Thursday, February 1, 2018
Obama's Role in Left-Wing Attempts to Ban Some Speech
By Michael S. Rozeff
The virulent opposition to people like Steve Bannon appearing on a college campus merely to debate or speak has been inculcated and nurtured by Obama for the past 8 years. This is an anti-speech movement. It’s coming from the Left in this case.
The seeds of this bigotry were planted in
hate crime laws back around 2006. At that time, one of the many downsides of hate crime laws was evident: “Over time, as laws and cases multiply, people can eventually be accused of libelous or seditious hate crimes involving vehement speech when they are biased against a group or merely do not like it or its policies. People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.”
This is happening now because of Obama’s emphasis on hate crime. “President Barack Obama took office vowing to ‘vigorously pursue’ hate crimes and civil rights cases.” His administration enacted “The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009”. This legislation “broadens federal jurisdiction in prosecuting hate crimes. It also expands the definition of a hate crime to include bias-motivated crimes based on a victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.”
Obama used his office to heighten public anxiety over crimes linked to bias as a motivation. He had the pulpit for 8 years. Hillary Clinton was widely expected by leftists to continue Obama’s highly exaggerated emphasis on unfairness in American society. She, as a statist like Obama, was slated in the leftist mentality to continue his crusade and rectify all sorts of imagined ills and dangers relating to race, sex, and other attributes. The election of Trump exploded these expectations. Elements on the left perceived him and some of his entourage and followers as delivering hate speech and possessing bigoted attitudes. The most violent of these are in the Antifa category. Starting with Berkeley, Antifa came out against hate speech, labeling it as violent and hate crime. Antifa used its own violence to counter the imaginary hate crimes. This ploy worked. Antifa radicalized students and succeeded in shifting the entire left and anti-Trump elements toward the illiberal anti-speech position.
This shift rests on a foundation of “anti-hate” that was built by hate crime laws and the demons haunting Obama that he emphasized. When anti-hate became anti-hate crime, it was only a short step for anti-hate crime to become anti-hate speech. All one had to do is characterize the targeted speech as subversive of values inculcated by Obama and left-wing ideology. All one had to do was to treat the targeted speech as itself violent, or fomenting violence, or anti-social, or racist, or sexist, so as to justify preventing such accused speech from being aired on a college campus.
The attempt to eliminate hatred by law has become an attempt to eliminate hatred within speech, even before it is uttered, which sounds like and is a facet of political correctness. This attempt is all wrong. Laws won’t mitigate hatred. Circumventing the use of certain words or inculcating others won’t change the substance of reality. Political correctness will produce a counter-reaction.
The above originally appeared at LewRockwell.com.
at 4:56 AM