Thursday, May 7, 2015

Liberal Fascism

Having recently read an article in which a sociologist makes the claim that reading books to your children gives your children an unfair advantage in life over those kids whose parents don't or can't read to them, I thought the progressive left was jumping the shark. Then I read an essay by a left-wing activist by the name of Tanya Cohen which made the first article seem sane by comparison. Cohen claims, in essence, that only speech that she agrees with should be legal. Speech that supports her progressive ideology she considers "free speech." All else is "hate speech" and the First Amendment does not protect it.

I know you're thinking that I'm making this up or exaggerating so I invite you to read the piece for yourself. Unfortunately, Ms. Cohen is a very wordy writer and reading her essay is an exercise in Sisyphean stultification so I've pasted the salient portion here. Ms Cohen writes:
In order to establish ourselves as a country that sincerely respects fundamental human rights, democratic freedoms, and individual liberties, America needs to pass basic human rights legislation – such as a Human Rights Act – that outlaws, among other things:
  1. Speech which offends, insults, demeans, threatens, disrespects, discriminates against, and/or incites hatred or violence against a person or a group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or sexual activity, gender identity or gender expression, disability, language, language ability, ideology or opinion, social class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, hair color, etc.), mental capacity, and/or any other comparable distinction. In cases where hate speech is aggravated – such as incitement to genocide – prison sentences should be even longer.
  2. The spreading of misinformation, including climate change denial, denial of war crimes and genocides (especially Holocaust denial), conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine propaganda, and general nonsense.
  3. Anti-feminist, anti-multicultural, anti-immigration, and/or anti-equality ideology.
  4. Insulting, disrespectful, and/or offensive speech in general and speech that violates the dignity of people. This would include, for example, jokes about tragedies along with insults and derogatory/disrespectful comments about any person, group, place, or thing.
  5. Speech that disparages the memory of deceased persons.
  6. Speech that voices approval of oppressive, anti-freedom, anti-democratic, and/or totalitarian ideologies. This would include, for example, speech that opposes a woman’s right to have an abortion and speech that approves of Israeli apartheid in Palestine.
  7. Speech that opposes any human rights. This would mean that anyone saying that hate speech shouldn’t be against the law would be prosecuted, since hate speech is universally recognized as an injustice and a human rights violation. It would also include propaganda for war, which is illegal under international human rights law.
  8. Speech that incites, instructs, assists, condones, celebrates, justifies, glorifies, advocates, or threatens violence and/or law-breaking and speech that undermines the rule of law. This would include, for example, the advocacy of gun ownership (which would be classified as incitement to violence in any civilized country). In a civilized society, advocating violence is no different than actually committing the violence yourself. Only in the US is inciting violence and murder – even inciting violence and murder against minorities – considered to be “free speech”.
  9. 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.
  10. Speech that objectifies women and/or reduces them to their sexual dimension, such as pornography and catcalling.
  11. Speech that promotes unacceptable ideas, such as un-democratic ideologies and ideologies that oppose freedom. This would also apply to promoting people who promote or promoted unacceptable ideas. For example, in the case of The Jewish community of Oslo et al. v. Norway, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ruled that glorifying Hitler not only constitutes incitement to Hatred, but also incitement to violence.
  12. Speech that harms and/or divides society in general, including speech that damages social cohesion.
  13. Symbols associated with hateful and/or un-democratic ideologies, such as Nazi swastikas and Confederate flags.
  14. Gestures and salutes associated with hateful and/or un-democratic ideologies, such as fascist salutes.
  15. Speech which constitutes microaggressions against vulnerable minorities.
  16. Images or recordings of any crimes.
  17. Speech which may lead to tensions with other nations and/or upset people in other nations.
  18. Speech which is found to be blasphemous towards minority religions.
  19. Depictions of indecent violence (especially violence against women) and/or other offensive content.
  20. Speech which is found to be irresponsible, unethical, antisocial, hurtful, impolite, uncivil, abusive, distasteful, and/or unacceptable in general.
Like all rights, the right to freedom of speech comes with great responsibility and it must be balanced against other rights. All of these things go far outside the realm of free speech, and all other advanced democracies have already passed laws against most of these things in order to protect basic human rights. Outlawing these forms of hatred does not interfere with the sacrosanct right to freedom of speech, and it would not violate the First Amendment in any way since hate speech is not freedom of speech in any way, shape, or form. Nobody has the right to take away rights from others. Nobody has the freedom to take away freedoms from others.
In addition to noting that several of her tenets (#11,12) are self-violating, it needs also to be pointed out that hers is an Orwellian view of freedom, but it is the view espoused by the liberal-left. She's actually calling for a form of slavery to be imposed by fascists like herself who use the word "freedom" to mean precisely its opposite. If people like her are elected to the presidency and to Congress (I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether they already have been) we'll all be walking around in our Mao jackets in abject silence, afraid to open our mouths for fear of bringing down upon ourselves the wrath of narrow-minded totalitarians like Ms. Cohen.

If you wish to see what her world looks like, indeed, what the Progressive utopia she and her fellow leftists have in mind for us looks like, make it a point this summer to read George Orwell's 1984.