The tragic mass shooting in Jacksonville has prompted much politicking on the airwaves and interwebs. As usual, folks on the left are using the massacre to promote more restrictions on firearms. But along with gun control, some are pushing another agenda that would pose a direct threat to liberty. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), along with other groups, recently participated in a high-profile meeting at the White House with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The topic of discussion: censorship.
During the meeting, representatives from the ADL called for extensive online censorship measures ostensibly to crack down on hate speech that could inspire other crimes like what occurred in Jacksonville:
The Anti-Defamation League, supported by well-known civil rights advocates, urged President Biden and VP Harris to create a robust plan targeting online hate, antisemitism, and extremism.
The phrase “lethal threat of hate-motivated violence” was highlighted as a crisis needing immediate attention. While the issue of violent hate crimes cannot be minimized, the rush to enact potentially restrictive measures regarding online speech opens a Pandora’s Box of censorship and surveillance that could, paradoxically, undermine the very freedoms civil rights leaders have fought to establish.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt drew a connection between the recent racist shooting in Jacksonville and the landmark civil rights March on Washington, pointing out society’s enduring vulnerabilities. While few question the gravity of violence, the implication that widespread societal censorship and government oversight could serve as viable solutions invites concerns over constitutional rights, something groups such as the ADL appear to ignore when constantly pushing for online censorship.
Among the alarming suggestions was the appointment of a high-ranking “czar” focused solely on combating domestic extremism and hatred.
#BanTheADL was trending on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, over the weekend for a myriad of reasons, most of which are related to the organization’s penchant for trying to silence opposing views by labeling their opposition as bigoted. Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization started out with noble intentions: fighting antisemitism. But now, it has transformed into a far-leftist apparatus designed to advance a progressive agenda.
The notion that the White House would create a position for a “czar” to combat “extremism” and “hatred” is worrisome from a free speech perspective. As many of us have learned over the past decade, these terms are notably fraught with politics. The left has a history of using these terms to smear those who disagree with their ideology, often stretching these words like saltwater taffy to make them apply to anyone they wish.
You might be old enough to remember when President Joe Biden and his cronies repeatedly referred to “MAGA Republicans” as extremists. In fact, he made a whole dystopian speech about how dangerous these people supposedly are. Also, recall, for example, the initiative to label parents protesting at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.” There can be no doubt that if the White House followed the ADL’s recommendations, this is precisely how they would use a czar.
Another issue is the ADL’s suggestion that the government partner with private Big Tech companies to regulate online speech. This proposition is even more disconcerting in light of the revelations of the Twitter Files, which exposed an FBI initiative to pressure social media companies to censor American accounts over supposed “misinformation” and “disinformation.” Imagine how much worse this will be when these agencies are empowered to collaborate with Big Tech to squash “hate speech” online.
But let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we? These proposals are not designed to decrease hate crimes. If put into place, they will be used to censor content from right-leaning users on social media. They will further expand the definition of “hate” and “extremism” to include even mainstream opinions that contradict progressive ideology. This isn’t about saving lives; It is about pushing a political agenda, nothing more, nothing less.