WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks about the Biden Administration's work to regulate artificial intelligence during an event in the East Room of the White House on October 30, 2023 in Washington, DC. President Biden issued a new executive order on Monday, directing his administration to create a new chief AI officer, track companies developing the most powerful AI systems, adopt stronger privacy policies and "both deploy AI and guard against its possible bias," creating new safety guidelines and industry standards. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Opinion

The White House’s War On ‘Hate’ Is Really A War On Free Speech

DailyWire.com

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Kamala Harris, and if you’ve been paying attention to anything Kamala Harris has done over the past three years, that’s not especially surprising. She has failed spectacularly at every single task she’s been assigned since she became vice president, almost as if her whole job is to pretend to solve problems while actually making them worse. Which I guess is the unofficial job of nearly everyone who’s held a job in Washington at any point this century. 

As for Harris, in 2021 for example, the White House put her in charge of managing the crisis at the border. But, unbelievable as it may be, her strategy of wagging her finger at Guatemalans, telling them “do not come here,” did not prove to be particularly effective. A year later, the Biden administration dispatched Harris to Germany just a few weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, with the goal of “seeking to avert” a war, as the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. In the end, the Russians took one look at Kamala Harris, and went into Ukraine immediately.

With a track record like that, it’s not hard to imagine that Muslims all over the United States are quaking in fear today. That’s because this week, the Biden administration gave the woman who somehow became vice president yet another task. This time, her job was to announce and lead the first-ever “national strategy to combat Islamophobia.” 

Harris herself made the announcement in a video message. Watch:

Before we get into the whole strategy to combat Islamophobia, it’s important to highlight what she says in the first thirty seconds of her big announcement. “Every person,” she says, has the “right” to “live safe … from bigotry.”

Well, that’s not remotely true. And only someone like Kamala Harris could be dumb enough to think it is true. No, you don’t have a right to live “safe” from bigotry. That’s because other people have freedom of speech and freedom of thought. And they’re allowed to think less of you for good reasons or bad reasons or smart reasons or stupid reasons or even for racist reasons. People can be as bigoted as they want, in fact. Nobody has the right to be free from the bigoted opinions and views and attitudes of other people. That’s the whole point of the First Amendment. It protects speech you think is good. It also protects speech that you think is bad. And as everyone says, but few seem to really believe when it comes down to it, the First Amendment is really only ever needed for that latter category. If the First Amendment does not protect speech we find abhorrent, then the First Amendment effectively protects nothing at all. 

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But the Biden administration apparently disagrees. Now, out of nowhere, you have a “right” to be safe from bigotry. How will the government enforce this new right, you might ask?  And what exactly qualifies as “bigotry?” Is it still acceptable to discriminate against white males? If not, that’s bad news for literally every corporation and university in the whole country. Do they have to revise all their policies overnight?

You know the answer to that question. Of course, only certain kinds of “bigotry” are forbidden — the kinds of bigotry that predominantly affect loyal voters of the Democratic Party. To that end, here’s Kamala Harris explaining the administration’s plan to combat Islamophobia:

For an address that’s intended for a domestic audience, it’s all very warlike. “Our fight against hate” is underway, Harris says, as she sits sternly at her little desk in front of the American flag. We have a “strategy” that’s “comprehensive” and “detailed,” she declares. On social media, Harris went further, saying, “This action is the latest step forward in our work to combat a surge of hate in America.”

Hearing a sitting vice president talk like this about American citizens is unsettling, to say the least. This is the kind of language you normally hear our leaders use when they’re announcing a targeted strike against terrorist cells in the Middle East. 

Now that language, once again, is being turned inward, against American citizens. The Biden administration is on warlike footing against its own citizens. What could possibly justify this, you might ask? It better be something good. There had better be a reason for this kind of hostility and brazen disregard for the Constitution, and in particular the First Amendment.

But there’s no reason for this whatsoever. The only justification that Kamala Harris provides in her speech is that there’s supposedly been an “uptick” in Islamophobic attacks in the United States since October 7. Is that true? Has there been an uptick? Harris didn’t provide any kind of citation, so I had to go looking for one. As far as I can tell, the source for this claim is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. There are obviously reasons to think CAIR isn’t the most unbiased source here, so I was very interested to know how exactly they determined that anti-Muslim attacks are on the rise in the United States in just the past month.

On CAIR’s website, they provide this explanation: “The Council on American Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it has received 774 complaints, including reported bias incidents, since the escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine on Oct. 7.” … That’s supposedly more complaints than they normally receive in similar time periods.

To be clear, these are not reported crimes, or documented arrests, much less are they for the most part violent attacks, or anything close to that. This statistic is based on reports that somehow get filtered to CAIR. These are complaints. So the actual headline, if you care about being honest and accurate, is that there has been an uptick in complaints. Complaints are on the rise. Are the complaints true? Are the complaints complaining about actual incidents of bigotry? And what qualifies as an incident of bigotry?

On that last question, we might be able to come up with some kind of answer. There have been, after all, some more widely reported incidents of alleged Islamophobic bigotry. One of those reports, according to CAIR, involved, “A man [who] reportedly drove his truck through and brandished weapons against pro-Palestine protestors in Minnesota.”

Well, that sounds pretty bad. It sounds hateful, even.

So I looked into the incident a little more. Here’s the video of what happened, which CAIR actually provides the link to. Watch:

Well, that changes things a bit. For one thing, there was no “truck” involved in this incident. It’s clearly a sedan — what looks like a Ford Fusion. And it’s obvious from that footage that the mob of so-called “Pro-Palestine” protesters were blocking the street, standing in the middle of the intersection, when the man seemingly just attempted to continue on his way. The mob surrounded his car, started banging on his windshield, and went crazy. Even if you think the driver was in the wrong somehow, there is certainly no indication that he hates Muslims. If anything, he seems to hate protestors who block traffic. And that is a form of bigotry that nearly everyone can relate to.

According to a blogger who was on the scene, one protester complained, “It was scary, honestly, because there have been protests where people run through the crowd with their vehicles and people, like, ended up dying. And then knowing he was armed, like a part of me wanted to run away. But a part of me was like trying to assist everyone else in, like, stopping this car from causing more harm too because there’s children here. There’s families here.”

Well, here’s an idea: Maybe don’t take your children to the middle of the road and block traffic. But that whole concept is unthinkable to these protesters, apparently. And in their effort to sell this incident as Islamophobic, various Left-wing activists uploaded this footage, showing the man brandishing a knife after he was surrounded:

They’re making this guy out to be a white supremacist — some kind of Islamophobic terrorist because he was driving in his car, and then a mob surrounded him, and he brandished a knife to defend himself. He didn’t actually hurt anyone.  This is the kind of incident that CAIR is classifying as “Islamophobic.” And in turn, the White House is using incidents like this to claim that Muslims are seeing some kind of heightened backlash, which justifies wartime footing against MAGA Republicans, and all forms of “hatred.”

They’re also using incidents, it would appear, that are far more ambiguous and irrelevant than this. Keep in mind that reports — mere reports — of “biased incidents” are being counted in the total.  What is a biased incident? There is no one single definition, and that’s the point. But every university in the country has its own “bias incident response team.” If you go to any university website, and find their bias incident page, you’ll see some kind of definition and they’re all very similar. Here’s the University of Denver, for example:

“The University defines bias incidents as any behaviors that target individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived group identities. Examples may include but are not limited to: graffiti, harassment, jokes, direct insults, etc. The specific forms, content, motivation/intention and impact of bias incidents vary.”

So, a bias incident is anything that someone says or does that someone else interprets as biased. Which is to say that an increase in “biased incident reports” really doesn’t mean anything. If you announce ahead of time that a certain group is going to start experiencing more biased incidents, and then members of that group immediately start complaining about biased incidents, that does not indicate that there actually are more biased incidents — whatever a biased incident even is. All it indicates is the people in that group are being encouraged to interpret incidents that way.

So, why exactly is the Biden administration doing this? The most benign possible explanation is that they’re not planning on doing anything. Maybe this is just theater, and they’re just trying to win some votes in swing states like Michigan by pandering to various Muslim communities by announcing a “national strategy” to combat Islamophobia. If that’s true, it wouldn’t be the first time the White House has done something like that. In fact, just a few months ago, the White House announced its bold new “national plan to combat anti-Semitism.” They pledged that it would end hatred against Jews in the United States. But if you’ve seen footage from any college campus recently, you know that the White House’s plan hasn’t exactly accomplished much. It was all PR.

So, maybe the same thing is happening here, with this new plan to “combat” Islamophobia. Maybe they’re just going to record a video and release a statement to the press, and move on. But there’s reason to think something else is going on here. You might have noticed that, over the past few years, the Left and the legacy media tend to announce ahead of time that there will be a rise of a certain kind of hate crime according to current events. And then, like magic, the prophecy curiously tends to fulfill itself. And then the Left uses that “increase in hate crimes” to assume more power, and to demonize their political opponents.

We saw this in particular during COVID. Nearly as soon as COVID made its way to the United States, Democrats started declaring that the worst thing about the virus is how it would lead to anti-Asian sentiments. And then, what do you know, that “uptick” happened right on schedule. As ABC News reported in 2021, “A new study suggests that former President Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric around the coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in China, helped spark anti-Asian Twitter content and ‘likely perpetuated racist attitudes.'”

At the same time, Democrats refused to acknowledge the obvious fact that the so-called “hate crime surge” against Asians during COVID was almost entirely driven by black perpetrators, which is a demographic group that votes Democrat by a margin of nine-to-one.

As City Journal reported,  “blacks are responsible for 305 percent more violent crime against Asians than neighborhood demographics would predict, while whites and Hispanics commit significantly fewer attacks against Asians than would be expected.”

Democrats never talked about those numbers, because they didn’t want to demonize one of their primary voting blocs. They constructed a narrative, and they followed through with it, no matter how obviously false it was. That’s how cynical these people are.

They’re also profoundly unoriginal, which is why we are now seeing this same strategy play out, all over again, in exactly the same way. They’re desperately hoping that their whole narrative about Islamophobia will manifest in reality, if they just keep pushing it over and over again. And either way, they will pretend it has manifested whether it really has or not.

But the key point is that, even if you concede the Left’s central claim — even if you pretend it’s true that we’re seeing a rise in attacks on Muslims in this country — then there’s still no justification for the federal government to announce a plan to police “hate.” Whether it’s hate against Muslims, or Jews, or white people, or anyone else — “hate” is not something the Biden administration has any authority, or any ability, to resolve. Hatred is an emotional state. It exists in the human heart. You can’t eliminate it even if you tried. Which is of course good news for liberal activists — the very people who are pushing this federal war on “hate” — because they are among the most hateful people on the planet. They’re gleeful whenever any of their political opponents lose their jobs or even their lives. If anyone should be jailed under some grand new plan to punish “hateful” people, it’s them.

But you can’t police hate. If someone commits an actual crime driven by hate, you can punish the crime. But then the fact that it was motivated by hate, as opposed to some other nasty emotion, is basically irrelevant. Or should be. Hate itself — the emotion, the thought — is outside the purview of the government.

When the White House announces yet another war on hate, it’s actually announcing a war on feelings that it thinks we shouldn’t feel. The vice president is saying: there are a lot of people feeling unapproved emotions and we’re going to put a stop to that! And when you think of it that way — which is the accurate way — you see how dystopian this really is. It’s also, again, impossible. They cannot stop hate even if we agreed that they should try, and we do not agree. But they can use the pretense of a war on hate to seize more control over our lives and, they hope, our minds. And that’s what all of this is really about.

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