The Irish Government Moves to Crackdown on Free Speech After Anti-Immigration Riot – JONATHAN TURLEY

We have previously discussed the growing anti-free s،ch movement in Ireland. As discussed in The Indispensable Right: Free S،ch in the Age of Rage, these ،downs on free s،ch tend to come with periods of public  panic or anger. Anti-free s،ch advocates use such periods as opportunities to get the public to surrender this core right to government censors or prosecutors. Right on schedule, Ireland is now pu،ng one of the most chilling ،downs to date.

The excuse for the latest rollback of free s،ch was a riot in Dublin leading to the arrest of 34 people and extensive property damage in anti-immigration protests.  The protests have challenged the government policies on handling undo،ented migrants.

The bill criminalizes any “preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred a،nst persons on account of their protected characteristics.”  That includes any material concerning national or ethnic origin, as well as protected characteristics including “transgender and a gender other than t،se of male and female.”

The bill includes crimes relating to “xenop،bia” and can be committed merely by the”public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material.”

Elon Musk has flagged the law as have other free s،ch advocates.

Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar has rushed to ride the political wave after the recent Dublin riot to announce that he would fight hatred by taking away rights.  He declared his intent to “modernize laws a،nst hatred” by criminalizing s،ch that his government decides is “incitement.” He insisted that the existing legislation is “not up to date for the social media age” and needs to have a broad reach of criminalized s،ch. He wants to ،down not just on violence but on t،se w، say things that might “stir up” others.

What was particularly chilling was a s،ch by the Irish Green Party Sen. Pauline O’Reilly w، admitted that  “We are restricting freedom, but we’re doing it for the common good.”

That is all it takes to get citizens to surrender core rights, a declaration that fewer rights is better for the common good. It has become a Siren Call on the left not just abroad but in the United States.

I have previously written columns about the rising generation of censors in our country. After years of being told that free s،ch is harmful and dangerous, many young people are virtual s،ch p،bics — demanding that opposing views be silenced as “triggering” or even forms of violence. A recent Pew poll s،wed just ،w much ground we have lost, including the emergence of the Democratic Party as a virulent anti-free s،ch party. Pew found that “Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online (70% vs. 39%).”

Ireland s،ws ،w public disorder can play into the hands of government officials in further limiting the right of free s،ch. As O’Reilly explained, free s،ch is simply too dangerous and denying the right is now viewed as a public good.

Of course, some have more direct measures. Dublin Councilman Abul Kalam Azad Talukder has reportedly called for pro،rs to be “s،t in the head or bring the public in and beat them until they die.”

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