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2013: The Death of Free Speech

A few roadblocks still remain on the road to peace. Some radio hosts object, but local stations drop their programs for fear of losing their advertisers and FCC licenses. A teary-eyed House Minority Leader John Boehner says at a press conference: “Look, I agree with the president that the Muhammad book is reprehensible and disgusting, and I don’t condone hate speech in any way, shape, or form, but I am concerned about the First Amendment implications of this new bill.” After a firestorm in the press, however, charging that Boehner and the Republicans favor hate speech and are sowing division among people, Boehner backs down and agrees to support the bill. A Supreme Court challenge is quickly defeated when Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Sunstein lead a 6-3 majority vote in favor of the proposition that “hate speech” is not entitled to First Amendment protections and can lawfully be subject to restrictions.

The change is immediate. Books critical of Islam and Muhammad disappear from the shelves. Websites tracking jihad terror activity are shut down, and, after vowing to continue to call attention to Islamization and the spread of Sharia in the West, a few bloggers are quietly imprisoned. The mainstream media is unperturbed – these people were, after all, purveyors of “hate speech.”

But when Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli is taken into custody over a story reporting on new statements calling for jihad by the Taliban’s Mullah Omar, Post publisher Katharine Weymouth is outraged. “The story,” she writes in a front-page Post editorial, “was merely reporting on Mullah Omar’s words. If there was any incitement to hatred, it was on the part of Omar, not the Post.” White House press secretary Jay Carney, however, explains: “The president feels that this kind of reporting can tend to stigmatize and increase suspicion of the Muslim community in the United States. The Post, and the rest of the media, has to learn to be more inclusive.”

The media quickly learns to abide by the new rules. Jihad terror attacks in Thailand, Nigeria, and Chechnya go unreported in the U.S., or are noted in carefully circumspect terms in news articles that speak in warmly positive terms about Islam and Muslims and explain that their struggle against non-Muslim oppression is justified in each particular case. Muslim groups in the U.S. begin to demand restrictions on women’s rights, calling for women to cover their heads in public as a gesture of modesty and defending those who brutalize women who venture out with heads uncovered as merely overzealous for a return to much-needed moral standards. When feminists complain, they are reminded that some of their leading lights, such as Naomi Wolf, have defended the hijab and denounced opposition to it as "Islamophobic." On the grounds that they're promoting "Islamophobia," feminists who speak out against the forced head coverings and brutalization are swiftly arrested and prosecuted.

Other Sharia demands follow. Pork and alcohol products disappear from grocery shelves. New laws are enacted that restrict the movements, educational opportunities, and employment opportunities of women. All the new laws are sold as preventing hatred against Muslims. No one dares speak out.

Of course, this is a hysterical, nightmare scenario. It could never, ever happen in the United States. We will never enact hate speech laws, and if we did, they would never be abused in this way. Right?


Thumbnail image courtesy shutterstock / Mayovskyy Andrew