By Allan Wall

Freedom of speech is under attack in our country

Much of this is driven by the so-called “politically correct” hysteria which is sweeping our nation.

We find a recent eruption of this mentality in San Antonio, Texas, the city of the Alamo.

According to an article on News 4 San Antonio, “City Council unanimously passed a resolution that denounces the use of terms like ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung Fu Virus’ as San Antonio continues to fight against the spread of COVID-19.”

So the City Council of a major American city “denounces” calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” even though the virus came from China.

The article goes on to report that “The resolution condemns any hate speech, violent action and the ‘spread of misinformation related to COVID-19.’ ”

Notice how the concepts of “hate speech” (defined by whom?) is placed next to “violent action”.

Any sort of “violent action” is already covered by laws against assault and battery, vandalism  and murder.  Why lump “violent action” in with “hate speech”?

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg urged the council members to vote for this resolution, to which they obediently responded by voting 11 to 0 to  approve it.

Last year, the same mayor campaigned to get a Chick-fil-A restaurant kicked out of a contract at San Antonio’s airport. Thankfully, Nirenberg wasn’t successful, but it shows where his heart is. (For my previous articles on the ongoing Chick-fil-A imbroglio, click here, here and here.

By following a link on the previously-linked News 4 San Antonio article, you can see the actual resolution. Here are a few gems from that:

“WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial, religious or ethnic one, and the deliberate use of terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Kung Fu virus’ to describe COVID-19 only encourages hate crimes and incidents against Asians and further spreads misinformation at a time when communities should be working together to get through this crisis;…”

Note how the resolution affirms that just saying “Chinese virus” to refer to COVID-19 “only encourage hate crimes and incidents against Asians…”

It’s rather amazing when you think about it.  The next “Whereas” says that “the Jewish community has been targeted with blame, hate, antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories about their creating, spreading and profiting from COVID-19”.

What does saying “Chinese virus” have to do with that?

Any real violence perpetrated against anyone ought to be punished, and it’s already illegal.  What we have in this resolution is an attempt to discourage freedom of speech.

The resolution declares that “The City of San Antonio denounces antisemitism, anti-Asian bigotry, and all hateful speech, violent action and the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19 that casts blame, promotes racism or discrimination or harms the City of San Antonio Asian and Pacific Islander, Jewish, immigrant or other communities.”

Notice how it combines “violent action” and “hateful speech”. Once again, who defines “hateful speech”?

What about “the spread of misinformation”?  After all, even experts don’t agree on COVID-19 policy.

What about “casting blame”?  Does that mean you can’t criticize the Communist Chinese government for its handling of the Coronavirus, nor the World Health Organization?

How about Democratic politicians who “cast blame” on Trump’s handling of the crisis?  Would they be covered by this?  Probably not, if  they’re anti-Trump.

Maybe this resolution doesn’t amount to much in the big scheme of things, but it’s an example of a dangerous way of thinking.

Another article by News 4 San Antonio quoted Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales who discussed a San Antonio Chinese restaurant called Golden Star: “It’s been in operation for almost 90 years. They’re a Chinese restaurant family and they have been threatened. They have been the victims of hate speech and hate crimes, with vandalism and that sort of thing on their property.”

So the proprietors of this restaurant have been victimized by “hate speech and hate crimes”?  And “vandalism and that sort of thing on their property”?

That doesn’t sound very specific.  If the restaurant has been vandalized, that’s something concrete that can be investigated and prosecuted.  But saying things?

The whole concept of “hate speech” is not found in our Constitution nor Bill of Rights, nor is it part of our traditional common law Anglo-American legal tradition.

Section 3 of the resolution declares that “The City of San Antonio will continue its efforts to protect residents and targets and victims of hate, and to prosecute and curb hate acts related to COVID-19 in partnership with nonprofit organizations, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, the San Antonio Police Department and other law enforcement partners.”

So that’s referring to some sort of law enforcement related to “hate acts” (defined by whom?).

Also troublingly, Section 5 declares  that “The City of San Antonio urges residents to join us in calling attention to these harms and denouncing hate to help keep us all safe during this unprecedented pandemic…”

That sounds a little like what went on in Communist East Germany, where regular people would report their neighbors to the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security.  Is that what we want in our country?

The second News 4 San Antonio article I linked to, however, assures its readers that “The mayor says the resolution is not aimed at constitutionally-protected free speech.”

As Mayor Nirenberg puts it,  “Oh no, not at all. What this is is a statement of values, as we say we’re a compassionate community.”

Why do I not find this reassuring?

© 2020 Allan Wall – All Rights Reserved

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