speech laws on our statute books. From Wikipedia: “Hate speech laws in England and Wales are found in several statutes… Expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person’s colour, race, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation is forbidden. Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both.” They are shitty laws, poorly conceived and injudiciously applied. Americans are very fortunate to have the 1st Amendment which explicitly defends “freedom of speech”, notably not “free speech.”

    We have plenty of robust public debates in both the UK and the USA about freedom of speech but because they are almost always argued within the narrow frame of free speech versus hate speech they only serve to validate the notion that some speech is of the bad kind and should rightly be prohibited.

    Alternatively one could subvert the frame by meme-ing into existence a whole bunch of alternative types of speech – obscene speech, anti-white speech, semitically-correct speech etc. Myriad different flavours of speech – a bit like Facebook’s 71 genders – serving to totally destroy any meaning in the term free speech and thereby compelling people to revert to freedom of speech exclusively.

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