“government”: a coercive organization that supports its activities at the expense of all those living in its territory, including those—perhaps a multitude—who have not given explicit, individual, voluntary consent to the government’s activities or even to its existence and may well object to the new state and everything it undertakes to do.
The United States verges ever closer to totalitarianism, yet at every moment the bulk of America’s people and most of its intellectuals insist that we live in a free country
With every passing day, the police, the numerous surveillance agencies, the so-called security apparatus centered in the Department of Homeland Security, the military forces, and the rest of the Praetorian Guard tighten the chains with which all of us outside the walls of the state are bound in the United States.
==Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy (Robert Higgs)
The natural progress of things [in society under a state] is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
Freedom of expression is a core European value which must be preserved. The European Court of Human Rights set out the important distinction between content that “offends, shocks or disturbs the State or any sector of the population” and content that contains genuine and serious incitement to violence and hatred. The Court has made clear that States may sanction or prevent the latter. (The line will move closer and closer to outlawing that which “disturbs the state”, if it has not already made that minor leap)
Facebook, already increasingly known for widespread censorship of controversial content, just joined Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft in agreeing to a European Commission “Code of Conduct” that’s even more Orwellian in scope than it sounds.
Under the guise of battling hate speech, illegal in the European Union, these incredibly popular online platforms have agreed not only to take down content considered to incite violence or hate, but to institute ‘re-education’ programs seemingly pulled straight from the text of 1984. According to a statement from the Commission, in addition to a policy of removing hate speech within 24 hours of it being reported:
“The IT companies will also endeavor to strengthen their ongoing partnerships with civil society organisations who will help flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct. The IT companies and the European Commission also aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives, and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.”
European Commission and IT Companies announce Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech
Brussels, 31 May 2016
The Commission together with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft (“the IT companies”) today unveil a code of conduct that includes a series of commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online in Europe.
The IT Companies support the European Commission and EU Member States in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally. They share, together with other platforms and social media companies, a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world. However, the Commission and the IT Companies recognise that the spread of illegal hate speech online not only negatively affects the groups or individuals that it targets, it also negatively impacts those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in our open societies and has a chilling effect on the democratic discourse on online platforms.
In order to prevent the spread of illegal hate speech, it is essential to ensure that relevant national laws transposing the Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia are fully enforced by Member States in the online as well as the in the offline environment. While the effective application of provisions criminalising hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, this work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring that illegal hate speech online is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. To be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated.