The so called “progressive” website Slate, offered up an article Tuesday that argues free speech in the US should be limited… because ISIS.
— Slate (@Slate) December 15, 2015
“Thanks to ISIS, we have to consider limits to free speech.” Slate tweeted, along with a link to the piece penned by Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
Posner posits that “America faces unprecedented danger from the group’s online radicalization tactics,” and therefore “The novelty of this threat calls for new thinking about limits on freedom of speech.”
Posner argues that there are thousands of “Lonely and bored” Muslim Americans who are at risk of becoming radicalized online by ISIS.
He states that it should be made a crime to access any websites that carry video, text or images posted by ISIS.
“The law would provide graduated penalties. After the first violation, a person would receive a warning letter from the government; subsequent violations would result in fines or prison sentences. The idea would be to get out the word that looking at ISIS-related websites, like looking at websites that display child pornography, is strictly forbidden.” Posner writes.
Posner argues that researchers and journalists should be exempted from the law:
“Press credentials, a track record of legitimate public commentary on blogs and elsewhere, academic affiliations, employment in a security agency, and the like would serve as adequate proof.” he writes.
Of course, at the crux of this argument is the notion that Americans can be arrested and thrown in prison for viewing websites that the government deems to be glorifying or supportive of “terrorism”.
In addition, Posner would also grant the government the right to determine who does and who does not have “press credentials” and what constitutes a “legitimate public commentary”.
Handing the federal government both of these powers would be a significant violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits interfering with Americans’ rights to receive and read any political information, and also prohibits infringing on the freedom of the press.
Posner admits this in his article stating “The obvious problem with this law is that the courts could strike it down under the First Amendment.”
He argues, inanely, that “these rules go back only to the 1960s,” and claims that before then Americans could be subject to punishment for “engaging in dangerous speech.”
“The pattern in American history—and, in the other democracies as well, even today—is that during times of national emergency, certain limits on speech will be tolerated.” Posner writes.
He does not explain, however, that this doesn’t make such limits in any way legal or right.
The Internet responded in typical fashion to Posner’s call to limit free speech:
@Slate That'll show 'em
— Mark Schilling (@markjschilling) December 15, 2015
ISIS would like that, wouldn't ISIS? https://t.co/danZWY3544
— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) December 15, 2015
@Slate Wait a minute….Wouldn't that be exactly what ISIS wants us to do? I thought that was bad…it was last week.
— Cask Strength (@ChampionCapua) December 15, 2015
@Slate "How did your generation handle the terrorist threat?" "Oh, we stripped away the civil liberties of our citizens."
— William Elton (@forbiddencomma) December 15, 2015
@Slate In a crowded field, this is the biggest load of horseshit you ever published.
— MikeDrop (@SmuggieMike) December 15, 2015
@Slate Uh, no.
— Cory (@coryxoxo) December 15, 2015
@Slate How about we don't?
— Heisenberg (@Xxessw) December 15, 2015
@Slate what the fuck is wrong with you?
— Justin (@ObeerWan_Kenobi) December 15, 2015
— frank chapel (@CptGrumpyPants) December 15, 2015
— Don Fash (@MaiDindu) December 15, 2015
— Maiden Lane (@rjs2006) December 15, 2015
@Slate i'm pretty sure you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
— Michael Aubele (@michaelaubele) December 15, 2015
@Slate The fuck we do.
— Sir Thomas Raffles (@ThomasRaffles) December 15, 2015
@Slate GTFOH with this moronic BS.
— Coach Spavs Notecard (@CoachSpavs) December 15, 2015
@Slate No, we don't. You people need to GF yourselves.
— Dissident Biker (@DissidentBiker) December 15, 2015
@Slate Fuck you. No.
— Kes (@KesaraRiku) December 15, 2015
— ScottInSC (@ScottInSC) December 15, 2015