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Though the bulk of a conservative’s time engaging liberal arguments is best spent addressing their most pointed and nuanced positions, I believe we should occasionally indulge ourselves by reveling in their worst arguments and fringe elements. Arguments such as this piece by Tanya Cohen which flips George Orwell the proverbial bird.
Published on the site Thought Catalogue — a name is straight out of an Orwell novel — Cohen makes the case that the United States trails far behind such paragons of virtue as Turkey, Jordan, Russia and India when it comes to basic human rights.
No, not real human rights such as life, liberty and property, but make believe human rights, such as the right to not be offended.
Why do these so-called “backwards” countries respect basic human rights more than a supposedly free and liberated country like the US does? The US has ruled that not only is hate speech protected by the First Amendment, but so is advocating violence – in the view of the United States Supreme Court, these things are supposedly part of a “marketplace of ideas” and are “free speech”.
Perhaps Russia is considered backwards because of their government’s tendency to imprison political opponents. Just a theory. One may also posit that Turkey’s regime is perceived as backward for taking actions such as cracking down on opposition journalists. But in a world where freedom of expression has been the extreme exception throughout history, Cohen believes we should always error in favor of the heavy hand of Big Brother.
We need to outlaw all forms of hate speech and we need to set up federal and state Equality and Human Rights Commissions to strictly regulate all press and media to ensure staunch compliance with human rights, and to investigate, prosecute, and enact surveillance of people who spread hatred, intolerance, and other anti-freedom ideologies which have no place in a modern democracy.
Feel that chill heading down your spine? Good, says Tanya Cohen.
This paragraph reeks so heavily of totalitarianism that it warrants re-emphasis. Cohen’s
Ministry of Truth Equality and Human Rights Commission will “strictly regulate all press and media to ensure staunch compliance” as well as “investigate, prosecute, and enact surveillance of people.”
Cohen would no doubt find my presentation of her words to be unfair, as she clearly states that she only wants this new bureaucracy to target evil doers who speak hate. I’m sure her definition of hate speech is incredibly narrow and temperate.
Organizations like Fox News and individuals like Bill Maher routinely spread hate speech against Muslims, against immigrants, against our government and our President, and more – all with zero respect whatsoever for the most fundamental human rights and freedoms. This cannot continue to persist in a country that claims to be free and democratic. In a truly free and civilized country, Bill Maher, for example, would have been sent to prison for inciting racist hatred and violence against Muslims, who already face high levels of hatred and violence in American society.
Oppose mass border immigration? If you say so, Cohen wants you to go to prison… for 25 years.
Anyone guilty of hate speech – which should carry criminal penalties of 25 years to life – should be sent to special prisons designed to re-educate them and to instill values of tolerance, freedom, democracy, and human rights in them. Prison is about punishment, but it’s also about changing the behavior of criminals.
This is a literal call for re-education camps. Orwell analogies are over used, and I try to avoid them, but the left simply will not allow me to follow my own best practices. Did they stop forcing kids to read 1984 in school? Who reads this novel and says “Hey, this sounds like a good idea.”
Real journalists in the UK have unanimously supported the plans for government press regulation, citing the need to stop right-wing tabloids from spreading lies.
Words fail me. And that’s a good thing I suppose. I’m already staring at life in prison for the crime of disagreeing with Tanya Cohen on the issues of Islamic terrorism and executive amnesty.
Serious journalists understand the need for licensing of the press in order to stop right-wingers from using the press to spread their propaganda. The press must be used in an ethical and responsible manner…
…We are not talking about censorship here.
Freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.
We are talking about cracking down on hate speech and protecting basic human rights.
The phrase “basic human rights” appears 18 times in her piece, and in every instance, acts as a proxy for “the right to not be offended, provided you are a member of a protected class.” References to the United Nations and “international law” appear a nauseating number of times. The message is clear: The United States is out of step with the rest of the world when it comes to freedom of speech. Inexplicably, she did not intend this as a compliment.
What model then should the US look to? Cohen believes Australia is on the correct trajectory.
A proposed human rights law called the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill would have made it illegal to offend, insult, humiliate, or intimidate people on the basis of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, immigrant status, marital/relationship status, political opinion, social origin, religion, nationality, medical history, family responsibilities, or industrial history – and the law stated that people would be declared guilty until proven innocent, effectively requiring people to prove in court that they did not violate the fundamental human rights of others with hate speech. The law also would have outlawed any expression of religious belief if someone were offended by it. Although most human rights activists agreed that the law did not go nearly far enough…
Emphases mine. As far as I can tell, Tanya Cohen is not a conservative plant, whose sole aim is to make the left look like fringe lunatics. If she were though, I’m not sure how she could be any more effective at the task. Her list of speech that should be punishable under law includes items such as:
-Speech that harms and/or divides society in general, including speech that damages social cohesion.
-Speech which is found to be irresponsible, unethical, antisocial, hurtful, impolite, uncivil, abusive, distasteful, and/or unacceptable in general.
-Speech that objectifies women and/or reduces them to their sexual dimension, such as pornography and catcalling.
-Speech that undermines the authority of the state and/or interferes with the state’s ability to properly function and do its job. This would also include speech that undermines the authority of the United Nations and/or international law.
-Speech which constitutes microaggressions against vulnerable minorities.
But aside from that, you totally have free speech. Oh, and if we don’t do all of this…
Otherwise, we are truly no better than Nazi Germany was.
Except for that whole not slaughtering millions of innocent people thing. In that small way, we’d still be better than Nazi Germany.