by Scott Creighton
(note: I haven’t been writing the last couple of days. Been kinda sick. This is a short article but I thought you would want to see it)
A former administrator of Obama’s White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein, has penned an op-ed over at Bloomberg View where he argues the times, they are a changing thanks to ISIS™, so we need to do away that pesky little first amendment thing before they radicalize some more kids on Facebook.
“The intensifying focus on terrorism, and on Islamic State in particular, poses a fresh challenge to the greatest American contribution to the theory and practice of free speech: the clear and present danger test. In both the U.S. and Europe, it’s worth asking whether that test may be ripe for reconsideration.” Sunstein
Sunstein’s short argument is basically that the “clear and present danger test” currently applied to interpretations of first amendment protections, needs to be rethought because, as it stands now…
“Dangerous speech”. Right. I wonder how broad that definition will be once we finish “having the discussion” about giving up that freedom for a little security. If history has taught us anything, it’s be pretty broad.
Over on the left side of the fake political divide, Eric Posner has penned a similar, complimentary op-ed for Slate. Eric actually uses the San Bernardino shooting patsies suspects as examples of how ISIS™ uses social media to reach their clammy hands across the Atlantic to commit acts of terror here in the States.
“It has become increasingly clear that terrorist groups such as ISIS can extend their reach to American territory via the Internet. Using their own websites, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, they lure young men and women to their mission—without having to risk the capture of foreign agents on U.S. soil. The Americans ensnared in ISIS’s net in turn radicalize others, send money to ISIS, and even carry out attacks.” Posner
Posner’s link takes you to an article that says the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino attacks were carried out by people radicalized and sworn to support ISIS™ through social media.
Unfortunately for Posner, there is still no evidence of that according to the FBI.
In his op-ed, Posner goes a bit further than his friend Cass. He suggests people be fined or arrested for simply going to “ISIS™ related websites” which is an interesting twist in that they aren’t writing or posting anything, much less “dangerous speech”. All they are doing is visiting a webpage that has been deemed by “someone” on “some undetermined grounds” to be “ISIS™ related”. Again, slippery slope doesn’t even begin to cover this.
“But there is something we can do to protect people like Amin from being infected by the ISIS virus by propagandists, many of whom are anonymous and most of whom live in foreign countries. Consider a law that makes it a crime to access websites that glorify, express support for, or provide encouragement for ISIS or support recruitment by ISIS; to distribute links to those websites or videos, images, or text taken from those websites; or to encourage people to access such websites by supplying them with links or instructions. Such a law would be directed at people like Amin: naïve people, rather than sophisticated terrorists, who are initially driven by curiosity to research ISIS on the Web.
The law would provide graduated penalties. After the first violation, a person would receive a warning letter from the government; subsequent violations would result in fines or prison sentences.” Posner
That is remarkable. Potentially sending people to PRISON for doing some RESEARCH on the web about their fake ISIS™ boogieman.
Posner, from the birthplace of neo-liberal ideology, the University of Chicago, has a long history of wishing to put the clamps on free speech. Back in Feb. he was saying colleges should be allowed to do just that since their students are children. According to him, students should be protected from the bad ideas running around out there (BDS?)
As you can see, there is a definite push taking place to start limiting free speech in this country in the wake of a couple mass casualty events, rather suspicious mass casualty events, if you ask me.
Every year it seems we are being told we have to have the debate about giving up one or another of our constitutional protections in order to “keep us safe”
Well, after a while, it should be kind of obvious what’s going on here.
terrorism – “the unlawful use of force and violence (or the threat of the use of force and violence) against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political (economic) or social objectives”
No folks. ISIS™ didn’t kill the 1st amendment. But someone is. They didn’t take your right of due process by saying they could put you on some arbitrary list that will prevent you from enjoying all you other rights either. But someone did.
Yes, this is terrorism. But the question is, from whom?
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