‘Freedom of Expression Has Its Limits!’ – Merkel Rails Against Free Speech

Merkel
MATHIEU CUGNOT/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor Angela Merkel railed against free speech in the German parliament, declaring that freedom of expression which offends “the dignity of other people” must be censored to secure a truly free society.

“We have freedom of expression,” the migrant crisis architect began dubiously, in a speech to the German federal parliament, or Bundestag, uploaded to social media by state broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).

“For all those who claim that they can no longer express their opinion, I say this to them: If you express a pronounced opinion, you must live with the fact that you will be contradicted. Expressing an opinion does not come at zero cost!” she warned ominously, to applause from the assembled politicians.

“But freedom of expression has its limits. Those limits begin where hatred is spread. They begin where the dignity of other people is violated!” she continued, gesticulating wildly.

“This house will and must oppose extreme speech. Otherwise our society will no longer be the free society that it was,” she concluded, somewhat contradictorily.

Andrew Doyle, the comedian and free speech advocate behind the popular Titania McGrath parody account which lampoons left-liberal social justice warriors, was disturbed by Mrs Merkel’s speech, observing that “hate speech” is always “defined by those with the power to legislate against it.”

“The state must never be trusted to set the limits of acceptable speech,” he warned, adding that it was “very sinister to see such authoritarian ideas endorsed in the name of ‘freedom’.”

Indeed, quite how meaningful “free” speech rights which only cover speech the state does not deem “extreme” or offensive to the “dignity of others” can really be is unclear — but the Orwellian notion that the truly “free” society is one where free speech is curtailed is not unique to Germany.

The British government under Theresa May previously rejected a petition for a Free Speech Act and an end to so-called “hate speech” prohibitions with a nonsensical claim that “UK legislation values free speech and enables people who wish to engage in debate to do so… [but] hate speech [is] not acceptable in our society, and anyone seeking to use freedom of speech as an excuse to break the law should still face the full force of the law.”

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