A recent Al Jazeera article published March 30, 2017 cited concerns by United Nations (UN) human rights investigators over recent bills passed by Republican-governed states supposedly limiting free speech by handing down laws to control protests from turning violent. Just to be clear, I am one of the biggest advocates of free speech but this “concern” for the UN just goes to show of the complete lack of understanding and utter hypocrisy on their part. These bills the UN cites are benign measures to enforce law and order and have no provisions that shut down anyone’s right to speak.
Let’s look at some of the ways the left has shut down free speech. What is especially interesting about this is that there was never any statement or concern by the UN on the sometimes militant ways some leftist protesters shut down others’ freedom of speech when it did not fit their agenda.
How about this one: A student government official, Rohini Sethi, at the University of Houston posted #AllLivesMatter on her Facebook. The student body president suspended Sethi from her position, forced her to attend a diversity workshop and required her to attend three cultural events a month because she exercised her First Amendment rights. Just because Sethi has a different opinion than the mainstream, this doesn’t mean she should be ostracized and her social life destroyed for it. Regardless of whether or not I agree with her, the student body witch-hunted Sethi. Where was the UN’s concern for her?
Let’s try another: The same week Sethi was socially ostracized for her statement, Ben Shapiro was barred from speaking at DePaul University because the administration was afraid there would be protests from left-leaning campus organizations last November. The most recent example is the highly publicized violent outbursts by protestors at UC Berkeley when Milo Yiannopoulos was set to speak at a College Republicans event in early February.
I have a piece of advice: If you don’t like what a speaker has to say, don’t go the event. But if someone does want to go, do not impose your will on them simply because you think their speech is bigoted or not inclusive enough. And where was the UN during this truly fascist suppression of free speech? Radio silence from Geneva.
Now, let’s take a look at a couple of the bills the UN calls out in particular, a bill in Missouri that criminalizes obstructing traffic and a Minnesota bill that protects emergency personnel during a riot. Keep in mind, these are Republican-governed states.
House Bill 826 in Missouri makes it a Class E felony for multiple violations of obstructing traffic on a freeway. How can this be limiting free speech when all the State of Missouri wants is for protesters not to block traffic which, may I remind them, is a risk to the protesters’ personal safety as well? Tell me again how this disrupts the First Amendment, when the First Amendment does not give you the right to block traffic. If the Missouri legislature, and law enforcement included, is shamed for or fails to deter unlawful protest, they fail in their duty to protect the broader, law-abiding public. There are plenty of other ways to speak your mind without putting yours and several hundred other motorists’ lives at risk.
Equally amazing is the anger over Minnesota’s House Bill 34 to protect first responders when protesters get violent. I find it hard to believe that the UN even considered this to be suppressing free speech. The State of Minnesota is trying to make obstructing “the legal process, arrest, emergency response, or firefighting” a felony. Just like with Missouri’s bill, there is nothing in this bill either that says someone cannot go out and speak their mind. It’s just saying you are not allowed to inhibit emergency services from doing their job when protesters angry at Trump or some microaggression decide to take their anger out on a local business.
The UN has falsely raised alarm over bills that are simply trying to control law and order and make sure protesters advocate for their cause peacefully and without harm to others, saying nothing about rescinding your right to free speech. Forget the fact that leftists here in the United States have suppressed other people’s rights to voice their opinion. Where was the UN outrage over that? The UN has demonstrated their ignorance and their opposition to ensuring law and order and protecting individuals of all nations’ right to speak, something which they are supposed to represent.