New York Assemblyman David Weprin and State Senator Tony Avella are putting their political muscle behind a new bill that would bring Europe’s “right to be forgotten” laws to the shores of the United States. Despite the bill’s dark implications for the First Amendment, the Democrats argue that it’s more important for American citizens to be protected from embarrassing posts on the internet than it is for those citizens to enjoy the right to free speech.
Yes, while the media warns us about the horrors awaiting the free press under President Trump, a few of the left’s defenders of democracy are trying to force search engines like Google to remove any links that people…simply don’t like. The New York Democrats have crafted a bill that would let people demand, under penalty of fines for the search engines, that any information or articles about them be removed if the content is determined to be “inaccurate,” “irrelevant,” “inadequate,” or “excessive.” Judges would be the arbiters of whether the content in questioned fell into one or more of these categories.
Publishers are already legally responsible for slander and libel, so the “inaccurate” portion of the bill is, at best, redundant. At worst, it goes beyond our current libel laws, which also require a plaintiff to demonstrate that the lies were harmful to their reputation and/or income. And there are those who say that even this is more restrictive than allowed by the First Amendment.
With their bill, the Democrats also want to hold search engines and publishers liable under the other three categories, which are vague and blatantly unconstitutional. There is no law prohibiting the publication of “irrelevant” information, whatever that might be defined as. This isn’t a slippery slope; this is a free-fall into totalitarian speech codes.
It’s just endlessly amusing to see liberals parade around like they are the only righteous citizens standing up for freedom, when they are, in reality, supporting a party that loathes freedom. They have the backwards idea that our freedoms are bestowed upon us by the government and stolen away by alt-right fascist blogs. In fact, our freedoms are unlimited, by right of birth, and can only be restricted by the government these liberals love so much.
The left’s “fake news” narrative wasn’t just about Donald Trump; it was also about getting Americans comfortable with the prospect of one day – maybe not now, but down the road a little ways – censoring the internet for the good of democracy.