March 17, 2015

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And there the statute has been ever since, sitting at Hofstra Law School. Freedman let me have the audio tapes of the entire conference (I believe I”€™m the only one outside Hofstra to have copies).

I bring all of this up because last week a meme nearly went viral regarding a phony blog post on the Times of Israel site. A troll of some type had created a fictitious persona (“€œDinah Silverstein the human rights activist”€) and pilfered the profile photo of The Guardian’s Nancy Goldstein. In a blog titled “€œAmerica Desperately Needs a Hate Speech Law,”€ the nonexistent “€œDinah”€ launched an obscenely over-the-top, insult-ridden, somewhat libelous rant about the need for a law to lock up all racists, sexists, homophobes, ageists, “€œableists,”€ and Islamophobes.

Of course, there is no “€œDinah Silverstein,”€ and the troll’s pseudonymous blog was soon pulled because, wouldn”€™t you know it, The Guardian copyrights the photos of its authors (and the Times of Israel strictly prohibits the unauthorized use of copyrighted material).

For 24 hours, the “€œDinah”€ rant was on the verge of going viral, until it was killed. And good. We don”€™t need to become distracted by performance art. When the anti-“€œhate speech”€ law comes, it won”€™t come in the form of a foaming-at-the-mouth, purposely over-the-top caricature created by an Internet troll. It”€™ll come from the likes of Monroe Freedman. It will be his law, written, as it is, coldly, dispassionately, and engineered to pass muster with a high court that has just a few more Sotomayors and Kagans on it.

Since 1988, Freedman’s model statute has influenced countless European anti-speech laws with its unique concept of “€œgroup defamation.”€ In the U.S., it’s dormant at the moment. I doubt it will remain so forever. Think of it as lurking in the shadows, waiting for its moment. Read the statute for yourself, understand the ramifications of what it’s intended to do to our most basic, fundamental freedom, and remember Lucius”€™ admonition in Titus Andronicus: “€œThis is our doom.”€


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