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IPFS News Link • Free Speech

The Language of Force: How the Police State Muzzles Our Right to Speak Truth to Power

• John & Nisha Whitehead - The Rutherford Institute

"If the state could use [criminal] laws not for their intended purposes but to silence those who voice unpopular ideas, little would be left of our First Amendment liberties, and little would separate us from the tyrannies of the past or the malignant fiefdoms of our own age. The freedom to speak without risking arrest is 'one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation.'"—Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissenting, Nieves v. Bartlett (2019)

Tyrants don't like people who speak truth to power.

Cue the rise of protest laws, which take the government's intolerance for free speech to a whole new level and send the resounding message that resistance is futile.

In fact, ever since the Capitol protests on Jan. 6, 2021, state legislatures have introduced a broad array of these laws aimed at criminalizing protest activities.

There have been at least 205 proposed laws in 45 states aimed at curtailing the right to peacefully assemble and protest by expanding the definition of rioting, heightening penalties for existing offenses, or creating new crimes associated with assembly.

Weaponized by police, prosecutors, courts and legislatures, these protest laws, along with free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws, and a host of other legalistic maladies have become a convenient means by which to punish individuals who refuse to be muzzled.


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