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Criminalizing Free Speech

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Political correctness regarding free speech has gone too far. At first it took the form of just criticism. Feminists and diversity proponents lectured everyone on how they should speak. It was prevalent at universities, and spread next to corporations and K-12 education. Then it turned into civil infractions. Businesses that refused to accommodate same-sex marriage, based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, were held to have violated the law. After that, big tech took to censoring offenders. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in particular banned those whose speech it disliked. Now, it’s becoming a crime in civilized countries to say politically incorrect things. 


One area this has arisen in is pronouns for transgenders. I’m not talking about using derogatory terms for transgenders. This is over merely using the pronoun of the gender someone was born with, instead of the gender they are attempting to become. It is being called “misgendering” or “deadnaming.” 

In the United Kingdom, a Catholic journalist was investigated by the police earlier this month for referring to a transgender as “she” instead of “him.” The U.K.’s Malicious Communications Act criminalizes “a message which is indecent or grossly offensive,” “a threat,” “information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender,” or “any article or electronic communication which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature.” Caroline Farrow faces up to two years in prison, a fine or both. 

While this took place in the U.K., not the U.S., the U.S. often follows in the footsteps of the U.K. a few years later. The U.S. is currently at the third stage in the progression of censorship, with big tech starting to ban anyone who labels transgenders by the gender they were born with. This is more worrisome than it first appears. Many people, such as journalists, need Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in order to do their jobs. Banning them can seriously jeopardize their careers, making it difficult for them to make a living. There are entire news organizations that have a policy of referring to transgenders by the gender they were born with. Will big tech use this to ban entire news outlets from their platforms? Based on history, it is reasonable to predict yes. This will eliminate much of conservative news sites.     


In addition to banning misgendering, Twitter’s policy also bans “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone.” This is very broad and has been used against Christians for simply stating their beliefs. Investigative journalist Laura Loomer was permanently banned from Twitter in November for criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and her Muslim faith. 

Loomer called Omar "anti Jewish" and said she is a member of a religion in which "homosexuals are oppressed" and "women are abused" and "forced to wear the hijab." Robert Stacey McCain, who tweeted humorous things about feminists, was permanently banned by Twitter for those tweets in 2016.

Criticizing gays in Canada was made a crime in 2004 with the passage of C-250. “Sexual orientation” was added to the list of classes protected by the hate provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code. In one of the more high-profile cases, William Whatcott was convicted of violating the law for distributing flyers regarding the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality. 

The definition of a hate crime has been expanded in some countries to include speech. Merely stating your religious beliefs is now lumped in with committing heinous acts against people, as if they are the same. It’s a clever tactic. The U.S. passed a federal hate crimes law in 2009. It does not include speech — yet. 


There needs to be more attention drawn to this pattern of progressively eliminating politically incorrect speech. The problem is that it is taking place in slow increments so people don’t realize how serious it’s getting. It’s like the frog in boiling water, the water is heating up so gradually the frog doesn’t realize how hot the temperature is getting. It’s someone fringey like Alex Jones of Infowars who big tech bans so the rest of us are OK. But coming after mainstream conservatives is already happening. Progressives are trying to get Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro fired for things they have said.   

The First Amendment protects free speech in the U.S. But similar to how progressives have gradually eroded much of the Second Amendment, they are slowly taking apart the First Amendment. By the time conservatives wake up and realize what’s happening, it will be too late. Even if you don’t believe the First Amendment protects speech on the tech giants’ platforms, the bakers who have been civilly tried for refusing to bake same-sex wedding cakes are clearly engaging in free speech. The case of the Oregon bakers known as “Sweet Cakes” is currently at the Supreme Court. If their free speech is squelched, what’s coming next is criminalization of the First Amendment.  


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