By Peter Fernandez
Now that we have a social media Frankenstein experiment bubbling over in real-time, and ancient racism riding its cyber-rails, former Vermont Journalism Trust Chair William Schubart (Dec. 5 VT Digger) deems it necessary to have our First Amendment Rights amended and/or stripped. “It’s time for a statute prohibiting hate speech, online bullying, and threats of physical violence.” I agree, but…
Who gets to make these gargantuan decisions regarding what hate speech is, anyway? Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders, The Jack Dorseys, Parag Agrawals, Mark Zuckerbergs, and even local pee-wee news editors, Steve Pappas, and Oki Soga? Dorsey’s private company, a cyber monopoly not unlike Carnegie Steel, censors a sitting US President?! That’s certainly okay with the culturally evolved, sophisticated/superior left, Defund the Police people, Open the Border advocates, the liberal academia/media mob, because they know what is better for Cuba, Venezuela, and the USA.
The hate speech Schubert is targeting requires censorship, but I, for one, do not trust The Biden Administration to begin and end such a crusade with blatant racist threats, i.e., Kiah Morris. “Liberty!?” snarks President Biden.
My opinions were considered “hate speech”, and, then, blacklisted by The Barre Times Argus and Burlington Free Press in 2016. For decades, I contributed op-eds and letters regarding the Israel/Palestinian Conflict until these periodicals hired ” new and improved” editors. My crime was to continuously quote Arab leaders, and present facts/statistics from respected new sources. For example: “Since 1948 it is we who demanded the return of the refugees while it was we who made them leave,” said Khaled Al-Azm, Syrian Prime Minister after the 1948 War in his 1970 memoirs. “We brought disaster upon Palestinian refugees by inviting them and bringing pressure to bear upon them to leave.” Arab Street readers perceive such gleaned information as Zionist propaganda. Hate Speech?
Finally, the UK has been discussing enforcement of laws that would prohibit “threatening, abusive, or insulting words,” in defense of “people with protected characteristics, disability, age, sexual orientation.” In Scotland, particularly, the Hate Crime and Public Order bill seek to inflict a criminal penalty, potentially even prosecution on those who make statements that violate such criteria. “This includes journalism and theatrical settings, and could even extend to homes: conversations over the dinner table that incite hatred must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law, the justice secretary has said.” Mark McLaughlin, “Hate Crimes Bill: Hate Talk in Homes “Must Be Prosecuted.'” The Times, UK, October 28, 2020.
George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is now stacked in the non-fiction and/or Political Prophecy section. Or should be.
The author is a children’s book author and Vermont resident.