Leaked Federal Report Concludes That Preserving Freedom of Speech Online Does NOT Cause So-Called 'Hate Crimes'

(AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

Breitbart got their hands on an unreleased report that the U.S. Department of Commerce sent to Congress in January which found zero evidence that online free speech causes so-called “hate crimes” —or, translating Orwellian newspeak to English: crimes against those in the upper echelons of the neo-liberal intersectional hierarchy committed by those belonging to lower castes.

But, whatever you want to call it, violence is violence. And one can understand why Breitbart’s sources say they “suspect that bureaucrats and establishment politicians with a vested interest in the “hate crimes” panic are trying to suppress it.”

Besides their sources’ assertion that “[r]eports like this are typically made public” and inability to think of any legit reason this one would be any different, literally, the entire justification for the gradual chipping away of online freedom of speech we’ve witnessed since Trump took office involves claiming that the intent is to prevent violence.

And, of course, if freedom of speech doesn’t actually cause violence, well, all of that kind of just goes up in smoke, doesn’t it?

It’s sort of crazy that hardly anyone thought to even question the link.

But the data from which the report draws this conclusion is so straightforward and compelling that it’s even crazier that no one considered it before

Apple released the first iPhone in 2007. Since then, the gradually increasing ubiquity of smartphones by itself has massively increased the amount of chatting people do online.

Factor in the general increase in internet access and prevalence of email, social media, and a host of other new ways to converse online, and there’s no question that doing so has positively exploded over the past decade.

Yet from 2009 to 2019, federal data indicates that we haven’t seen any concomitant increase in the number of “hate crimes” reported. It’s remained stable despite the vast increase in online speech.

Moreover, the report doesn‘t mention that one would expect ‘hate crime’ numbers to have increased even independently of the explosion of online communication given how much more aware of the concept we’ve become in the last decade.

As the report does note, the lack of any precise definition of “hate crime’ together with the unsystematic way whatever it is they’re supposed to be is reported means that it’s going to be tough to draw any firm conclusions.

But the fact that the numbers reported remained stable during a time of expansive internet growth and markedly raised awareness is about as close to “Boom, QED, Game Over” as you’re going to get.

Finally, this report turns out to be an update of one from 1993 that also drew the very same conclusion.

Breitbart posted the leaked January report online. And its 1993 predecessor was, obviously, already available should you want to have a look.

But the bottom line is that the social media oligarchs’ claim that they’re censoring conservative voices in order to quell violence simply doesn’t hold water.

Of course, you probably knew that already. But both the report and the apparent reluctance to let it see the light of day provide more ammunition in the fight to preserve free speech.

Now we just need to replace the unprincipled lot of feckless betrayers sadly comprising the Republican political establishment with patriotic Americans who understand that they weren’t elected to enrich themselves by selling us out to hostile foreign powers and corporate oligarchs but, instead, to battle tooth-and-nail with just those enemies in service of the American people.

If we don’t straighten out the mess in Washington, nothing else really matters anyway.