‘Hate Speech’ Laws Coming Soon to the United States, Democrats Advocating Alongside World Economic Forum Participants

‘Hate Speech’ Laws Coming Soon to the United States, Democrats Advocating Alongside World Economic Forum Participants
Vera Jourova, current EU vice president for values and transparency at the European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Naveen Athrappully

Multiple participants at the ongoing annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, suggested instituting free speech limitations as a way to deal with alleged hate speech and the continuing polarization of opinions.

While speaking at “The Clear and Present Danger of Disinformation” panel, Vera Jourova, vice president for values and transparency at the European Commission, pushed for containing free speech rights on the continent by citing the need to control hate speech, and predicted the United States would follow suit with similar anti-constitutional speech regulatory measures.

“We need the people who understand our language and the case law in the country, because what qualifies as hate speech, illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the United States, we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law,” Jourova said. “We need the platforms to simply work with the language and identify such cases. The AI would be too dangerous.”

The WEF panel was discussing how regulators, social media firms, and the public can tackle “disinformation.” It is unclear how “disinformation” is defined by the panel.

Earlier on the panel, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) also batted for putting restrictions on free speech.

“This concept of preserving public safety even under the banner of free speech is actually something we’ve accepted for a long time. You get taught in grade school that, yes, you’re allowed free speech, but not crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” he said.

The ‘fire in a crowded theater’ analogy is often used to justify restrictions on free speech. The usage refers to a 1919 opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court which argued that speaking against war during wartime is like shouting fire in a theater and causing panic.

However, the court has distanced itself from such reasoning and never declared it as a binding legal principle.

A Free Press Problem?

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) sees free press and online discussions as an issue that needs to be tackled. “The problem we have is the open press system and basically all the platforms,” Manchin said during a panel discussion at the WEF meeting.

“So if you’re able to have five platforms, social platforms, that you can basically personify the extremes as somebody who is extremely right or extremely left, and it seems like that is the majority speaking. They’re not the majority, but they’re basically driving everybody to make a decision. What side are you on? Are you on this side or this side?”

Manchin’s statements attracted criticism from Ned Ryun, CEO of Voter Gravity, a voter contact technology that turns data into votes. In a tweet on Jan. 18, he said that the Democrat lawmaker “needs to be run out in 2024.”

Stephen Miller, the founder of America First Legal and senior advisor to former president Donald Trump, tweeted Manchin’s statement while warning about the links between American leaders and global elitists.

“One of the (many) reasons we must focus more on Davos is because our political and financial elite hunger for validation from the global elite. Just as yesterday’s Marxist academic theory becomes today’s dogma, so too does a Davos panel today become tomorrow’s regulatory framework,” Miller stated in a tweet on Jan. 18.

‘Fragmentation’ of Opinions

At Davos, WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab insisted that differing opinions are creating “fragmentation” in society.
“At the beginning of this year, we are confronted with unprecedented and multiple challenges,” Schwab said. “We need to overcome the most critical fragmentation.”

“The most critical fragmentation is between those who take a constructive attitude, and those who are just bystanders, observers, and even go into the negative, critical, and confrontational attitude.”

During the B20 meeting in Indonesia in November, Schwab had suggested that the world has to confront a “deep systemic and structural restricting.” This will take “some time” and the world might look different after such a transition process, he stated.
In an interview with Chinese state-run network CGTN that month, Schwab said that he respects China’s achievements and that the communist nation is a “role model” for many countries.