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Free Speech at Risk in New York State

The liberal left has launched another attack on the rights of the people, and this time it’s the First Amendment that’s drawing fire, as Democrats in New York push a new plan for censoring free speech. David I. Weprin, a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly, submitted Bill A05323 to the Assembly. The bill is a proposed amendment to the state’s civil rights law that would institute a new right for the American people at the expense of another, already established right. The bill, titled the Right to be Forgotten Act, would enforce the following censorship:

Upon the request from an individual, all search engines, indexers, publishers and any other persons or entities that make available, on or through the internet or other widely used computer-based network, program  or service, information about the requester, shall remove information, articles,  identifying information and other content about such individual, and links or indexes to any of the same, that is “inaccurate”, “irrelevant”,  “inadequate” or “excessive” within thirty days of such request, and without replacing such removed information, article or content with any disclaimer, takedown notice, hyperlink, or other replacement notice, information or content, or cooperating with any other person or entity who does any of the foregoing.

There are essentially two types of Americans who want to see free speech be replaced by the freedom to be forgotten, and they both subscribe to the idea that the ends always justify the means. This is how they rationalize sacrificing true rights for their twisted idea of tolerance.

The first group is made up of the dreamers. They don’t believe that freedom of expression is as important as the freedom of not having hurt feelings. This is because they don’t understand the inalienable rights mentioned in the U.S. Constitution exist to recognize and protect the free will endowed by the Creator. They see the issue of free speech versus the freedom not to have hurt feelings, and they believe that they are entitled to have someone else to protect them from those wounded.

They dream of a day when all people of all walks of life can live together in perfect harmony, share everything equally, and be free of conflict. Kumbaya and all that. The dream is beautiful. The dream is noble. Sadly, the dream is also a complete fantasy. The dream will never come true because every group is made up of individuals, and it is impossible to get a large group of unique beings to agree on everything. The Liberal dreamer sees the nation’s strength in diversity and believes that diversity must be protected, even if it requires restricting the rights of others. The dreamer’s point of view might look something like this:

Everyone has the right to express themselves, but the freedom of speech doesn’t include the freedom to be cruel to others just because they’re different. The hurtful words of bigots can cut deep and cause irreparable damage that can’t even be measured. In the digital age, everyone has access to everyone else at all times via the internet and social media. There’s literally nowhere to go that the hate can’t follow, but minorities are still entitled to tolerance. To enforce this tolerance, we must make the internet a safe space free of hatred and triggers.

The second group that would be thrilled to see legislation like this pass are the manipulators. Theirs is the plot that subverts the true liberties of a protected free will. They dupe dreamers into waiving their rights and the rights of everyone else. They know the meaning of liberty, and they know that the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights stops them from imposing their will on others. Those who would use their power to advance their own greed and lust are yet another reason that the dreamers’ dream could never be reality. They are the ones who would seize power and reign over everyone else. Even those manipulators who honestly believe they have the best interests of the citizenry at heart still believe that the ends of reaching that dream are worth the means of crushing true liberty under the heels of progress. The manipulator point of view might look like this:

Individuals don’t need the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. The Bill of Rights is obsolete. By censoring offensive speech, the entire nation can be sheltered and the people can live in harmony, saying only what is amiable and fair to everyone. The needs of the group outweigh the needs of the individual, and if the people would trade out the idea of archaic individual liberties for group security, the people can live as well as they need to without fear.

Or it may be far more sinister.

Proposed bills such as The Right to be Forgotten Act offer the sweet treat of security in return for the surrender of liberty. They also serve as stark reminders that individual liberty is constantly under attack and must be defended. The First Amendment recognizes the right to free speech, but it also implies the duty to use that right to awaken the dreamers to the true meaning of liberty and to defend it against manipulative attacks, no matter how sweet a treat they may seem.

And so, David I. Weprin’s A05323 bill should descend into the ash heap, lest we lose our unique individualism that constitutes what America is and always should be.

Read More From James Fite

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