Jacinda Ardern may no longer be Prime Minister of New Zealand, but she was back at the United Nations continuing her call for international censorship. Ardern is now one of the leading anti-free speech figures in the world and continues to draw support from political and academic establishments. In her latest attack on free speech, Ardean declared free speech as a virtual weapon of war. She is demanding that the world join her in battling free speech as part of its own war against “misinformation” and “disinformation.” Her views, of course, were not only enthusiastically embraced by authoritarian countries, but the government and academic elite.
In her speech, she notes that we cannot allow free speech to get in the way of fighting things like climate change. She notes that they cannot win the war on climate change if people do not believe them about the underlying problem. The solution is to silence those with opposing views. It is that simple.
While some of us have denounced her views as an attack on free expression, Harvard rushed to give her not one but two fellowships. While the free speech community denounced her for unrelenting attacks on this human right, Harvard praised her for “strong and empathetic political leadership” and specifically enlisted her to help “improve content standards and platform accountability for extremist content online.”
I actually have no objection to the inclusion of Ardern as a Harvard fellow. She is a former world leader who is leading the movement against free speech. It is a view that students should consider in looking at these controversies. However, Harvard has heralded her views with no acknowledgment of her extreme antagonism toward free speech principles. There is also little countervailing balance at the school with fellows supporting free speech as a human right. Rather, Harvard (which ranks dead last on the recent free speech survey) has become a virtual clearinghouse for anti-free speech academics and advocates.
What is so chilling is to hear Ardean express her fealty to free speech as she calls on the nations of the world to severely curtail it to prevent people from undermining their policies and priorities. She remains the “empathetic” face of raw censorship and intolerance. She is now the virtual ambassador-at-large for global speech regulation and criminalization.
Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.