A bill to stop hate propaganda criminalizes free speech

ben weingarten
Conservative Opinion

Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow
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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-TX) anti-white supremacy bill aims to “prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime.” It would apply to any situation where white supremacy ideology motivated the planning, development, and carrying out of an act that would be considered a hate crime. The controversial bill would also give the Justice Department authority to investigate and prosecute such acts, but Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten argues the proposed law is a violation of free speech.

The bill says it aims to “prevent and prosecute white supremacy-inspired hate crime and conspiracy to commit white supremacy-inspired hate crime.” 

But it never defines what white supremacy is, why the laws on the books are insufficient, or the bill is otherwise merited.

The problem is that Democrats have labelled nearly everything they disagree with as “white supremacist.” They’ve cast election integrity strengthening measures as Jim Crow 2.0, per Joe Biden. How dare you threaten to make people show an ID to vote like we do for a million other everyday tasks. They’ve cast the filibuster as a “Jim Crow relic,” per Barack Obama. They see borders as racist, so they don’t defend them. They see opposing CRT in schools – racial Marxism, which slanders whole races as bigots, and turns one student against another – as racist. So you can see how this bill could be problematic.

Now consider what it does. 

It makes it a conspiracy to engage in an undefined white supremacy inspired hate crime if one person engages in the “planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of” such a crime, and another person – regardless of their relationship to the first one, quote: publishe[s] material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on “replacement theory”, or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-white person or group, and such published material—

…was published on a social media platform…

…could…motivate actions by a person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired hate crime or by a person who is susceptible to being encouraged to engage in actions relating to a white supremacy inspired hate crime; and

…was read, heard, or viewed by a person who engaged in the planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of a white supremacy inspired hate crime.

So, what does all that mean? So if a person says anything on social media that Sheila Jackson Lee defines as “white supremacist” or “hate speech” – by the way, a category of speech that does not exist under the First Amendment – and some nut cites it in a deranged manifesto calling for violence, it would seem that person could be charged as a co-conspirator in a white supremacist inspired hate crime.

The subjectivity at play here is the point. Don’t dare say anything that might not comport with progressive ideology, because it could be construed as bigoted, someone might read it, and if they plan or do something horrible that can in any way tied back to one’s Wrongthink, the Wrongthinker is going to jail. 

This bill also calls on the DOJ to “investigate, intercede, and undertake other actions…necessary and appropriate to interdict, mitigate or prevent such action from culminating in violent activity.” 

In short, Congresswoman Lee’s bill creates thought crimes under guise of hate crimes, and calls on the DOJ to police them. 

They want you to shut up, and this bill is a way to chill you into silence.

Remember, the speech policing’s already happening. Our security state has cast all manner of perfectly legitimate views on contentious issues as presenting danger to the homeland – and sought to argue those views are rooted in bigotry. It has cast that bigotry-related threat as the gravest of all, and operated accordingly.

That Congresswoman Lee’s bill has garnered so little coverage reveals just how normalized the abnormal and un-American censorship regime has become.

To our betters, America’s filled with racist yahoos – that is, anyone who disagrees with them – and they’re to be targeted accordingly. 

National security is used as an excuse to run roughshod over free speech.

We don’t tolerate genuine bigotry in this country – which is mercifully limited in a place as big and diverse as ours – nor should we let our leaders slander their critics as bigots and security threats, cheapening genuine claims of bigotry, and with it, undermining the rights people of all colors must be able to enjoy, if we’re to remain at all free.

Amid the rush of rules passed and committees established at the start of the new House, you might’ve missed the introduction of one of the more chilling bills in recent memory.

That the legislation garnered little coverage outside of conservative media – despite its First Amendment-eviscerating content – ought to concern us all.

And what’s more, though this bill, one of the Democrat Minority’s first acts mind you – won’t make it to the House floor – the perverse theory behind it and practices it would dictate, already reign via our literal speech police in the American security state.

The bill is Texas Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s “Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023.” 

That name is meant to give it a patina of righteousness.

It’s also meant to put on the defensive anyone who might read the legislation skeptical of the idea it was drafted in good faith, considering the radically leftist representative behind it — because who could be against fighting white supremacists?

That’s how little the likes of the Congresswoman think of Americans, that we can’t or won’t bother to read the text and consider its implications. We did so you don’t have to.

The bill says it aims to “prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime and conspiracy to commit white supremacy inspired hate crime.” 

But it never defines what white supremacy is, why the laws on the books are insufficient, or the bill is otherwise merited.

The problem is that Democrats have labelled nearly everything they disagree with as “white supremacist.” They’ve cast election integrity strengthening measures as Jim Crow 2.0, per Joe Biden. How dare you threaten to make people show an ID to vote like we do for a million other everyday tasks. They’ve cast the filibuster as a “Jim Crow relic,” per Barack Obama. They see borders as racist, so they don’t defend them. They see opposing CRT in schools – racial Marxism, which slanders whole races as bigots, and turns one student against another – as racist. So you can see how this bill could be problematic.

Now consider what it does. 

It makes it a conspiracy to engage in an undefined white supremacy inspired hate crime if one person engages in the “planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of” such a crime, and another person – regardless of their relationship to the first one, quote: publishe[s] material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on “replacement theory”, or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group, and such published material—

…was published on a social media platform…

…could…motivate actions by a person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired hate crime or by a person who is susceptible to being encouraged to engage in actions relating to a white supremacy inspired hate crime; and

…was read, heard, or viewed by a person who engaged in the planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of a white supremacy inspired hate crime.

So if a person says anything on social media that Sheila Jackson Lee defines as “white supremacist” or “hate speech” – by the way, a category of speech that does not exist under the First Amendment – and some nut cites it in a deranged manifesto calling for violence, it would seem that person could be charged as a co-conspirator in a white supremacist inspired hate crime.

The subjectivity at play here is the point. Don’t dare say anything that might not comport with progressive ideology, because it could be construed as bigoted, someone might read it, and if they plan or do something horrible that can in any way tied back to one’s Wrongthink, the Wrongthinker is going to jail. 

This bill also calls on the DOJ to “investigate, intercede, and undertake other actions…necessary and appropriate to interdict, mitigate or prevent such action from culminating in violent activity.” 

In short, Congresswoman Lee’s bill creates thought crimes under guise of hate crimes, and calls on the DOJ to police them. 

They want you to shut up, and this bill is a way to chill you into silence.

Remember, the speech policing’s already happening. Our security state has cast all manner of perfectly legitimate views on contentious issues as presenting danger to the homeland – and sought to argue those views are rooted in bigotry. It has cast that bigotry-related threat as the gravest of all, and operated accordingly.

That Congresswoman Lee’s bill has garnered so little coverage reveals just how normalized the abnormal and un-American censorship regime has become.

To our betters, America’s filled with racist yahoos – that is, anyone who disagrees with them – and they’re to be targeted accordingly. 

National security is used as an excuse to run roughshod over free speech.

We don’t tolerate genuine bigotry in this country – which is mercifully limited in a place as big and diverse as ours – nor should we let our leaders slander their critics as bigots and security threats, cheapening genuine claims of bigotry, and with it, undermining the rights people of all colors must be able to enjoy, if we’re to remain at all free.


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