I believe that Alan Borovoy, father of Canada’s hate speech legislation, repented of his earlier enthusiasm for hate speech legislation and its expansion into human rights codes by the time it began to be used by Human Rights Commissions to suppress the likes of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. At least his old friend and sparring partner George Jonas thought so:
It always puzzled me why Alan, a civil libertarian by vocation as well as avocation, would burn the midnight oil to set up laws and institutions designed to reduce the very liberties he was safeguarding and promoting by day. The answer, it seemed, was that he never imagined human rights commissions, a progeny of the progressive left, could be a threat to free expression. In my column a few days ago I wrote: “It never occurred to [Alan] that civil liberties can be threatened from the left…..
Initially, Alan, like many left-liberal social activists, believed he and his comrades could regulate conduct without affecting expression or conscience. After all, how could prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing turn into censorship in the media?
Unfettered by the illusions of the left, conservative civil libertarians could see it easily. Deny liberty to conduct; it’ll soon be denied to speech, or vice versa. Freedom is indivisible. Cutting it in half means killing it. King Solomon understood this in relation to babies; civil libertarians like Alan didn’t think it applied to civil liberties. He disdained any talk about “the thin edge of the wedge.” In the 1980s, with civil liberties already halfway down the throat of the voracious state, Alan was still dismissing the slippery slope as a shopworn myth. It took him another decade and a half to change his mind.”
The left wing assault on speech is only gathering strength, because now it is unhinged from reliance on courts or quasi-judicial bodies like human rights commissions. Now it exercises its whims through young twenty years old social justice warriors in the platform oligopolies: Facebook, Google, Youtube, Apple and Spotify. No such thing as fair process, or rights, hinder the process. What the Left does not like, is “hate”. That is to say, all speech not conforming to the left wing mindset of our times is hate: sexist racist fascist transphobic Islamophobic nyah nyah nyah.
The targeted takedown of Jones was strategic.
Few people want to defend the substance of his content. So CNN gets to wrap itself in self-righteousness, even though it was an act by CNN of political activism.
And yes, these are private companies who can do what the government cannot. We understand that. But they have taken on a role approaching public utilities, without whom we can’t communicate politically.
This is something we’ve covered a lot in the past year, how an oligopoly of left-leaning high tech firms control virtually all of our social media interactions. In my dreadful 9th Anniversary post, I wrote:
If the assault on the Electoral College was the game changer for me, a runner up was waking up to implications of the concentration of power in a small number of social media and internet companies who have been weaponized to shut down speech and expression. Google, Facebook, Twitter and two handfuls of other companies now completely control our ability to communicate with each other, while internet backbone companies are poised to block internet access altogether.
Imagine living in a repressive country in which the government blocked access to and suppressed internet content. You don’t need to move. It’s coming here but from private industry. This is, in many ways, more dangerous than government suppression of free speech because at least in the U.S. the government is subject to the First Amendment, and can be voted out of office.
The social justice warriors have moved from shouting down speakers on campus to pressuring high tech companies to expand the definition of “hate speech” and “community standards” to the point that anything right of center is at risk….
And further from Jacobson:
These social justice censors start with neo-Nazis, then define everyone who opposes them as the equivalent of neo-Nazis. So they move on to Alex Jones, then the NRA, and won’t stop until mainstream conservatives are banned.
Yet lunatic leftist #Resistance conspiracies proliferate on these same social media platforms without hindrance.
One of the best comments I saw about the Jones takedown was from David Reaboi on Twitter:
When the only thing you’ve got to say about the deplatforming of Jones is, “it’s a private business”—for conservatives, it’s a tell.
It means you don’t see the larger fight about deplatforming and Left’s “hate speech” restrictions to expression. You don’t know what time it is.
That is spot on. There is a war being fought for the turf controlled by the big tech social media oligopolies, and when the openness of these forums is lost, we’re back to the equivalent of Samizdat.
Sargon of Akkad has this to say: