Below is the intervention read today by Stephen Coughlin, representing the Center for Security Policy at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 12 “Combating Hate Crimes and Ensuring Effective Protection against Discrimination”, Warsaw, September 29, 2015.
Working Session No 12
Specifically Selected Topic: Combating Hate Crimes and Ensuring Effective Protection against Discrimination
OSCE / ODIHR, Warsaw, Poland
29 September 2015
Thank you madam moderator, ladies and gentlemen,
In Orwell’s 1984 the point was made that:
In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy.
It was while being interrogated by the full force of the Orwellian state — with his job and his freedom put risibly at risk — that O’Brien turned to his affable interrogator and proclaimed that true freedom was the freedom to say: ”Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four”?
In 2013 at an OSCE Side Event here in Warsaw, we got principal advocates to acknowledge that “Islamophobia” had no definition, at a time when OSCE participating States were undertaking the initiative to criminalize “Islamophobia” as hate speech, as they still are to this day.
In May 2015 at the OSCE event in Vienna, at a formal OSCE forum, we got members of the event to say that facts known to be true can constitutes hate speech when suggesting that calling the Islamic State the Islamic State can constitute hate speech – even as it was acknowledged that the Islamic State self identifies as the Islamic State.
The “Hate Crime / Hate Speech” narrative is emerging as an attack on free speech that is an assault on the truth. The truth can never constitute hate speech.
Whether through direct action or under coercive third-party color of authority, state control of speech is an Orwellian assault to the very definition of free speech. Properly understood, free speech needs to be defended from the state, not protected by it.
Those that claim the authority to protect “protected speech” have the power to decide what is and is not to be protected. In the United States, the First Amendment did not give the state the power to protect speech; it was created to deny the state that power. Properly understood, free speech is a right inherent in the person, not a privilege granted by the state.
The term “hate crime” is emerging as one of those Orwellian terms that masks the mailed fist of the state to determine what is and is not to be deemed “protected speech” — another term that has increasingly taken on Orwellian proportions — as contrasted with what is to be designated as not “protected” and hence identified as hate speech. Orwell got it right:
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
The Center for Security Policy recommends that the OSCE and all participating States not make Orwell a prophet but instead rethink the suppression of thought through the unbridled assault on its expression through the thinly veiled hate speech narrative. Thank you.
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.