Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley battle “hate” at the expense of the First Amendment

When I saw this story in the Oregonian, I thought the journalist had taken some liberties with the story. He wrote:

Noting a recent spate of anti-Semitic “hate incidents” in the Portland area, Democratic U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have introduced legislation to clamp down on hate speech and prejudice-fueled attacks.

But then I found similar wording on Senator Jeff Merkley’s official website:

Washington, D.C. – Following a national surge in hate crimes, Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined Democratic legislators in the House and Senate to introduce legislation that would strengthen federal laws combatting hate speech, threats and attacks….

“Americans of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds have time and again spoken out to warn that hateful rhetoric fuels and emboldens a culture of intimidation and violence,” Wyden said. “That truth proved out yet again in the recent election cycle, which was characterized by animosity toward racial, ethnic and religious groups. As Americans, we must stand up against harassment, intimidation and attacks on people in Oregon and across this country based on their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and other personal characteristics.”

I’m not an attorney, but I’m fairly certain that there are already laws on the books against incitement to violence, so I don’t think he’s talking about that. There have been attempts to criminalize “hate speech“:

Since the 1980s, a number of laws have been passed that attempt to regulate or ban “hate speech,” which is defined as utterances, displays, or expressions of racial, religious, or sexual bias. The U.S. Supreme Court has generally invalidated such laws on the ground that they infringe First Amendment rights. In R.A.V. v. City ofSt. Paul, 505 U.S. 377, 112 S. Ct.2538, 120 L. Ed. 2d 305 (1992), the Court invalidated the city of St. Paul’s hate-crime ordinance, ruling that it unconstitutionally infringed free speech. The defendant in that case had been prosecuted for burning a cross on the lawn of an African-American family’s residence.

As Leftists love to say, “history matters,” and the history of attacks against “hate-speech” has been almost exclusively out of concern for those who are not white, straight males. Rarely are bias crimes prosecuted as such if the victim is not of a “protected group,” and one of the main organizations that promotes the concept of “hate speech” as a quasi-crime is the SPLC (cited in Merkley’s website).

The fact that Merkley considers the SPLC to be a reliable source of information is, in itself troubling. It has been shown time and again that the SPLC is anything but impartial.

Perhaps the senators can be forgiven for being unaware of the true nature of the SPLC, but they should certainly have been aware of the contents of the Constitution, which they made an oath to uphold upon assuming office. Freedom of speech is, arguably, the most precious thing that sets the United States apart from most of the rest of the world. Just recently, the United States accepted the asylum request of a teen blogger from Singapore. He had served jail time there for criticizing the government, and for “wounding the religious feelings” of Christians and Muslims.

It wouldn’t take a great leap of imagination to define the teen blogger’s words as “hate speech.” If Wyden and Merkley have their way, which country would grant asylum to American bloggers accused of “hate speech?”



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6 Responses to Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley battle “hate” at the expense of the First Amendment

  1. J. Silver says:

    Unfortunately, for those who would rather hold to the historic Anglo-American notion of minimally restricted speech, Singapore offers a window into the future of the United States. Their speech codes are not simply reflexive authoritarianism in the East Asian mold, but rather the pragmatism of a state that grappled with an intensely dense, diverse, and urban population. While I do not find disagree that the SPLC is clearly biased, or that ersatz White People are comparatively victimized in the wash, I similarly cannot imagine a process by which the trajectory of demographic change will be modified.

    The United States will face the same situation as Singapore and under those circumstances the Freedom of Speech will necessarily give way to the necessity of order.

    • Admin says:

      I similarly cannot imagine a process by which the trajectory of demographic change will be modified.


      • J. Silver says:

        Pardon the turn of phrase. I certainly can imagine the process, but I find the potential chains of events either too improbable to contemplate at length. The process by which ‘whites’ could return to a position of first among equals would invariably cause a bluff-call and escalation on the part of every interested party arrayed against them. Without such a position I do not believe they will have sufficient leverage to maintain Free Speech, which is in-essence an expression of their cultural hegemony. Thus far Trump has marched to the Rubicon and shows no sign of crossing. I believe his family, if nothing else, would not permit him to deviate from that decision.

      • Admin says:

        The only thing that has to happen is for white people to start having more kids. That’s it. In 21st century America that doesn’t even mean women sacrificing their careers or men sacrificing their fun money, though those sacrifices would be worthwhile in most cases. If you’re an able-bodied person and you don’t have kids, it’s because you don’t want them, and you shouldn’t complain about your demographic decline.

      • J. Silver says:

        >The only thing that has to happen is for white people to start having more kids. That’s it.

        Except we both know this is untrue. Even were they to elevate their birth-rates to the levels of the post-war ‘boom,’ they would not pace the current level of immigration and would only slow their displacement. I grant you that this would give ‘white,’ Americans time to come to terms with a future loss of cultural hegemony, but it certainly would not prevent such an eventuality without escalation.

        As I said before, I do not believe he will betray his family by doing anything so drastic. By now he must realize the sunset of ‘white,’ America is inevitable.

      • J. Silver says:

        For the sake of clarity and conclusion: I sympathize with the sentiments of your article; however, I do not believe the Anglo conception of free speech can be squared with the intractable position that modern America will be brought into by its recent historic tradition of relatively liberal immigration policies. I further assert that, while ‘whites,’ may have decided at this point to trade some of the latter to preserve the former, they are already in no position to dictate those terms without relatively unprecedented escalation.

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