Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts wants to stop hate crimes. So, he has proposed legislation to study and recommend ways to stop hate crimes by stopping the hate speech that encourages such crimes. Some might argue that this would endanger freedom of speech but if you can’t trust Congress and the federal government to safeguard our liberties, who can you trust. I found this article in the Boston Herald, thanks to Instapundit.
U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey wants the government to study and recommend ways to stop the Internet, TV and radio from “encouraging hate crimes,” but First Amendment advocates say the bill is a menace to free speech.
“This proposed legislation is worse than merely silly. It is dangerous,” said civil liberties lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate, arguing even hate speech is protected absent a crime. “It is not up to Sen. Markey, nor to the federal government, to define for a free people what speech is, and is not, acceptable.”
Markey’s bill would direct a government agency to identify hate speech and create recommendations. Markey in a statement yesterday said the bill makes “crystal clear that any recommendations must be consistent with the First Amendment’s free speech protections.”
Harvard Law professor Alan M. Dershowitz said, “He’s not going to be able to come up with legislation that sufficiently protects the First Amendment. We always have to be able to respond to the racists and bigots, but not at the expense of the First Amendment.”
Gene Policinski of the First Amendment Center and the Newseum Institute said, “Anytime government in any form or level looks to study our speech — even something that we might all consider detestable speech — we need to pay attention. The First Amendment really permits everyone in the marketplace to speak.”
Michael Lieberman of the Anti-Defamation League said he backs the bill, which is similar to a Markey-backed 1993 study that found hate crimes linked to media “scattered and largely anecdotal” and recommended no government bans.
“If we thought this legislation would result in censorship, we would not support it,” said Lieberman. “You could take the position that any legislation could lead to government censorship, but the way we’re looking at this is a net positive. This updates a study that is 20 years old.”
House co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said, “Those recommendations are simply recommendations unless they are acted on. … If there’s speech that’s protected by the First Amendment, Congress will presumably not act.”
Notice that the article never states which party Senator Markey belongs to. I am sure nobody will be very surprised to learn that a lawmaker who proposes censorship is a Democrat.
This is a really silly idea. I doubt if any such bill would even make it out of committee and if by some miracle both houses of Congress actually passed anything like it, the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional before the ink dries on the paper. I doubt very much if there is any actual evidence that any hate crime is inspired by hate speech and I doubt very much if attempting to ban hate speech from the internet, television and radio could possibly be effective.
I have to wonder though, what is it about these people, especially the most liberal Democrats, that their first impulse is always to shut down and censor people. Perhaps we should make a law that anyone in Congress who proposes such obviously unconstitutional legislation should be immediately dismissed from their office and barred from any elective office for life.
- Senate Dems Ready to Smash 1st Amendment for TV, Radio, Internet (politicaloutcast.com)
- Democrats In Congress Have Had Enough Of The First Amendment: Propose Monitoring For “Hate Speech” (downtrend.com)
- New Hate Speech Bill is Nazi Stuff (conservativebyte.com) I don’t think the Nazis tried to ban hate speech, but the point is well taken.
- Senator Introduces Bill to Silence Christians and Conservatives (godfatherpolitics.com)
- Internet and Broadcast Media Hate Bill Introduced in Senate (libertyfederation.com)