by Helen Buyniski
Even non-Google search results from once-reliable alternatives like DuckDuckGo and Brave have been scrubbed clean of all deviations from the establishment line on topics like Covid-19 or the war in Ukraine, let alone the Christchurch shooting, and as Coles remarked, the censorship is even creeping through time into the Wayback Machine, the internet researcher’s go-to that once contained archives of much of the internet dating back decades – but now increasingly turns up error pages or sloppily retconned fact-checks.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) earlier this month introduced a bill that would criminalize the publication of “antagonism based on ‘replacement theory’” and “hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group” on social media if it can be said that the perpetrator of a “white supremacy inspired hate crime” had encountered the material before committing the crime – or that if they had encountered the material, it could conceivably have motivated them to take such actions.
Without bothering to define such critical terms as “hate speech” or even “replacement theory,” often trotted out for effect when the speaker needs to strike an emotional chord, the bill leapfrogs pre-crime to a total reversal of cause and effect.
A content creator can be charged with conspiracy to commit a white supremacy motivated hate crime so long as the actual criminal can be shown to have engaged with their content before committing the crime. In fact, they don’t even need to engage with it – so long as the content could theoretically motivate a “person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired hate crime” to, well, you know.
It’s completely subjective, based on what a “reasonable person” would do when no “reasonable person” would be caught dead in the same room as this bill.