Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hate Speech Laws

There's an outstanding article by Glenn Greenwald titled, "The Noxious Fruit of Hate Speech Laws" on Salon. He's been on Scott Horton's radio show multiple times, and is an alright guy.

If you read his article, he mentions a Youtube video in which a neoconservative, warmongering, hatemongering, etc fellow is speaking with the Alberta, CA Inquisition/Thought Police which Greenwald embedded in his article. Now, as you might gather from the preceding sentence, I'm not a neo-con. (I've been called a "Blame-America-First-Far-Leftist" on more than one occassion, in fact. I'm not a leftist either, actually. So, I found that to be pretty amusing.) But, if you watch the Youtube video, this right-wing kook is a pretty sympathetic, pro-liberty and individualist-sounding guy. He's standing up to the tyrannical State and it's bureaucrat. A bureaucrat who, it's interesting to add, is being blatantly dishonest in refusing to acknowledge the clear truth that the question she asked him was a guilt or innocence determining one.

There's also a rather funny (to me at least) moment when the guy mentions that Mohammed is dead, so he probably wasn't offended by the anti-Islamic cartoon the guy published. There's apparently multiple additional parts from looking briefly at the see more similar vids at the end of it as well that I may have to watch later. He agreed not to publish the video from the closed Thought Crimes Court, so I may as well watch all of it.

Anyway, as Greenwald notes at the end of the article:
Just like Bush followers who bizarrely think that the limitless
presidential powers they're cheering on will only be wielded by political leaders they like, many hate speech law proponents convince themselves that such laws will only be used to punish speech they dislike. That is never how tyrannical government power works.
Another point that I think can be made about this, is that people look to totalitarian systems like those established by the Nazis, or the various Communists, or some less ideologically-motivated dictators and see how different they are from our wonderful two party, democratic, republican system in the US (or Canada, Europe, etc). Where the State is nice enough that it mostly doesn't arrest people and hold them without trial, or "disappear" and torture them in secret military prisons, or tase them to death, or do whatever else. Although the legal framework to allow it is already here in the US.

And while living under George W. Bush is presumably more pleasant than living as not-one-of-the-"undesirables" was under Hitler, it's also what people are used to, and the State has a pretty, American face on it. It's much of the same on the home front (and basically the same abroad with aggressive wars and slaughtering hundreds of thousands), just not as bad. Yet.

It also doesn't really matter to a particular individual victim of the State if there's millions more like him. If he's getting brutally f*cked over to be made an example of or as part of a bigger more grand design...he's still getting murdered, beaten, tased, tortured, imprisoned, or any other nasty thing or things the State feels like inflicting upon him. President Bush, or President Hillary Clinton, or President McCain, or any "President Not-Ron Paul" that we end up with and whichever party winds up in power in the Congress, will be more than willing to inflict a worse revision of more of the same on us.

Yeah, I'm not an optimist. I hear New Zealand is nice. It is warm there on my birthday, at least.

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