The totalitarian tendencies of the Left become more obvious by the day, as the Washington Post continues to cover itself in glory. Richard Stengel is a former editor of Time Magazine and was the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs from 2013 to 2016. In this piece, he says the First Amendment is an “outlier” and calls for “hate speech” laws that would criminalize, among other things, the burning of Qur’ans.
Stengel claims that he is a convert to authoritarianism, a former believer in the freedom of speech: “When I was a journalist, I loved Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s assertion that the Constitution and the First Amendment are not just about protecting ‘free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.’”
His conversion came as a result of his world travel. Travel is supposed to be broadening, but in Stengel’s case it was narrowing. He says that even as he went around the world defending the freedom of speech, he came to despise that freedom: “But as a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier.”
Part of his new dislike for this cardinal American freedom, the cornerstone of any free society, apparently came from his own lack of understanding of why it was so important, and inability to defend it in the face of criticism. He recounts that “even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?”
Apparently he couldn’t answer, as he now responds in the Post: “It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”
Well, then, by all means, that flaw must be mended, and our benevolent moral superiors on the Left empowered to tell us what we can say and think and what we cannot, on pain of fines and imprisonment – right, Richard?
There is much more. Read the rest here.