Let’s start in Europe. Last week a whole cadre of social-media sites — including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft — locked arms with the EU’s European Commission and signed a code promising to suppress “hate speech” wherever it appears. The stated goal is to combat “racism, xenophobia, and all forms of intolerance.” There’s some talk of combating terrorism, forestalling ISIS recruitment in European countries, and keeping people from being incited to hate crimes.
ShareCombating racism and preventing ISIS recruiters from being able to contact young people sounds great. But then there’s that vague, slightly sinister phrase “all forms of intolerance.” That should make us wary, especially when we look closely at the language in the code and consider the background of “hate speech” law in the EU. The first thing you should know is that Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner in charge of writing the code, is an outspoken advocate of the LGBTI agenda. As recently as October 2015, she spoke about the need to use “hate speech” codes to combat any viewpoint that doesn’t support “rights” for those groups. This means that the EU spokesperson who included “all forms of intolerance” in the list of things social-media companies must suppress believes that you are guilty of hate speech if you have any reservations about LGBTI demands. That makes a lot of people guilty of “hate speech” — everybody who thinks that marriage is between one man and one woman, everyone who believes that surgery can’t change a person’s sex, everyone who thinks children probably shouldn’t be encouraged to determine their own “gender” as early as the age of four (as did one child whose story recently appeared in the pages of the Washington Post), and even everyone who merely thinks that people have the right to express the above beliefs. The EU’s language isn’t exactly tailored to limit ISIS’s posts on Facebook without encroaching on the free speech of others. (Read more.)