Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the rising censorship in the United States is that countries like Germany (with histories of antagonism toward free speech) have criticized the trend as dangerous and wrong. While Democratic leaders and media figures have supported censorship, figures like Angela Merkel (long criticized for her attacks on free speech) have criticized moves like Twitter banning Trump. Now, Germany has fined YouTube for something that many on the left in the United States have supported: the removal of a video contesting Covid-19 limits. Continue reading “YouTube Fined By Germany For Removing Pandemic Protest Video”
Polling in the United States and internationally is showing a sharp increase in support for socialism among young people. Support for capitalism is waning as a new generation embraces views of collective economic policies and programs. Two hundred years after the birth of Karl Marx, his views are now coming back into vogue despite a long history of economic failures in socialist countries. Continue reading “Das Kapital, Dude: Polling Shows Sharp Rise In Support For Socialism Among The Young”
We previously discussed the prosecution of controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala for antisemitic jokes and comments. The comedian has now been sent to prison for four months for “public insults,” including “public insult of an anti-Semitic nature” and “contestation of a crime against humanity.” M’Bala’s jokes and comments are deeply offensive to many of us but the prosecution for such comments is a further attack on the core principles of free speech. Continue reading “Comedian Sentenced to Prison for “Public Insult of an Antisemitic Nature””
Asatar Bair, an assistant professor of economics at Riverside City College, is under fire this week for his praise of one of the most blood-soaked, tyrannical figures in history: Joseph Stalin. Bair is a self-described Marxist but most communists draw a line well clear of Stalin who was responsible for killing millions. As will come as little surprise to many on this blog, I strongly support Bair’s right to espouse his Stalinist views even though I find them utterly absurd and offensive.
We have previously discussed the concerted and often embarrassing blackout in the media on stories involving Hunter Biden’s influence peddling during his father’s tenure as Vice President. That includes the burying of the laptop story and the growing contradictions over his father’s denial of any knowledge or involvement in his shady business dealings. Even recent reports that Hunter may have paid prostitutes with his father’s account were blacked out by mainstream media which exhaustively pursued any story related to the Trump children and their dealings and life styles. Now, however, there is a major allegation that Hunter used access to his father to seal previously unknown deals with Mexican businessmen, including Carlos Slim. A picture shows Hunter with the businessmen in the Vice President residence with his father. Continue reading “New Emails Raise New Allegations of Influence Peddling By Hunter Biden And Direct Knowledge Of President Biden”
We have previously discussed the tendency of the United Kingdom toward “nanny state” legislation. Now, starting in 2023, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is moving to ban junk food advertising online and before 9pm on TV — a move that will not only limit speech rights but undermine broadcasters who rely on such revenue. It is a move reminiscent of the Big Gulp laws of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York as the government moves to protect consumers from themselves. As will come as little surprise to many of this blog, I oppose such moves both as a limitation on speech rights and the freedom of choice. Continue reading “Out of Sight, Out of Mind? United Kingdom Moves to Ban Junk Food Advertising”
This week, the cancel culture became a royal pain with the removal of the portrait of the Queen by Oxford students at Magdalen College because her image is threatening to some students and “represents recent colonial history.” The decision follows King’s College formally apologizing for sending out an email after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, which showed a picture of Philip opening university’s Maughan Library with the Queen in 2002. Continue reading ““Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room”
The expanding censorship on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook continue to be a major issue in the United States. However, the same debate is occurring in Europe despite a long erosion of free speech values. In Spain, a far-right politician was locked out by Twitter after saying “a man cannot get pregnant” because they have “no uterus or eggs.” Francisco José Contreras, deputy to Spain’s Vox Party, made the response to an article about a transgender male who the birth of a baby girl. The remark was deemed hate speech by Twitter.
There is a free speech fight brewing in Scotland where a prominent feminist, Marion Millar, 50, has been charged with the crime of “malicious communication” due to tweets criticizing gender self-identification. We have previously discussed how feminists are being accused of hate speech and discrimination in these debates. Indeed, Millar is accused of being a “terf” (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist) by critics due to her opposition to allowing males to declare themselves to be females. She could now face two years in jail. Continue reading ““Malicious Communications”: Scottish Feminist Criminally Charged For Tweets Opposing Gender Self-Identification”
The authoritarian rule of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always been sobering for civil libertarians but this is ridiculous. After destroying civil liberties, the free speech and secularism, Erdogan remains unpopular with many inside Turkey and most people outside of Turkey. Facing an upcoming election, Erdogan has decided to play the Islamic card again and cracked down on liquor sales. It is the latest proof that he lied when he originally pledged to respect the secular traditions established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that made Turkey unique in the Muslim world. Indeed, Ataturk was known as someone who was a heavy drinker in his time. Ataturk would drink a liter of raki (shown here), the Turkish national liquor, a day (which explains why he died at 57 years old from a chronic liver disease).
There is an interesting decision out of the European Court of Human Rights. The court fined an Italian court for “playing down gender-based violence” in a ruling on a gang rape case. The ECHR objected to references to the alleged victim’s sexuality, behavior, and the color of her underwear. Continue reading “Italian Court Fined For “Playing Down Gender-Based Violence””
We often discuss how defending free speech often means defending those who we find thoroughly grotesque or offensive. In that sense, Nicholas Brock, 52, is the ultimate personification of the price we pay for free speech. The neo-Nazi was given a four-year sentence for what the court called his “toxic ideology” based on the contents of the home he shared with his mother in Maidenhead, Berkshire. In my view, the only thing more troubling than Brock’s hateful views is the decision to criminalize the holding of such views. It is an example of the continued erosion of bright-line protections of free speech in the United Kingdom and other European countries. Judge Peter Lodder QC declared “I do not sentence you for your political views, but the extremity of those views informs the assessment of dangerousness.” That is a fine distinction that allows for sweeping criminalization of political viewpoints.
We have been discussing the state laws requiring contractors and employees to swear that they do not support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel. I have long maintained that the law is unconstitutional as a limitation of free speech and associational rights. This week, a court in Georgia became the latest to declare such laws unconstitutional. The case was brought by journalist Abby Martin who was denied a contract as a keynote speaker at Georgia Southern University due to her support of the BDS movement. The opposition to these laws is not driven by the merits of the BDS movement or its opposition. Rather, the issue is the curtailment of political speech, including compelling official speech or viewpoints, as a condition for state employment.