Speech = Violence: The Relentless Push To Make Words Illegal

As the Overton Window continues to move away from Freedom, we are entering a world where certain speech has gone from being disapproved of, to censored to criminalized. How far will this go?


By Scott Armstrong

All humans on Earth possess the inalienable right to express themselves freely. We here in the United States enjoy the protection endowed to us by our Constitution and Bill of Rights wherein the government cannot infringe on those rights that are given to us by our Creator. As we have seen, those protections are not all encompassing and are subject to all kinds of loopholes.

Over the last several years, and particularly since the beginning of the Lockdown Era, we have seen the massive normalization of censorship and deplatforming. What would once be considered an egregious affront to our liberties is now something people have come to expect, on all sides. The Overton Window has slammed shut.

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The Overton Window, created by Policy Analyst Joseph Overton, and the Six Degrees of Acceptance by Political commentator Joshua Trevino , offer a visual representation of where a political policy (or cultural idea/phenomenon) falls on a continuum from being Unthinkable to becoming Policy. As with so many things we have seen over the last few years, what was once considered “Unthinkable” gradually, over time, becomes the Law.

Here is how it works: A fringe idea exists out in the world that is considered “Unthinkable”, which somehow gets introduced into the public conscience, yet is still considered “Radical”. Over time, that radical idea becomes “Acceptable” and tolerated. Eventually, that acceptable topic becomes “Sensible” and more common. It will soon become “Popular”, or even fashionable, and will become more widespread. Eventually it will become “Policy” and you will be a criminal if you don’t go along with it.

Many countries already have laws in place prohibiting certain types of speech. We have moved so far away from the idea of protected free speech, which used to be an absolute certainty here in the US, that countries around the world are making frivolous pushes to criminalize speech and associate speech with violence. Mission Creep (the expansion of a concept or “mission” far beyond its original scope) is happening in the realm of Free Speech and we have to continue to look for ways to intervene.


Ireland: Speech is Violence

As described in the clip at the top, Ryan does a great job of breaking down a bill that is being introduced in Ireland that will seek to imprison people who espouse what the Government deems to be “hate speech”. An article from the Department of Justice in Ireland elucidates this new bill further:

From gov.ie

This new bill will seek to “Tackle hate crime and hate speech” while supposedly including clear provisions to protect freedom of expression. From the article:

The new legislation will criminalise any intentional or reckless communication or behaviour that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or persons because they are associated with a protected characteristic. The penalty for this offence will be up to five years' imprisonment…

This broad, subjective way of categorizing speech is a danger to anyone’s liberty and should be alarming for anyone. Who gets to decide what is hateful and what isn’t?

Louisiana Man Arrested for Facebook Joke

In Louisiana, several non-profits are coming to the aid of a man who experienced an extreme violation of his First Amendment rights, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). (Even a broken clock is right twice a day) According to KALB Louisiana:

The ACLU of Louisiana, Cato Institute, and Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression have filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit against the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office for violating Waylon Bailey’s free speech rights after he made a joke on Facebook comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to a zombie apocalypse.

In Rapides Parish, Louisiana, a man named Wayol Bailey made a Facebook post joking how the Sheriff’s office would need to start shooting “infected” people. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office claimed that this post violated local anti-terrorism laws.

Bailey went on to file a civil lawsuit against the RPSO, but the Sheriff’s Office and the deputies involved were given qualified immunity. Bailey is hoping to overturn this ruling with the help of the ACLU and other organizations.

We are witnessing the gradual tiptoe into justifying taking legal action against US citizens for their speech on public forums and social media, which is a totalitarian government’s dream.

Google’s Jigsaw Program and The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)

As if that wasn’t scary enough, big tech monolith Google (Alphabet, Inc) has a program called “Jigsaw”, which is “a unit within Google that explores threats to open societies, and builds technology that inspires scalable solutions.”

In a November 29th article in Google’s blog known as '“The Keyword” talks about how they are implementing this program in Brussells to combat misinformation and promote “media literacy”.

Today we’re announcing additional ways we are furthering media literacy efforts through partnerships and initiatives across Europe:

  • Google and YouTube are announcing a $13.2 million grant for the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to launch a new Global Fact Check Fund to support their network of 135 fact-checking organizations from 65 countries covering over 80 languages. Building on our previous work to address misinformation, this is Google and YouTube’s single largest grant in fact-checking.

  • As part of Google’s commitment to fight disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe, we're also supporting civil society and research efforts. Google.org is providing $2.5M in grant funding to TechSoup Europe to launch an accelerator fund and will help NGOs fight against disinformation, along with another grant supporting Demagog in building its fact checking ecosystem across the region. Additionally, IPSOS recently published research on the extent to which people are exposed to disinformation in the region…

They also have an initiative called “Info Interventions” which seeks to “prebunk” misinformation and “immunize” users against what they allege to be misinformation:

The International Fact Checking Network, brought to you by the Poynter Institute, is a self-appointed group of fact checking sites and individuals who seek to shape the narrative around what the establishment deems approved thinking. From their site:

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter was launched in 2015 to bring together the growing community of fact-checkers around the world and advocates of factual information in the global fight against misinformation. We enable fact-checkers through networking, capacity building and collaboration. IFCN promotes the excellence of fact-checking to more than 100 organizations worldwide through advocacy, training and global events. Our team monitors trends in the fact-checking field to offer resources to fact-checkers, contribute to public discourse and provide support for new projects and initiatives that advance accountability in journalism.

Note: Thank you to James Jordan from Manufacturing Reality for this tip

We could go on and on for hours about cases of where our speech is slowly being eroded under the guise of protecting people’s feelings from hate speech or saving the world from people who deviate from the approved narrative. That’s pretty much all we do around here. But that doesn’t mean we slow down for a split second. It just means that we continue to grow, thrive and innovate in spite of these massive attacks. In the end, Truth will eventually win out. We are starting to see that in real time. Until then, continue to Question Everything.


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