Many politicians give lip service to freedom of speech and dissent.
But in practice they hate it. And sometimes they’re able to convey that hatred into police action designed to stamp out dissent.
And missing the irony, “hate speech” is what these politicians call the dissent they hate.
Tuesday, German officials searched and questioned more than a hundred individuals for hate speech on social media during election campaigns of 2021.
More than 600 statements were analyzed and checked for criminal contents, according to police chief Holger Muench, The Local reported.
“Freedom of expression reaches its limits as soon as it comes to defamation, insults and threats,” Muench said.
With Tuesday’s action, he said officials are making it clear that “anyone who posts hate speech must expect the police to show up at their door,” he said.
And what is this hate speech?
Recent German legislation provides penalties of up to three years in prison for slander and abuse of politicians at all levels: local, regional and national, the Associated Press said. It describes the abuse as something that might hinder the politician from doing their public work.
The legislation also takes aim at the dissemination of fake quotes that discredit politicians.
And this kind of thing is not limited to Germany; it’s part of growing intolerance of dissent among Western nations.
In last week’s speech to the U.S. Congress, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. as the leader of the free world.
What free world?
The West is letting it slip away. Or is pushing it away, if you observe its leaders.
Germany says if you say the wrong thing, there’ll be a cop at your door.
During the Canadian trucker demonstration in February, Ottawa residents commenting about it on social media were met with a “courtesy call” from police officers, there to gently remind the poster of what constitutes peaceful protest.
Courtesy call? No. This was the low-key, polite Canadian method of intimidation.
Things have not been so low-key in the U.S.
Ask James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, hit at his home by an FBI pre-dawn raid in November regarding a diary of Joe Biden’s daughter that came his way and from which he published nothing.
“The government’s invasion of our First Amendment rights should send shivers down the spine of every journalist around the country,” O’Keefe said following the incident.
Or in Colorado, check with Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, a Republican, who questioned irregularities in the 2020 election.
In November, federal agents in combat gear broke into her home with a battering ram. They raided three other homes of women in their mid-60s, including that of Sherronna Bishop, former campaign manager of conservative Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Earlier this month Peters and a deputy were indicted on a string of felonies and misdemeanors for alleged improper activities in their investigation of the election, NPR said.
And you can go back to 2015 when various Wisconsin conservatives suffered raids they thought were home invasions as authorities forced their way into their homes, took computers, denied them access to lawyers (but at least one team made sure a reporter was present) and then told them to speak to no one of the ordeal.
Their crime was support of then-Governor Scott Walker and his efforts to reform public employee unions.
Canada, of course, made a recent show of undermining of Western values when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared vaccine mandate protesters financial non-persons by freezing the bank accounts of the protesters and their supporters.
But possibly a threatened run on Canadian banks limited Trudeau’s efforts.
COVID itself has been a terrible excuse for worldwide cultural and national suicide with lockdowns and fledgling vaccine passports.
Germany, where a palpable shame over the events of the 1930s and 40s remains coupled with the Cold War memory of the communist cruelty of its eastern areas, should be sensitive to encroachments upon freedom.
As, of course, should other Western European countries, and for sure the English legal heritage contained in nations of the former British Empire.
Especially in the land of the free, what Zelenskyy referred to as the leader of the free world, the United States of America.
But our freedoms are slipping — being pushed — away.
May God protect us from our accelerating self-destruction.
It’s becoming obvious that “hate speech” simply means any speech which somebody with power doesn’t like. In America we have the legal precedent of the case of Peter Zenger. Clearly, Germany has nothing like that.