United Nations Vs. The 1st Amendment
In America, there is never a threat of losing the rights afforded by the First Amendment. Rather than anything like that, a small cabal of private companies – that accept billions of dollars in government subsidies/contracts and face frequent state investigations and U.N. scorn for imagined crimes – is simply expressing its rights by artificially monopolizing the means of information dissemination. If the distinction sounds meaningless to you, given the remarkable similarities between the two in practice, be prepared for more confusion if the United Nations gets their way.
The Need to End Free Speech
To achieve societal equality, one thing must be true. More than biology or evolution, factors such as language and social pressure must be capable of manifesting any kind of human that is desired by the state. Multiculturalism is a strength because we’re told that multiculturalism is a strength, not because of some tangible experience or study pointed to this direction. Woman choosing certain jobs over others is oppression because we’re told it’s oppression, not because of some tangible experience or study pointed to this direction.
If language and pressure are the parents of the new citizen and the new society, a new importance must be placed upon words.
Prince Harry famously called the First Amendment, the basis for American freedom of speech, “bonkers.” While a royal failing to grasp the importance of peasant perspectives is not surprising, the former senior royal’s view appears in favor throughout the world.
“Americans are much more tolerant of offensive speech than people in other nations. For instance, 77% in the U.S. support the right of others to make statements that are offensive to their own religious beliefs, the highest percentage among the nations in the study. Fully 67% think people should be allowed to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, again the highest percentage in the poll. And the U.S. was one of only three nations where at least half endorse the right to sexually explicit speech. Americans don’t necessarily like offensive speech more than others, but they are much less inclined to outlaw it,” the study concluded.
United Nations Impact
Antonio Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General, is a man of great power who has a propensity for tweeting undergrad level wisdom such as “Food is a human right,” “Poverty is man-made,” and “Keep sounding the alarm of the climate emergency engulfing our planet.” He continues the secretary position’s tradition of despising free speech and exploiting tragedies to achieve the end of reducing the scope of speech.
Before Guterres, Ban Ki Moon considered protecting children by preventing abuse by racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance to be the UN’s “top priority.”
“When a State manifestly fails to prevent such incitement, the international community should remind the authorities of this obligation and that such acts could be referred to the International Criminal Court, under the Rome Statute,” Moon menacingly threatened.
Even prior to Moon, Kofi Annon had a similar message – going so far as to say that Facebook had a role in the genocide in Myanmar. The UN human rights experts concluded that Facebook had played a role in spreading hate speech in the country.
“UN human rights experts investigating a possible genocide in Myanmar said in March that Facebook had played a role in spreading hate speech in the country.”
Guterres lays out the same warning as his predecessors, all by only updating the rhetoric with the day’s buzzwords. In 2020, the torchbearer of speech suppression went on Twitter with his typical line: “The pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering… I call on the media, especially social media companies, to do much more to flag and, in line with international human rights law, remove racist, misogynist and other harmful content.”
Applying state and international pressure on private companies hosting dissenting views has been a successful method of circumventing the First Amendment for decades.
Here how UN.org puts it:
On the topic of academic research, much of the work is done by people like Michael A. Peters of the Normal University, P.R. China. The researcher outlined recommendations for dealing with hate speech. Note the reoccurring theme of pressuring private companies stated quite explicitly.
- The strategy and its implementation to be in line with the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The UN supports more speech, not less, as the key means to address hate speech;
- Tackling hate speech is the responsibility of all – governments, societies, the private sector, starting with individual women and men. All are responsible, all must act;
- In the digital age, the UN should support a new generation of digital citizens, empowered to recognize, reject and stand up to hate speech;
- We need to know more to act effectively – this calls for coordinated data collection and research, including on the root causes, drivers and conditions conducive to hate speech.
Number 4 begs a certain question: What if they found out the driver was unpopular government policy?
Here is an example of Peters researching hate speech:
“There has been a huge proliferation of ‘hate groups’ and ‘hate speech’ online recently with a spike during the pandemic. Sarah Manavis (2020) reports ‘Covid-19 has caused a major spike in anti-Chinese and anti-Semitic hate speech’ indicating ‘Exclusive data given to the New Statesman shows that the pandemic has led to an extraordinary increase in hate speech, racism and incitements of violence online.’ Manavis (2020) refers to the analysis of more than 600 million tweets by Moonshot, a technology company that monitors online extremism. Of some 200,000 forms of hate speech and conspiracy theories the majority were anti-Chinese with hashtags such as #CCPVirus,#ChinaLiedPeopleDied and #DeepstateVirus revealing a 300% increase.”
By conflating the Chinese state with Chinese people, Smith uses the existence of people being upset with a state that irresponsibly (at best) released and lied about a virus that caused a global pandemic to justify his claim that racism is spiking.
All the way in England, researchers like James Bank publish the exact same study.
“The paper develops to consider how technological innovations can restrict the harm caused by hate speech while states seek to find common ground upon which to harmonise their approach to regulation. Further, it argues that a broad coalition of government, business and citizenry is likely to be most effective in reducing the harm caused by hate speech.”
“In particular, the US First Amendment affords considerable protection to those espousing hate from US websites, in direct contrast with many other nations’ approach to hate speech. The case of Yahoo! demonstrates the drift towards nation states imposing geographical demarcations onto the virtual world and more pertinently highlights the difficulties inherent in European countries seeking to extend their jurisdiction extraterritorially, enforcing their content laws against material uploaded beyond national boundaries.”
“With unilateral attempts to regulate hate speech originating in foreign territories falling foul to jurisdictional and cultural conflict, the application of national law to foreign entities has serious limitations. Consequently, an international system governed by compacts and supra-national decision making would appear to offer an appropriate means through which to obviate regulatory conflict between nation states.“
As with the Peters paper, are we seeing anything more than the classic U.N. call for restriction paired with deeply subjective political discussion that would be more appropriate on talk-radio than a major journal?
The End Result
The thesis is that American sovereignty and American rights are an international threat. Sadly, the stance is catching on.
While we discussed how America is unique in its views on open speech, 40% of U.S. Millennials think “the government should be able to prevent people from making statements that are offensive to minority groups, compared with 27% of those in Generation X, 24% of Baby Boomers, and just 12% of Silent Generation Americans. Nonwhite respondents (38%) are also more likely to hold this view than whites (23%).”
With America’s European population becoming a minority over the next decades, America’s viewpoint on hate speech could dramatically change if current racial trends continue.
For all the certainty that these researchers and global leaders demonstrate in their attacks on speech, where is the type of hard-data that should be required before imposing policy upon billions of people? Where is the tangible experience or study that points to speech limitations creating a more accepting, kinder society? If the certainty is rooted in nothing more than platitudes and consensus, logical certainty is impossible to achieve – and the arrogance is wholly undeserved.
The Bill of Rights, our Second Amendment, our First Amendment – the freedoms we were told were the source of the Taliban’s hate for us – were actually being targeted by our friends in the United Nations.