Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has come out with an inflammatory rant targeting free speech that opens her to comparisons of one of her most notorious predecessors.
Merkel falsely claimed that Germany recognizes a tradition of free expression and called for draconian restrictions on views she finds offensive in the speech, given to the German legislature on Wednesday.
Angela Merkel is not known for her passion. But in this fiery speech about freedom of expression, the chancellor was unusually emotional. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TbysWvOb0K
— DW Politics (@dw_politics) November 27, 2019
“Freedom of expression has its limits. Those limits begin where hatred is spread. They begin where the dignity of other people is violated. This house will and must oppose extreme speech.”
Of course, any serious proponent of real free speech recognizes that definitions of ‘hatred’ and ‘extreme speech’ are entirely subjective, and often used by establishment politicians such as Merkel to silence those who threaten her power.
Many western liberals have adopted a broad definition of hate speech that encompasses any and all criticism of mass immigration, a contentious issue in Germany that appears to have inspired Merkel’s call for censorship.
European liberals such as Merkel have become staunch advocates of privately-enforced social media censorship in recent years, with the German Chancellor rebuking Facebook oligarch Mark Zuckerberg for his refusal to go even further in purging anti-immigration and right wing speech from his platform.
It comes as a acute irony to many to see those known as champions of western liberalism such as Merkel embrace views antithetical to the free speech tradition thought to be essential to liberal values.
Germany already has laws on the books that mandate private companies pay millions of dollars in fines if they refuse to censor patriotic or right-wing content hosted on their platforms. But that’s not enough for the nation’s globalist authoritarian chancellor.
Merkel’s been the German head of state since 2005.