New York Governor Invokes Joe Biden in Troubling Justification for Going After Free Speech – Opinion

It’s a very troubling thing when our supposed leaders don’t understand the First Amendment, one of the cornerstones of our Constitution and our society.

Joe Biden makes a lot of mistakes. I don’t know how many times he has given his “You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” speech. But it’s a lot. It’s used by him to justify limiting speech, and/or curbing Second Amendment Rights.

This is what I have already said about the topic:

Just before they threaten to infringe upon your rights, this is exactly what government politicians will say. Many people use the expression “Yelling fire in an crowded theatre” in order to control speech. However, they do not understand what context it is being used in. The phrase was used in non-binding decree in a case, which was later overturned. It wasn’t binding. So when people use it, it reveals they’re not aware of the law.

The Atlantic

As Rottman wrote, for this reason, it’s “worse than useless in defining the boundaries of constitutional speech. When used metaphorically, it can be deployed against any unpopular speech.” Worse, its advocates are tacitly endorsing one of the broadest censorship decisions ever brought down by the Court. It is quite simply, as Ken White calls it, “the most famous and pervasive lazy cheat in American dialogue about free speech.”

The Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul was there to discuss the aftermath of the Buffalo shooting. Kathy Hochul also went there, talking in the press conference not so much about the shooting itself but about how they needed to pressure social media to go after “hate speech.” Then she went on “Meet the Press” and doubled down on her lack of understanding of the First Amendment.

“So let’s just be real honest about the role of elected leaders,” Hochul declared. “Yeah, I’ll protect the First Amendment any day of the week. But you don’t protect hate speech. You don’t protect incendiary speech. You’re not allowed to scream “fire” in a crowded theater. There are limitations on speech.”

Both Biden and Hochul have law degrees and don’t seem to have that basic understanding of the law. It should worry us all that their first reaction to numerous issues seems to have been how to curtail speech rights. To protect incendiary expression, which some people might not like or find offensive, the First Amendment was created. That’s the very purpose of the Amendment.

Yes, it is important that the government considers direct threats and imminent lawless actions. It seems that they often miss the chance to prevent murderers from happening. But there’s a difference between criminal threats and speech that may be detestable but not criminal, which is protected by the First Amendment however we might condemn it or dislike it. Who gets to define what is “hate speech” and what happens when social media starts trying to police speech? We now get to the question of private companies having the ability to set their own rules, which is something they can certainly do. We are now in dangerous territory when we get into government pressure and dictates. We’ve already seen how that doesn’t end well on Twitter and seems to have become “Go after the speech that doesn’t fit the political narrative we want to push” and that results in interference in the election, with things like the Hunter Biden laptop story being suppressed. Things like the Disinformation Governance Board have already been created by this slippery slope.

But it’s incredibly concerning when we have leaders in power that don’t seem to have a basic understanding of the rights that they’ve supposedly sworn to uphold.

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