The Swedish establishment is up in arms. Yes, again. It must be any day ending in “y”. What’s the outrage du jour in Sweden right now? Well, in response to the recent fatal stabbings by a pair of migrants in an IKEA store, the “xenophobic” alternative media websites Fria Tider, News Today, and Avpixlat (these sites are roughly comparable to the Daily Mail) have become increasingly popular – so popular, in fact, that Sweden’s Press Ombudsman has taken notice. Since the articles from these “xenophobic” websites have been shared on social media more than articles by “respectable” press outlets, the Swedish left is demanding a strong government crackdown on freedom of the press in order to stop the impressionable public from getting any wrong ideas.
The Press Ombudsman Ola Sigvardsson is concerned that the Swedes are turning to sites run by political motives rather than journalistic ambitions.
Shock and horror! The masses are revolting!
Oh, but that’s not all. The Press Ombudsman went on to say…
Freedom of the press is not a given right
A consequence of hate speech and propaganda circulating on the internet is that the freedom of speech and press is jeopardized for everyone
-Freedom of speech and press is something we can’t take for granted. Politicians give us the right to express ourselves but that requires us to do it in a responsible manner. If we don’t perhaps the freedom will be restricted, says Ola Sigvardsson.
After the double homicide in Västeros the media reported which country the suspects were from. According to the rules of press ethics journalists are supposed to be careful about such information to respect the integrity of the individuals.
– In that case it was such a serious event that it was reasonable to publish that many details, for example that the two suspects were refugees living in an asylum facility. But the media are supposed to be careful about reporting the ethnic and religious background. One can be worried that there might be a shift so that this kind of information gets published even when they’re not relevant, says Ola Sigvardsson.
So, there you have it, plebs. Your rulers grant you freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean you can use it to disagree with them. Keep acting up and those rights that we generously give you just might have to be taken away, capisce?
It’s important to remember that, in postmodernist “human rights” discourse, “free speech” is a category of speech. “Free speech” is speech that’s approved by the government, while anything else is “hate speech”. The government decides which speech is “free speech” and which speech is “hate speech” – thus, “free speech” is state-licensed speech. Practically every single man, woman, and child in Europe wholeheartedly agrees that “hate speech is not free speech”. Europeans learn this in school, and it’s just considered to be common sense there – something that everyone agrees with. Anyone who doesn’t agree with it will be aggressively demonized as a hateful, racist, bigoted, fascist Nazi and subsequently cast away from society. Yes, you will literally lose your job in Europe if you say that “hate speech” shouldn’t be a crime, and you’ll lose all of your friends too. I’m not exaggerating here. To the average European, saying that you think “hate speech” shouldn’t be a crime is on par with saying that you eat babies and stomp on puppies.
For a moment, let’s examine the leftist push for press regulation in other countries. Americans may not be aware of this, but not only is the US one of the only countries in the world where “hate speech” is completely legal, but it’s also one of the only countries in the world where press outlets and news outlets are not legally required to be “balanced” and “ethical”. Needless to say, the already-existing press regulations in the rest of the world still aren’t good enough for the modern “progressive” left. In the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, leftists have made several large pushes to institute a system of total government licensing of the press. The UK, Australia, and New Zealand already have strict laws requiring all news outlets to be “balanced” and so forth, but that’s not good enough for the “progressives” in those countries – they want total government control of the press (ironically, they want the government to have total control of the press while simultaneously believing that the government is controlled by Rupert Murdoch). In the UK, the proposed Leveson Inquiry – pushed heavily by outlets like The Guardian along with “human rights” and “civil liberties” groups – would set up a system where all press outlets would have to be licensed by the government, and anything that isn’t “serious journalism” approved by the state would be banned. In Australia, the proposed Finkelstein Inquiry would take it even further – not only would press outlets have to be licensed, but so would blogs and websites (the mandatory blog registration proposed by Australia’s Labor and Greens parties was even stricter than the mandatory blog registration currently found in Russia).
Around the same time, Australian leftists came very close to passing something called the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, which would make it a criminal offense to “offend” or “insult” anyone for any reason (including for “political opinion”) – and it declared that people would be automatically guilty unless they could prove their innocence (important note: this is considered “center-left” in Australia, and the Australian Greens actually stated that this proposed law “didn’t go far enough”). Since this proposed law made it illegal to offend people based on “political opinion” (it also would have outlawed any expression of religious belief if someone were “offended” by it), the law would have effectively made it a crime to criticize the government – which, at the time, was controlled by Julia Gillard and other left-wingers. The Australian left wanted to shut down any press outlet that painted then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a negative light – they wanted a total government ban of all right-wing “hate media”, from Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids to any right-leaning blogs (or any blogs that criticized Gillard). Those very same leftists are, of course, now up in arms because current right-wing Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticized (not tried to ban, but merely criticized) the taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for having a very overt left-wing bias (the ABC makes MSNBC look like Rush Limbaugh by comparison). According to Australia’s leftists, Tony Abbott’s criticism of the ABC is a very severe attack on “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press”.
Following the examples of the UK and Australia, leftists in New Zealand made a similar push for state control and licensing of the press, citing the need to crack down on tabloids, “gutter journalism”, “biased” reporting, and right-wing “hate media” outlets which “manipulate public opinion against the common good”. Press regulation has become increasingly popular in Western countries around the world, and it’s the left that has pushed the most heavily for it – in particular, left-leaning “journalists” like those in The Guardian have been the leading cheerleaders of government press licensing.
The press naturally includes the Internet. Indeed, when they were in power, Australia’s leftists also tried to set up a mandatory national Internet filter blocking all “hate sites” and other “objectionable” material on the Internet. This failed miserably due to technological incompetence and was eventually abandoned, but the idea definitely hasn’t died, and Internet filtering is becoming increasingly popular in countries like France and the UK, as the elites seek to prevent the masses from accessing anything online which might lead to crimethink.
British iconoclast and self-proclaimed Marxist Brendan O’Neill has very accurately and succinctly summed up these left-wing pushes for press regulation in his many terrific articles on the subject. In a Telegraph article asking why today’s leftists so vigorously oppose press freedom when yesterday’s leftists like Karl Marx and George Orwell eagerly championed a free press, O’Neill completely nails it with this closing paragraph:
The truth is that it isn’t the press that has changed; it’s the Left. Fundamentally, the Left today, unlike the radicals of the past, has no faith whatsoever in ordinary people, in humanity itself, and thus it constantly turns to the state and asks it to fix the alleged problems blighting society or giving Leftists a headache. The reason modern Leftists want state interference in the press is because they don’t trust the people, the rabble, the little folk, to be able to read and see things and rationally make up their minds about what is good and bad, right and wrong. In the words of Brian Cathcart, “public interest journalism” is “obviously not the same thing as what interests the public… [because] that would legitimise all kinds of gratuitous cruelty and dishonesty, reviving the morality that permitted bear-baiting and public executions”. That is what modern Leftists think of the masses – that they’re cruel, dishonest, immoral, violent, and apparently these tendencies must be tamed by depriving the oiks of their daily fix of tabloid titillation. This is the true story behind the modern Left’s enthusiasm for more state interference in the world of ideas and news: the Left once believed in people; now it despises them.
As usual, Brendan couldn’t possibly be more correct. Whether they’re in Sweden, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else, sanctimonious elitists and bourgeoisie champagne socialists are absolutely terrified of the impact that an unregulated press – and, by extension, unregulated speech – will have on the filthy commoners and unwashed masses. After all, you DO know where freedom of speech leads to, right? Yep, that’s right – Nazi Germany, where speech was completely unfettered and millions of people died as a result of said freedom of speech.
Expect a lot more demands for press regulation and Internet regulation from the “human rights” lobby in Europe and elsewhere. A free flow of information like that provided by the World Wide Web is nothing short of an absolute nightmare for them. It allows the plebeian masses that they despise to access the truth and make up their own minds about things, and that simply cannot be allowed.