Continuing their wide-ranging efforts not to let a good crisis go to waste, Democrats and their liberal allies are using the novel coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to call for increased censorship, particularly of online speech. This is not a new effort for them but merely a new excuse, and they are alarmingly praising communist China as a model for online speech censorship (yes, the same China that recently suppressed and threatened those who shared accurate information at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, blocks its citizens access to many websites, and regularly monitors individuals' "private" conversations on various chat and email platforms). As George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote:
The most chilling suggestion, however, comes from the politicians and academics who have called for the censorship of social media and the internet. The only thing spreading faster than the coronavirus has been censorship and the loud calls for more restrictions on free speech. The Atlantic recently published an article by Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods calling for Chinese style censorship of the internet.
They declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong” as “significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in such practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.”
Prof. Turley describes Democrats' calls to regulate "fake news" and misinformation on social media platforms, social media's censorship actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the irony that those same Democrats are not calling for regulation of their friendly media despite the massive amount of misinformation they have disseminated during this rapidly developing pandemic (remember when we were told by all the mainstream media talking heads not to wear face masks?). Of course, this inconsistency is the real danger of censorship:
This subjectivity of censorship is why the cure is worse than the illness. The best cure for bad speech is more speech rather than regulation. The fact is that the pandemic, as Clinton reminded voters, is a “terrible crisis to waste.” Yet the waste for some would be to emerge from the pandemic with free speech still alive. . . .
It takes a crisis to convince [people] that notions like free speech are no longer relevant. After spending years seeking to convince Americans to follow the European trend against free speech, these folks are using the pandemic to claim that free speech could kill you.
When Democrats and liberals start looking to communist China as their model, it's clear that they care more about controlling the narrative than about protecting citizens.