Chancellor Adolf Hitler of Germany, left, welcomes Premier Benito Mussolini of Italy to Munich, Germany, Sept. 25, 1937, during a visit by Il Duce. (AP Photo)

Free Speech is Dead in Germany

German authorities raided homes across the Reich, cracking down on dissidents the government claims are advocating fringe opinions contrary to the political establishment in Berlin.

The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action,” a German police chief said in statement. “Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence and violence either on the street or on the internet,” he continued, without the slightest indication of Orwellian satire.

This report reads like something from Joeseph Goebbels’ propaganda office in 1936. Unfortunately, it happened Tuesday.

In a coordinated raid across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raid the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion and incitement of racism,” the Times reported.

Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, whose officers conducted home searches and interrogations. But the raids also targeted two people accused of left-wing extremist content, as well as one person accused of making threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation,” the report continued.

This report from Europe, the purported home of Western democracy and classical liberalism, comes the same week the American First Amendment scored a unanimous victory from the Supreme Court.

Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend,” Justice Alito wrote in the 8-0 decisionstriking down the Patent and Trademark Office’s disparagement clause. “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable,” Alito said, citing the classic case, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.

When it comes to liberty, the difference between America and Europe could not be more stark.

Of course, there are those in America who wish speech could be policed by a 21st century gestapo. Political correctness runs amok, the Left attempts to marginalize and banish orthodox conservative opinions, and protesters on the Right and Left seek to bully otherwise peaceful performances.

But these examples serve to further demonstrate how special America’s First Amendment continues to be, and how diligent we must be in guarding it. No other country in history has afforded such protection for the opinions of its citizens, no matter how unpopular or extreme.

It has become common for Americans in both parties to stay at a steady boil of outrage over the problems confronting America. Whether it is immigration, racism, moral decay, healthcare, terrorism, criminal justice, or any other issue, almost 60% of us consider the consider the country on the wrong track. In the constant furor, however, we should not forget that in some ways, and in some things, America continues to be exceptional.

We should look at Germany and take pride that such tyranny does not exist here.

Let’s keep it that way.

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Andy Crawford

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