Modern Germans are understandably petrified of anything having to do with fascism, but in their desperation to silence “hateful” voices on social media, the Angela Merkel administration is rapidly turning into the very thing it fears. So concerned is Merkel about the rise of right-wing groups and anti-immigrant sentiment, that she’s hacking away at the one thing that can keep totalitarianism at bay: Freedom of speech and expression.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas is supporting legislation that would slap enormous fines on social media companies for failing to remove “hate speech” from their websites.
“This sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content,” Maas said in a statement.
If the law is passed, social network companies like Facebook and Twitter could be subject to fines of 50 million euros if they do not remove controversial posts within an acceptable time frame.
The law would certainly not be the first anti-free speech legislation passed in Germany. The country is already home to some of the strictest speech codes in Western society, with tough laws on defamation, Holocaust denial, and statements that incite hatred against minority groups. And Merkel has already compelled American social media companies to sign agreements to remove speech the German government deems “hateful,” which includes most anti-immigrant sentiment.
Now, Germans can decide for themselves what level of freedom they’re comfortable with, but don’t think for a minute that Democrats wouldn’t love to steal some of those hate speech laws and implement them in the United States. We may be safe from their legislative claws right now, but they will (probably) be in power again one day. When that day comes, they are going to start trying to dismantle the mechanisms that allowed Donald Trump to win the presidency. Why bother striving to win a political argument when you can simply outlaw opposition views? What Republican can do anything about illegal immigration, after all, if he isn’t even allowed to talk about illegal immigrants?
If you think the First Amendment will stop them, we hope you’re right. But when the Supreme Court can find abortion, gay marriage, and assault rifle bans in the Constitution, they can probably find “hate speech” laws in there as well. Then, it will just be a matter of defining exactly what constitutes outlawed speech.
And boy, will the left have a field day with that.