It should go without saying that the freedom of speech is an integral part to any civilized society. The right of the people to challenge their elected officials, to share their opinions and to voice their concerns are all absolutely crucial to a nation’s progress. When speech rights are limited, so too is that country’s ability to converse, debate, and ultimately make wise decisions, which will have a significant impact on future generations.
Recently, the European Parliament instituted new speech regulations that are so extreme they would immediately be deemed unlawful and unconstitutional had the regulations been put in place in America. Specifically, the rule change allows the EP president to interrupt the broadcasting of a debate “in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior.” As if this wasn’t tyrannical enough, the new law gives the president the authority to delete the speech “from the audiovisual record of the proceedings” if such language or behavior occurs. Those who violate the regulation could be fined up to $9,500.
This is wrong on multiple levels. First, the new law is not specific when defining the words “xenophobic” or “discriminatory.” What one might consider to be xenophobic, another may consider a necessary discussion for an effective national security policy. Such is the case here in the United States where liberals are inaccurately calling President Trump’s outspoken opposition to Syrian refugees an example of “xenophobia,” among other things. That term, along with the terms “discriminatory,” “bigoted,” or “hateful” are all subjective. Therefore, creating a law that uses this vague language is practically inviting endless debate and controversy.
Second, this new rule change will make debate, and therefore progress, nearly impossible. How can ideas concerning race be shared if all those participating in the conversation are terrified of being labeled a racist? How can one share their honest views on immigration if the very real threat of being called a xenophobe is in existence? If the goal of a country is to grow and prosper, then censorship is something that should be avoided, not embraced. (RELATED: Are you aware that google is currently censoring Natural News?)
Tom Weingaertner, the president of the International Press Association, told the Associated Press that the law “undermines the reliability of the Parliament’s archives at a moment where the suspicion of ‘fake news’ and manipulation threatens the credibility of the media and the politicians.” Weingaertner also noted that the International Press Association was never consulted. (RELATED: North Carolina is trying to pass a bill that very closely resembles the EP’s anti-free speech rule).
Policies like these, though on the surface appear to have nothing but good intentions, are really nothing more than a stepping stone towards tyranny. And as history has shown the world, once a nation surrenders liberty to a centralized authority, there is no going back.