Republicans Against Free Speech

The Republican Party in the U.S. Congress has advocated and voted for an anti-free-speech bill of the most extreme and unconstitutional sort. The Suck Up to Jewish Donors Bill, publicly known as the Antisemitism Awareness Act, explicitly adopts the arbitrary and absurdly broad definition of antisemitism created out of whole cloth by an “intergovernmental organization” calling itself the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and then asserts that this group’s broad definition must now be “considered” in “the enforcement of federal anti-discrimination laws concerning education programs or activities, and for other purposes.”

Any proposed bill that seeks to expand or determine new federal powers, and which includes deliberately open-ended language such as “and for other purposes,” ought to be cast into the furnace on sight. Any government legislation that expands the meaning of discriminatory speech to include specific statements or ideas that have newly been judged, by an interested advocacy group, to imply that the speaker of those statements or ideas has a morally unacceptable point of view, is embarking on the path of totalitarian thought crimes legislation in the most overt way. And any American elected representative who believes he has the legitimate authority to do anything with regard to “federal anti-discrimination laws” other than oppose them with every fiber of his being has already proven himself in violation of the spirit of the oath he took to support and defend the U.S. Constitution; by actively legislating in favor of the expansion of such laws, he is in open violation of the letter of that oath. It is not the role of the federal government to make sure everyone thinks what he ought to think, and that no one treats or speaks of anyone else unfairly. On the contrary, and gloriously, it is the role of the American federal government above all, uniquely among all the national governments of the world, to ensure that no such federal limits on speech, thought, and private behavior are ever established. Too late for that latter role to carry any weight, of course, but one would like to believe that an occasional office holder would appear who at least perceived himself as a living roadblock to any further progress down the road of tyranny. One would like to believe that, but frankly, at this point, one would be a fool for actually believing so.

In short, nothing new to report. Republicans pay lip service to free speech and thought, just like every other faction in modern politics, but just like all the others, their pretense of principle melts as quickly as a schoolgirl’s knees at a K-Pop concert when a little cash is waved in their faces. Disgusting wretches, every single one of them. And please don’t waste your time imagining that the ones who voted against this particular bill are somehow different or better. They are merely sucking up to another entity, in this case primarily a populist mob of vaguely anti-Jew conspiracy theorists whose support they are courting, in the somewhat delusional belief that this is what their Orange god wishes them to do.

Note on consistency.– Supporters of this “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” from both political parties, claim that this bill is their answer to the climate of violent anti-Israel protest prevailing on university campuses at the moment. It may well be their answer, but it is an answer in kind, rather than an answer from principle. The problem with those campus protesters, from the point of view of civil order and the rule of law, is not that they oppose Israel’s policies, but that they disregard private property rights, as well as the premises of self-determination and non-coercive dialogue which are the bedrock of both civil society in general and the university community specifically. By choosing this moment and this context to entrench even more invasive, coercive, and anti-individual anti-discrimination laws — laws which by definition cannot be enforced without declaring war on private property rights — the U.S. federal government is responding to thuggish ignorance and intolerance toward rational discussion by effectively throwing up its hands, or throwing down the gauntlet, and declaring, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

The Ship of State Today

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