Ve have vays of making you not talk!

I’ve written before about governments outsourcing political censorship to social media companies, and also about Germany’s suppression of free speech. Today I read this:

A German satirical magazine’s Twitter account was blocked after it parodied anti-Muslim comments, the publication said on Wednesday, in what the national journalists association said showed the downside of a new law against online hate speech.

Titanic magazine was mocking Beatrix von Storch, a member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who accused police of trying “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men” by putting out a tweet in Arabic.

Twitter briefly suspended her account and prosecutors are examining if her comments amount to incitement to hatred.

So not only is the German government forcing social media companies to block their political opponents under the guise of counteracting online “hate speech”, the people doing the blocking are too dim to spot a parody account. How the Germans can’t see that such a law, in the hands of the wrong party, could be devastating is a mystery. I can only conclude such occurrences have no precedent in their country from which they could draw obvious lessons.

Titanic said on Wednesday its Twitter account had been blocked over the message, which it assumed was a result of a law that came into full force on Jan. 1 that can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) on social media sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly.

A lot of people will rightly ask who defines hate speech. What they should be asking is how easy is it to change that definition.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are scrambling to adapt to the law, and its implementation is being closely watched after warnings that the threat of fines could prompt websites to block more content than necessary.

This is a feature, not a bug. The German government and those who would emulate them want the social media companies to self-censor everything that doesn’t explicitly conform to progressive standards of right-think. That way they can hold their hands up, adopt an innocent face, and say “We never told them to censor X, Y, Z”.

Merkel’s conservatives accused the AfD of undermining the post-war democratic consensus in Germany.

By winning so much support at the ballot box that she stands to lose her job?

“The racism that AfD lawmakers have been tweeting for days is intentionally violating, with criminal intent, the basic consensus which democrats have built up since 1949 despite all disagreements,” Armin Laschet, party deputy of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, tweeted.

There ought to be a law against it! Well, there is now. It’s ironic that a German politician coming out with this believes citing war-era precedents is an argument in his favour.


19 thoughts on “Ve have vays of making you not talk!

  1. “Twitter briefly suspended her account and prosecutors are examining if her comments amount to incitement to hatred.”

    Prosecutors should examine Muslims and whether their actions and behaviours make other people understandably angry.

    Interesting belief that so-called consensus reached in 1949 cannot be questioned or changed – apparently progressives and conservatives have to be in power forever or else Germans will return to Nazi state.

  2. Free speech is, of course, the answer. Apart from yelling ‘fire’ in a theatre, I think there should be NO limits on what opinions people can offer up. Free speech must mean the right to offend or annoy. Or insult. Or mock.
    Of course the concept of truly free speech is anathema to our bien pensant overlords. The proles might say what they think. Heaven forbid!

  3. One should not expect Germans to be all that familiar with different types of irony and humour.

  4. Continentals (and quite a few Brits) don’t understand that freedom is the same thing as absence of government, or very limited government. In the Anglosphere freedom is a political concept. Quite possibly also in Eastern Europe, where memories of Communist oppression are still fresh (more fresh than the memories of the Stuarts/King George III).

    Rather, it is something more akin to empowering individuals to be able to do as much of what they want as possible. Negative rights are part of this, but positive rights are as big a part. Unfortunately these positive rights now stretch to ‘feeling safe’.

  5. There’s really only one country with free speech still extant in its legislation.

    For a giggle, go to Stephen Crower’s YouTube channel and watch his discussions with passers by on the subject;

    His others in the “Change my mind” series are even more illuminating.

  6. “Unfortunately these positive rights now stretch to ‘feeling safe’.”

    Unless you are a hetero white male in which case it’s open season, all year round.

  7. ” Apart from yelling ‘fire’ in a theatre”
    Unless, of course, the theatre is in fact on fire.

  8. “such a law, in the hands of the wrong party”

    Oh it’s already in the hands of the wrong party…

  9. There’s really only one country with free speech still extant in its legislation.

    I’ll nitpick that. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of expression. It does contain the “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified” clause, but that merely explicitly states what’s already true in the US. There are all kinds of limits on what you can say in the US that are not enjoined by the First Amendment.

    It’s not de jure but de facto that matters; in Canada no one gives a rat’s ass what the Charter says, whereas in the US there is generally more respect for the First Amendment.

  10. In somewhat related news

    The recent influx of mostly young, male migrants into Germany has led to an increase in violent crime in the country, according to a government-funded study published Wednesday.

    The study used figures from the northern state of Lower Saxony to examine the impact of refugee arrivals on crime in 2015 and 2016, a period when the number of violent crimes reported increased by 10.4 percent.

    The authors concluded that 92 percent of the additional crimes recorded could be attributed to the increase in refugee numbers.

    It noted that the demographic composition of the refugee population is a major factor. Young males — whether Germans or migrants — are generally more likely to commit crimes, but also more likely to become victims of violence.

    You have to love the weaselling in the last para of my quote…. I have no doubt that quoting selectively from this could count as hate speech if the wrong snowflake happened to read it

  11. Meanwhile that stupid site Identity Dixie requires a phone verified Twitter account before they let you post comments.

  12. Is there such a thing as German female politician that doesn’t look like a bloke and might actually rear children?

  13. Thanks Francis, I read your blog and it was a very good and encouraging point of view. I misspent a lot of my youth fantasizing about hornbag German birds.

    The chick in the pic with the kids still looked a bit androgynous for my liking, I prefer the blond, buxom bierkeller types.

    And as for the AfD, sadly I think the most they will ever amount to is token opposition. Kind of like those allowed eurosceptics that they keep and allow to speak now and again to give an illusion of democracy or whatever.

    Oh and I see that Beatrix von Storch is a descendant of Adolf Hitler and has some good Scottish blood as well, so my assessment of her has upped a bit from my initial lack of immediate physical attraction point of view.

    I would have put this post on your blog but wasn’t too sure if it would accept fake email addresses to register!

  14. Bardon, Beatrix von Storch is not a descendent of Hitler, but her grandfather on her mother’s side was Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, who served as finance minister under Adolf Hitler and was the last chief of government (as Leading Minister) of the Third Reich (from Wikipedia)

  15. I kind of new that and was just sending some traffic Francis way, by the way Luz coined the term “Iron Curtain”.

    Anyway she is undoubtedly of very good stock.

  16. I think we need visibility. You can scream, but not always anonymously.

    I want to be able to call you or visit you at some level on what you say.

    If that were an option for facebook, I would opt in.

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