Sunday, March 18, 2012
Aussie government proposes unlimited speech regulation, names climate skeptics and Labor critics as targets
...Really? In a country that has no constitutional or statutory protection for speech, how are non-governmental “bodies and persons in the community” more than adequate to protect speech from a governmental body that is endowed with unlimited power to regulate speech?
The report explicitly calls for opinion to be regulated along with news (§11.64, p. 294) , and while low-readership blogs would possibly be exempted, Bolt notes that the suggested threshold for regulation would cover any blog that averaged even one reader a day, and even that would be at the complete discretion of the Council (§11.59, p. 293)....
...To an American, what is most striking about the Australian plan is the complete absence of any statement of negative rights, or freedom from restrictions on speech. Our entire concept of free speech is framed in negative terms: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” The Australians have no constitutional protection for speech, but it is still astounding to see how readily the left would overthrow this pillar of Western liberty in exchange for partisan advantage.
The same totalitarian ambitions are at work in America too. They face greater legal obstacles here, but key actors are powerfully placed. Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein wants to use the system of “notice and takedown” from copyright law to shut down “conspiracy theories.” As an example, he wants to suppress claims that:
the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.
If SOPA had passed then all of the necessary machinery would have been in place, ready to expand from copyright infringement to the suppression of conspiracy theories at the drop of a one-line rider on any bill....