Monday, 09 October 2017

1984 Today: View the Wrong Website, Get 15 Years in Prison

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Read the wrong website — go to prison for 15 years. This Orwellian idea will apparently become reality under a proposed United Kingdom measure targeting people who repeatedly view not just jihadist Internet material, but also so-called “far-right propaganda.”

The new measure was announced by Britain’s home secretary, Amber Rudd. As The Guardian reported Monday, “‘I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadist websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law,’ said Rudd. ‘There is currently a gap in the law around material [that] is viewed or streamed from the internet without being permanently downloaded.’”

Some interpret this “gap in the law” thus: People were previously only disallowed from saying politically incorrect things (the U.K. has “hate speech” laws) — now they mustn’t be allowed to read them, either. So don’t just mind your tongue, good dissident, but your eyes and ears, too.

This policy also reflects a false equivalence peddled by Western pseudo-elites. As Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer explains, “British authorities like to pretend that there is equal terror threat coming from both jihadis and ‘right-wing extremists.’ That leads to a diversion of resources that could be used to fight jihadis, and the persecution of innocent people, such as the politician Paul Weston, who was arrested for publicly reading Winston Churchill’s remarks about Islam.”

The same phenomenon caused U.K.’s Home Office to place American radio host Michael Savage on a “banned from Britain” list along with criminals and terrorists in order to, as was later revealed, “balance” out the Muslims on the list.

Yet a lack of balance characterizes this anti-free-speech proposal. As the Daily Caller put it, Rudd’s “statement sends a clear message the British government will use a bill supposedly designed to curtail terrorism as the pretext to shut down speech it doesn’t like [as opposed to just all ‘terrorism-oriented’ speech]. But we shouldn’t be surprised by this idea — restricting internet freedom has been the most popular proposal among British politicians in reaction to recent terror attacks.”

But what’s most troublesome about this measure? Say what you will about suppressing “Muslim jihadism,” it’s a rather specific, well-defined concept. But “far-right propaganda” is not just a broad category with ill-defined boundaries; it is, in our relativistic world divorced from Truth, in the eye of the beholder.

Note that the media, academia, and leftist governments today will often brand anyone right of left of the middle as “far right.” Media generally describe French National Front politician Marine Le Pen as “far right,” even though she’s a somewhat socially liberal statist whose skepticism about immigration reflects her nation’s center. Assassinated Dutch leader Pim Fortuyn, an openly homosexual, socially liberal, former sociology professor, was also regularly described as “far right” merely because he criticized Muslim culture.

Then there are the liberals who habitually impugn Fox News as “Faux News”; call President Trump, a longtime New York progressive, a “fascist”; and who believe that fascism itself is a product of the Right despite its founding father, Benito Mussolini, describing it thus: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

In reality, though, there can be a “right-wing” statist, as the political designations “left” and “right” are provisional terms whose meanings change with time and place. Note that the terms originated with the French Revolution, at which time a “rightist” was a monarchist and a “leftist” a small-r republican (I explain the terms’ natures in-depth here).

The point is that the terms’ confusing nature — and the confusion of the statists using them — combined with their Machiavellian motives, ensure that the label “far-right propaganda” will be applied liberally and tendentiously. It’s hard to think of a traditionalist media source, be it The New American,, American Thinker, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, or someone or something else that has not, at various times, been branded a purveyor of right-wing propaganda. Also note that among the 917 supposed “hate groups” on the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” are mainstream conservative organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the Pacific Justice Institute. (The SPLC itself is a propaganda group, as illustrated here.)

So the Truth is already censored with Google’s nine different blacklists, Facebook’s informal censorship and “fake newsstandards, and Twitter’s “shadowbanning.” Now the U.K. government provides a model for not just the state demonization of dissenting, politically incorrect views, but for the punishing of anyone who dare even cast his eyes upon them. It’s the high-tech, Big Brother version of banning and burning books.

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