The Thomas-Murphy Report
We fear the speech police
February 26, 2006
Hate speech infuriates normally cool tempers and now does so
instantly in a newly globalized community.
As media workers we are privileged witnesses to the best of human
accomplishment -- but we also are driven mindful that human nature
reaches to genocide begun by hate speech.
The People have the power to do anything once mobilized,
despite noblest words on any country's paper Bill of Rights.
We fear that power of the people.
It is why we fear the global reflex to force acceptable speech.
Shifting popular constraint of even hate speech can fertilize
growh of the worst in human nature, we contend.
We are convinced that sunshine is the better disinfectant.
Years back, those who share our thinking allowed American nazis
to march in the heavily Jewish bedroom community of Skokie, Illinois.
Holocaust survivors then lived in Skokie with fury of tortured
memories no others can presume.
Yet when the march ended -- it was over.
The slander of Jewish control was not fed.
Disappointingly, the reflex to force higher speech remains incessant.
We see it daily in San Francisco.
Every elected official, every advocate, fixates on the media
for failed manifest of their shifting truths.
Indeed, three of today's most progressive elected officials once
floated hint of legislation banning religious triumphalist absurdities
which appeared in a San Francisco neighborhood newspaper advertisement.
In London, Mayor Ken Livingstone - possibly the world's most
outspoken elected progressive mayor - may be suspended from office
for one month if a ruling by an unelected civil service panel
Livingstone's offense was that he spoke.
He spoke improperly -- and hatefully -- to a media worker employed
by a newspaper not manifesting Livingstone's truth.
In this country, the titans of search engine technology bend
to autocratic China censorship raising ire of holocaust survivor,
Congressman Tom Lantos, who compared 'Don't be Evil' Google to
America doing business with Nazi Germany.
In democratic Japan, industry and government are indistinguishable
in their juggernaut to Japan-First profits.
It is a mighty power, this globalized protectionism of codified
We fear American academia, industry, and government will not
stand in protection of sunshine.
We hold our British-born forefathers' 1st amendment constitutional
gift of free speech came from their experience of government censorship
and religious repression, the very censorship Google, Cisco, Microsoft
and Yahoo now endorse on behalf of the repressive Chinese government.
Such complicity shines sunshine on corporate profit-first indifference
to human rights.
Congressman Lantos said it best at a congressional hearing when
he told representatives of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco,
"I simply do not understand how your corporate leadership
sleeps at night."