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Old February 14th, 2020 #1
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Default As Goes the Holocaust, So Goes the West

As Goes the Holocaust, So Goes the West

David Cole

February 11, 2020

When did we become so deathly afraid of speech? And why is it oddly appropriate that the recent 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz coincides with ramped-up efforts to curb free-speech rights in the U.S.?

Let’s use a fake Indian as a scout to begin our journey toward the answer.

Last week, Elizabeth Warren announced a “plan of action” to curb “digital disinformation.” The plan features “civil and criminal penalties” for “knowingly disseminating” content that “has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote.” Any speech that might “depress voter turnout” would be criminalized.

Warren’s plan follows months of drumbeating by mainstream journalists in the service of criminalizing political speech. “Why America Needs a Hate Speech Law” was the title of an October WaPo piece by Richard Stengel, an Obama administration official–turned–editor of Time magazine. Similar essays have appeared in dozens of mainstream media organs (including Bloomberg). A December Vox survey found that the majority of Democrat presidential candidates favor criminalizing or otherwise suppressing speech that’s deemed “hateful” or “false.”

Warren, though, is the first Democrat to codify those proscriptions into a proposed law, one she’s pledged to pursue as president.


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