Does she know something we don’t know? Vera Jourova, who holds the fanciful title of vice president of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, said Tuesday at a World Economic Forum (WEF) panel that “soon” the United States will have “illegal hate speech laws.” Certainly the Left is making a hard push for such laws, but such initiatives always run into a buzzsaw known as the First Amendment. Does Vera Jourova have some insider knowledge about how the Left plans to eliminate that obstacle?
The Daily Caller reported Tuesday that Jourova “participated in Tuesday’s WEF panel on ‘the clear and present danger of disinformation,’ alongside former CNN Host Brian Stelter, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and media executive Jeanne Bourgault.”
Ah yes, “disinformation.” This has become the authoritarian Left’s favored euphemism for its efforts to stamp out dissent and seal up the public discourse so that only its viewpoint can ever be heard. These totalitarian efforts are just attempts to combat “disinformation,” you see, so that the public doesn’t get confused by fake news and can have free and unfettered access to the limpid and unvarnished truth. We are still enduring the administration that tried to institute a “Disinformation Governance Board,” only to back down in the face of a public outcry, but be assured they will try again to destroy the freedom of speech.
It’s a cannily chosen word. Nobody is going to come out in favor of the dissemination of “disinformation.” But before you nod enthusiastically and say yes, you want benign, kindhearted, and scrupulously impartial government officials to protect you from this sinister “disinformation,” remember that 51 top U.S. intelligence agency officials declared that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation, even while at least one of them (and probably more as well) knew that it was real. The “disinformation” of two years ago is now accepted everywhere as accurate; if the instruments for the suppression of “disinformation” that the Left wants to impose today had been in place when the Hunter laptop story broke, we would never have learned the truth about it.
Jourova said (although the video has intriguingly been made private since the Daily Caller’s story broke): “For hate speech, well, we need the people who understand the language and the case law in the country, because what qualifies as, as hate speech, as illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the U.S.,” and she laughed at the thought of totalitarianism descending upon the Land of the Free, “I think that, we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law, uh, we, uh, we need the platforms to simply work with the language and identify such cases. The AI [artificial intelligence] would be too dangerous.”
European Commission VP Věra Jourová at the WEF:
"Illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the U.S. I think that we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law." pic.twitter.com/iLR1MePTYT
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) January 17, 2023
Dangerous? Why? Townhall writer Scott Morefield observed: “The conclusion that AI would be ‘too dangerous’ is telling. To the ‘hate speech’ totalitarians, ‘hate speech’ isn’t simply bad names or incitement to violence, which AI can easily be trained not to do, but stating inconvenient facts, which AI would NOT so easily be trained to do.”
The Caller explains that “the panel was addressing the ways for the public, regulators and social media companies to tackle ‘disinformation’ as ‘information pollution’ spreads at an ‘unprecedented speed and scale,’ the WEF website says. It’s unclear how the panel defines ‘disinformation’ online and how it measures the spread of perceived disinformation.” Oh, it’s clear enough. For the WEF and totalitarians such as Vera Jourova, “disinformation” is what dissents from the Leftist line on any given issue. That’s all. Accuracy and truth don’t matter; only the Left’s narrative matters.
Most disquieting about this whole disquieting episode was the fact that Brian Stelter, who not long ago was a CNN talking head and is supposed to be a premier American journalist, didn’t speak up in defense of the freedom of speech and against the whole idea of criminalizing “hate speech.” Stelter should have said that there is no objectively identifiable “hate speech,” and the term is used to stigmatize and marginalize speech that those in power want silenced. Arthur Sulzberger doesn’t seem to have said anything to this effect, either, and even worse, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Of Course) dragged out the old chestnut about how it’s illegal to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. The Caller pointed out that “Moulton’s statement distinguishing forms of protected speech is misleading, according to non-partisan free speech group FIRE.”
There is no doubt that Leftists have taken aim at the freedom of speech and are determined to destroy it. Whether they succeed or not will depend on whether patriots understand in time what is at stake and stand for the freedom of speech before it’s too late. Vera Jourova may indeed have insider information about the Left’s next attempts to destroy or render meaningless the First Amendment; Americans should be awake, aware, watchful, and prepared.