Sir Edward Coke on the Latest Soros Leak: How To Censor The Internet
September 2, 2016 9 Comments
Both of us here actually prefer to deal with underlying causes of the problems of our civilization, which is fine but we also realize that current events (and their daily alarms) are also part of our brief. We ignore quite a few, mostly because if you are moderately aware, you will find them easily enough. That’s all well and good, but sometimes we do think we should comment on some of them.
You may have heard that in about a month, America is due to turn over control of the internet to the United Nations. Sounds pretty harmless to most, I suppose. But is it really? Is it a good idea to turn over the last real bastion of free speech to an organization that thinks Cuba, China, and Saudi Arabia are valid choices to judge human rights violations? Doesn’t strike me as a very good idea. Our friend Cultural Limits wrote about this recently, including part of an email dated 2014 from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation that is relevant.
“Our freedom of expression work furthers the free exchange of information and ideas via the media and internet, and proposes to begin to address the free expression and association rights of NGOs. The internet has been a key tool for promoting freedom of expression and open societies — as in the Arab Spring — and is a potential safeguard against monopoly control of information in such places as China and Central Asia,” page 19 of the document notes.
“But it is also presenting underaddressed challenges, including lack of regulation of private operators that are able to decide, without due process procedures, what information is taken off the Internet and what may remain. A ‘race to the bottom’ results from the agendas of undemocratic governments that seek to impose their hostility to free speech on the general online environment. We seek to ensure that, from among the norms emerging in different parts of the world, those most supportive of open society gain sway.”…
One of the “Program concepts and initiatives” listed in the document is to “Promote — by advocating for the adoption of nuanced legal norms, and litigation — an appropriate balance between privacy and free expression/transparency values in areas of particular interest to OSF and the Justice Initiative, including online public interest speech, access to ethnic data, public health statistics, corporate beneficial ownership, asset declarations of public officials, and rights of NGOs to keep information private.”
Another initiative is to “Establish states’ responsibility to collect data necessary to reveal patterns of inequality, and define modes of collection that are effective and protect privacy.” (RELATED: UN Internet Agenda Tied To George Soros)
Throughout the document, OSJI’s position appears to be that private actors on the internet must be brought under international control in order to prevent them from suppressing each other’s freedom of expression and speech.
CL’s emphasis and noting that this was part of the cache that was wiped from the DCLeaks website.
[…] (This would be the end of Charity Navigator and like websites that keep non-profit claim transparent and honest.)
Fortunately for the rest of us, The Daily Caller saved a copy of the communications and is able to deliver a steady drip of information that will never be reported on the regular news organs. The optics are not good for anyone who thinks that American-style freedom of speech would be maintained in any sort of international takeover of the internet. This document very clearly presents the case for stamping out messaging that does not fall in line with the Open Society agenda.
I agree, and I wouldn’t bet on the survival of many of the sites you have come to depend on either. I simply don’t trust the UN at all on this sort of issue. In fact, while I tend to be sceptical of even the US, we are much better about this than even the UK, with their penchant lately for uneven application of so-called hate crime legislation (not to mention any objective definition of the very vague term).
But most of us do understand freedom of speech, and that it is a fundamental right of a free society, going back officially to the First Amendment, but its roots are in the Declaration’s list of natural rights. Over at The Calvinist International, they reminded us the other day that Sir Edward Coke (one of the major legal interpreters in 17th century Britain, and one of the most read books in colonial America) said this about natural rights
The law of nature is that which God at the time of creation of the nature of man infused into his heart, for his preservation and direction; and this is lex eterna [the eternal law], the moral law, called also the law of nature. And by this law, written with the finger of God in the heart of man, were the people of God a long time governed, before the law was written by Moses, who was the first reporter or writer of law in the world. The Apostle in the second chapter to the Romans saith, Cum enim gentes quæ legem non habent naturaliter ea quæ legissunt faciunt [For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, naturally do the things of the law]. [..] Aristotle, nature’s secretary, lib. 5. Ethic. saith, that jus naturale est, quod apud omnes homines eandem habet potentiam [It is the law of nature, which has the same force among all men].
You may be quite certain that both Tom Jefferson and Jemmy Madison had read and understood this passage quite well.