By Donald Jeffries
Recent legislation passed by the Michigan House of Representatives opens the door for those easily offended to report if they “feel threatened,” while those “threatening” them with “hate speech” can be prosecuted. The punishment for such a “crime” could be five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. This ought to terrify every American, but millions are likely to support it.
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The fortunate violators of “hate speech” under the Michigan law can receive a sentence of “community service” that will “enhance the offender’s understanding of the impact of the offense upon the victim and wider community.”
The bill (H.B.4474) is a textbook case of identity politics destroying the notion of liberty this nation was founded on. It defines “intimidation” as “willful course of conduct, involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.” This fits in perfectly with the politicization of the courts, where emotion now rules instead of reason.
As the Washington Examiner noted:
Michigan’s new bill, which prosecutes based on someone’s subjective feelings, or even a lie about his or her subjective feelings, could land somebody jail time and ruin a life. “Hate speech” accusations are designed with one outcome in mind: censorship.
“Hate speech” is usually not hateful speech. What often constitutes “hate speech” is any language that opposes popular narrative. This label is causing damage to our nation. We find frequent examples of its effects in how it muffles free speech on college campuses.
Alex Morey of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression described the “victim mentality” that many college students in particular have adopted, which causes them to support the censorship of those they disagree with politically. A 2022 Knight Foundation study found that the percentage of college students who felt their right to free speech was protected had dropped from 73% in 2016 to 47% in 2021. The study concluded that “key events shaping the past two years, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the racial justice movement and the 2020 election, have only added deeper dimensions to the dialogue around free speech playing out on campus and in society at large.”
This disturbing trend is not only gaining traction in America, but elsewhere around the world. “Far-right” podcaster Kristofer Kearney of Liverpool, England, who is affiliated with a nationalist group called Patriotic Alternative, was recently convicted of “disseminating terrorist publications.” He was sentenced to over four years in prison. Among his “crimes” were stating online that Adolf Hitler “did nothing wrong” and two Telegram posts from 2021 in which he shared the manifestos of the alleged Christchurch mosque shooter and Anders Breivik, who is said to have killed 77 people in Norway. He was also accused of sharing or possessing 89 “extreme right-wing documents” on his computer.
The prosecution alleged that he encouraged violence to stop “white genocide.” In this country, it is certainly plausible that those affiliated with this newspaper could be slandered as “terrorists” under such “woke” authoritarian madness. Just as outrageously, British podcaster James Allchurch was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars for “distributing racist and anti-Semitic content.” Irish lawmakers have passed a similar “hate speech” law.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill in April to criminalize “perpetrators of anti-Semitic incidents.” Making it even more suspicious, he signed it while he was in Israel. Among the provisions of the bill is the prohibition of “intentionally dumping litter onto private property for the purpose of intimidating or threatening the owner, resident, or invitee of such property” and “willfully and maliciously harassing, threatening, or intimidating another person based on the person’s wearing or displaying of any indicia relating to any religious or ethnic heritage.”
Like “racism,” “anti-Semitism” is a subjective term, and any allegations of it are based on emotion. The bill was described, glowingly, as combating “hate speech” in fawning mainstream media coverage.
The legislation carries up to a five-year prison sentence for passing out “offensive” flyers or pamphlets. Under this law, anyone who distributes “any material for the purpose of intimidating or threatening the owner” could be convicted of a felony “hate crime.” Terms like “hate” and “intimidation” are entirely subjective, and in the eye of the beholder.
“Hate speech” is an Orwellian term identical to thought crime. It is entirely inconsistent with the First Amendment and any concept of free speech. In 2019, DeSantis went to Israel to sign a similar bill, which included a provision to require schools to define certain criticisms of Israel as “anti-Semitic.”
On June 21, H.B.4474 was referred to Michigan’s Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety. If approved by the state Senate, it will be sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. She is expected to sign it.
Donald Jeffries is a highly respected author and researcher whose work on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations and other high crimes of the Deep State has been read by millions of people across the world. Jeffries is also the author of three books currently being sold by AFP Bookstore.