It looks like the anti-free speech crowd has launched another attack on the First Amendment. Not surprisingly, they chose New York City as the site of their opening salvo.
New York City’s Commission on Human Rights recently imposed restrictions on individuals who engage in certain types of speech. This story is currently flying under the radar, but if recent trends are any indication, this might just be the beginning of the campaign against free speech.
NYC Targets Free Speech
The ironically-named Commission on Human Rights, which is charged with enforcing New York City’s Human Rights Law, recently announced the implementation of a new ordinance that would punish those who engage in certain types of speech against illegal immigrants. According to the organization’s press release, the “use of the term ‘illegal alien,’ among others, when used with intent to demean, humiliate, or harass a person, is illegal under the law.”
You read that right. If you use the word “illegal alien,” and the city decides that you intended to demean someone, you have committed a crime and will be treated as such. But it gets even worse.
Those who even threaten to call ICE on an individual will also be in violation of the law and are subject to fines of up to $250,000 for each act of discrimination.
The fact that the powers that be in New York City thinks it wise to pass a law that violates the First Amendment is troubling enough. But the road they are traveling will not end with this piece of legislation; indeed, the progressive left has other plans.
Beginning of the End of Free Speech?
The agency’s commissioner, Carmelyn Malalis, asserted that this action is a way to push back against the Trump administration’s strict approach to illegal immigration. “In the face of increasingly hostile national rhetoric, we will do everything in our power to make sure our treasured immigrant communities are able to live with dignity and respect, free of harassment and bias,” she said.
Despite the commissioner’s words, it is apparent that this move is not about protecting illegal immigrants. Those who will be punished under this law are not assaulting or otherwise endangering anyone – they’re merely speaking words. Yes, some individuals make bigoted and offensive statements against immigrants and other types of people, but the notion that the government should be empowered to regulate this speech should elicit terror in those who fear tyranny.
According to the organization’s press release, the government would punish those deemed to be making comments out of hate – as if anyone could read another person’s mind. The reason this is dangerous is obvious; nobody, including the government, can read another person’s mind.
This is not about protecting people; it is a clear step towards policing thoughts and expression. And if the radical progressives get their way, this will target primarily those who hold conservative thoughts.