Once upon a time, there was a country which now is historically designated as the Weimar Republic. Article 118 of the Weimar Constitution forbade censorship with the text “No censorship will take place.”
The Weimar Republic existed from 1918 until 1933 when it was transformed into a mean, little country by a mean, little man from Austria. This mean, little man was named Adolf Hitler.
Less than a month after Hitler's appointment as chancellor in 1933, the Reichstag Fire Decree invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, suspending several constitutional protections on civil rights. The articles affected were 114 (habeas corpus), 115 (inviolability of residence), 117 (correspondence privacy), 118 (freedom of expression /censorship), 123 (assembly), 124 (associations), and 153 (expropriation). In one fell swoop, an entire nation lost several rights which Americans still enjoy since the Constitution of the United States took effect in 1789.
Hitler quickly established the Ministry of Propaganda whose goal it was to control all forms of mass communication in Germany. Censorship was extreme and strictly enforced. The ministry tightly controlled information available to their citizens, and criticism of the nation's leaders was swiftly and severely punished.
To make an extremely long story short, the mean, little man transformed the country of Germany into one that bolstered up loud, angry, agreeing voices, while extinguishing the quiet, dissenting voices, then he lead that nation into an incredibly massive war, punctuated with genocide, ultimately leaving the nation in ruin.
After the war, several lost civil liberties were restored to the German people. They rebuilt, innovated in several industries, and become one of the “good guys” of the world.
Among the rights restored to the people, was the freedom of speech. As it currently stands in the German constitution (officially translated into English):
[Freedom of expression, arts and sciences]
(1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.
(2) These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons and in the right to personal honour.
(3) Arts and sciences, research and teaching shall be free. The freedom of teaching shall not release any person from allegiance to the constitution.
Point 1 seems to make The Freedom of Expression quite clear, but then it's undercut by Point 2's ambiguous wording. “These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws” is quite vague and could be interpreted as, “Basically any laws can contradict this constitution.”
You would think that “the protection of young persons” might include strict pornography laws, but in Germany you “usually” have to be at 16 least years old to view soft core pornography, nevermind that it's broadcast on television “usually” at night (the first time I saw nudity on German television was in the afternoon), and don't forget the constant bombardment of advertisments often depicting full-frontal nudity on billboard-lined streets, walls plastered with 50 identical posters, illuminated posters at bus stops, and mini-posters lining the tops of bus and train interiors. (Oh, and there was that time I was walking down the streets of Köln when I unexpectedly encountered a woman strutting before a crowd of photographers while she was wearing nothing but high heels and a fake smile. Apparently she was promoting the nearby shoe store.) Nope, “the protection of young persons” has nothing to with that, but it could be anything else.
What in the world is “the right to personal honour”? Anti-slander laws? Anti-hurt-feelings laws? Hard to tell by that ambiguous wording.
Therein lies the proverbial fine print which is allowing modern Germany to increasingly subvert its citizens' civil liberties. In just the last couple of years Germany has been passing more and more laws against “hate speech,” whatever that is. Several German citizens have already been arrested due to supposed “hate speech” crimes.
Angela Merkel, who has been in office far too long, can be seen thumping the podium like Hitler as she calls for the suppression of free speech. Nut jobs like her have been demanding the regulation of “hate speech,” which is always so ambiguously defined that it boils down to simply “any speech that somebody dislikes,” which by no stretch of the imagination can be extended to criticism of the wrongdoings of government and political figures. Silencing critical voices is standard practice among fascist regimes.
Germany is presently preparing new legislation that will require internet service providers, email hosts, on-line retailers, and others to disclose usernames, passwords, IP addresses, and other data of people merely accused of “hate speech.” Let me repeat that: Merely being accused of a crime opens an individual to legal persecution!
First of all, this violoation of privacy of correspondence is extremely rife for abuse, whether it be just somebody maliciously making false accuastions or the government trying to suppress a political opponent. Dave Cullen talks about this succinctly in a video that you should watch (on BitChute or YouTube).
Secondly, this is another prime example of how politicians who don't know their asses from a hole in the ground don't understand how computers work. Any secure website does not store unencrypted passwords, and if this bill requires that passwords be stored unencrypted for backdoor conformity, the ramifications of data breaches will be much more severe.
It's ironic. Germany has spent three quarters of a century trying to distance itself from the atrocities committed by the National-Socialists, and now it's circling right back to those darkest days of the Twentieth Century.
Most frightening of all, policies and attitudes like this are taking traction around the world, as the governments, news media, and social media giants are behaving like the government in George Orwell's 1984. People's thoughts are being policed and we're being forced to use Newspeak, lest we be mislabeled with a severe pejoritive and have the means to support our families taken away.
We are living in a frightening time. It's almost like we're living in 1984.
- ⌃ I realize that Hitler actually stood average-to-above-average in height, but his character was still that of a bitter, mean, little man.