NY Times: Europe Limits Free Speech, You Know

You probably thought that the hot takes from the Times regarding the El Paso shooting (because they’re in the process of memory holeing the Dayton shooter, because his obvious leftism and Democratic Party support is inconvenient) would be on gun control/banning. A discussion of limiting free speech surely wasn’t on your radar, right?

The El Paso Shooting Revived the Free Speech Debate. Europe Has Limits.

The massacre of 22 people in El Paso, an attack announced in a hate-filled manifesto about an immigrant “invasion,” has revived debate about the limits of free speech, protected by the First Amendment in the United States.

But in Europe, where history has proved that domestic threats can be as devastating to democracy as those from abroad, freedom of speech, while a constitutional right, comes with certain caveats. Restricted in scope and linked to specific threats, these limitations are based on the premise that protecting certain ideals, such as the public good or human dignity, can justify curbing what individuals are allowed to say.

Free speech is constitutionally enshrined in both Germany and France, as it is in the United States. But there is an important difference.

“The big nuance between the First Amendment and the European texts is that the European texts allow for possible limitations” on speech, said Emmanuel Pierrat, a French lawyer who specializes in publishing and free speech issues.

Freedom to express an opinion in “speech, writing and pictures” is guaranteed under Article 5 of the German Constitution, alongside freedom of the press. But the same article warns that this freedom can be limited by “general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honor.”

The only people who are bringing up limits on Speech are Democrats, but, then, they’ve been doing this for a long time, wanting to limit anything the do not like. Hence the whole “hate” push. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for; you might get it.” They could quickly find themselves on the wrong side of government censorship because someone didn’t like their speech, of even being prosecuted and/or sued.

In France, Article 10 of the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights guarantees that no one can be “disturbed on account of his opinions, even religious ones,” as long as they do not trouble public order. Article 11 calls the freedom to communicate thoughts and opinions “one of the most precious rights of man,” but adds that the law can determine cases in which that freedom is abused.

It’s not really a Right if government can arbitrarily decide to limit it. We aren’t talking about threats, slander, defamation, and similar stuff. What if criticizing government officials is limited is deemed abusive? The ability to criticize government without retaliation IS the primary point towards most of the 1st Amendment (freedom of practicing religion is the other). Restrict/limit speech, next up is the same for petitioning for redress of grievance and protesting peaceably.

Then freedom of the press. Did Aurelien Breeden and Melissa Eddy, along with the editor(s), at the NY Times consider that as they ponder how cool it is to limit speech in Europe? Because freedom of the press is limited in European nations, as well.

Social media is “reigned in”, as they go on to write, in Europe. And a big bullet point of theirs is “Boundaries are not always clear.” Which means that government can apply their whims arbitrarily. The leftists calling for speech limits should remember that this can rear up and bite them in their Rights.

In France, Mr. Pierrat said, “Freedom of expression stops where it starts to encroach upon the freedom of others.”

If this were France, people could complain about the NY Times’ speech encroaching on freedom, and have them limited or even shut down.

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One Response to “NY Times: Europe Limits Free Speech, You Know”

  1. […] It was actually a straight news piece, but, when it comes to The New York Times, straight news pieces frequently lead to OpEd columns or Editorial Board opinions. Hat tip to William Teach for pointing out the article. […]

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