Saturday, May 09, 2009

In liberal paradise, dissent will be a crime

Do disagreeable political opinions cause you "emotional distress"? Do you think people who publish such opinions on the web are engaging in "hostile behavior"? If so, then Rep. Sanchez (D-CA) has the answer. She has introduced a bill, H.R. 1966, to enable prosecution of such miscreants. Full text is here. The key section reads:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
I know many liberals who believe Fox News to be "hostile" and a source of "emotional distress." Can prosecutions be far behind? If Fox has the "intent" of broadcasting "fair and balanced" news, is that the same thing as having the "intent" to cause "distress" among liberals? There are many potential jurors who would say yes.

Note the impressively wide scope: this bill would apply to all communications "dependent on electrical power." This obviously includes TV, radio, websites, and blogs. Even modern newspaper publishing depends on electricity.

The nominal purpose of the bill is to prevent "cyberbullying" of children. I am not a lawyer but I see nothing in the text that in any way limits this to that purpose.

Eugene Volokh has more.

When co-workers behave like junior brown-shirts.
Obama vs. the rule of law.
DailyKos opposes fairness for Hillary.
Is it fascist to oppose fascism?
Fascists and atheists
To rise to power, 20th century fascists depended on liberal do-gooders.

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