According to the Atlantic, “In Germany, legislators are attempting to address the spread of hate speech and false information online with a new law that aims to protect ‘human dignity’ on social media.”
Human dignity? They must have forgotten about Herr Freud, in his latter days, cancerous, moribund, stroking his beard, meditating love and hate, Eros and Thanatos as WW II broke out in Europe.
The Atlantic article says, “Article One of Germany’s postwar constitution instructs, ‘Human dignity shall be inviolable.’ This notion means you are not allowed to claim false things about me, because it hurts my dignity,'” one legislator says. OK, so he’s talking about false claims, or lies. But dignity? What makes us dignified? The refusal to tell lies? How about indignant? The telling of lies?
Can we be forced not to tell lies? And if we have to be forced, are we in fact dignified?
Isn’t lying as German as Schweinekotelett, as American as apple pie? Not that lying is good, or right, but it’s inevitable. Not that we want lies told about us, or want to lie about others, but we have the right to tell the truth, and so do they.
I prefer the American approach, with its First Amendment right to freedom of speech, even noxious speech. It’s part and parcel of our idea of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which is not necessarily a happy, or easy, progress.
Oh, you bully, you offended me! Of course, you did! You’re an idiot! Your idiocy speaks for itself. And there are plenty of us, after all, even in the age of Trump and the far-right parties in Germany, who can speak more fluently and powerfully than you and who will meet your hate speech with truth that burns like acetylene. Eventually, even the no-nothings will know this.