New Bill Would Create 'Thoughtcrime' Database That Could Be Virtual End to Freedom of Speech
A new bill being proposed in Minnesota that would compile alleged “incidents of bias” even if they don’t break any laws is being panned by critics who say that the state is on the road to creating a “thoughtcime” database.
The bill would set up a system for authorities in the far-left state to report people to authorities who are accused of saying or doing something that constitutes a “slur” against another person or protected group. The reports would be amassed in a database to be maintained by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Fox News reported.
In an overt threat to free speech, the bill, House File 181, would require the state to keep records identifying the person accused of saying something offensive as well as the identity of the victim “relevant to that bias.”
It is being sponsored by Rep. Samantha Vang, a Hmong-American Democrat lawmaker from Brooklyn Center, who claimed that a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes makes a need for the law vital to public safety.
“As an Asian-American woman, this is also personal,” Vang said, according to the St. Cloud Times. “During the pandemic, with the rhetoric being used to blame Asian Americans for the coronavirus, not just me but the Asian American community felt unsafe for the first time in a long time.”
“During the pandemic we’ve seen online and offline videos of violence and harassment and abuse against Asian Americans. The community is asking me what can I do. But the state right now doesn’t have the infrastructure to report what is actually happening on the ground to our communities,” Vang added.
Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of the state Department of Human Rights, insisted that the new database would help communities address the hate in their midst. “Using the data collected can help you and community groups inform next steps — education, outreach or some other decisions you decide to make,” she said.
Still, even Lucero admitted that the state has no inkling of just how many thought crimes are occurring and that there are only “anecdotal” reports of such offenses.
“But for many incidents that occur that may not be criminal, there is no coordinated, consistent tracking, reporting, analysis and recommendations for next steps,” Lucero told the news outlet. “Even if it is a crime, the police are not getting called, there will not be an investigation or a citation, so it will never be documented or tracked. No one will ever know about it except that person and community members who feel the residual effect.”
Not everyone thinks this legislation is a good idea. Republican state Rep. Walter Hudson told Fox News Digital the whole thing is “insidious” and a violation of free speech, religious freedoms, and political discourse.
“It’s a very insidious and conniving way to get the camel’s nose under the tent of expanding the scope of government scrutiny of speech beyond crimes and assault,” Hudson told Fox.
The bill encompasses race, gender identity and gender expression, and Hudson says it is so broad that it could easily make religious expression a crime. Worse, the bill lowers the threshold for reporting to incidents that don’t currently rise to the level of a crime, even in that famously left-wing state.
Hudson also points out that these thought crimes are repeatedly described as incidents that are “actual or perceived,” meaning that it doesn’t even matter if there really was any offense meant, only that it was assumed to be offensive.
“So the intention of whoever is being accused of exhibiting bias is irrelevant,” Hudson added.
“The only thing that matters is how the person making the report feels,” Hudson explained. “If the person making the report feels as though they have been the victim of an incident of bias, then they have been the victim of an incident of bias. And we’re going to create a database of all of these subjective, arbitrary, whimsical feelings that people have had, not anything objective or tangible at all.”
This raises concerns that anyone could make any accusation and their claim would be treated as factual, whether it is real or not.
“It seems very clear, based upon their focus on motivation, that they’re more concerned about what’s going on in people’s heads, which is protected speech, and that’s thoughtcrime,” Hudson added.
The lawmaker worried that the database would be used to “profile communities” and would be “scored based on how hateful they are” so that future legislation can be aimed at attacking or defunding those areas.
He also said that if it became a law, the bill would “effectively outlaw biblical expression.”
“It very much presents a direct threat — a chilling effect, at the very least — to normal, common Christian doctrinal biblical expression; or for that matter, all the Abrahamic faiths, because there’s not one of them that goes along with this gender ideology in its orthodox form,” he said.
Hudson noted that his argument against the bill is not even a “slippery slope” argument. After all, we have already seen laws like this passed in Canada and the United Kingdom where they have made certain instances of bias into thought crimes.
“There are other countries, like our neighbors to the north, that are further along in this agenda,” he told Fox. “So it’s not even a slippery slope argument. It’s looking across the fence and not wanting to go there.”
Even the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota criticized the bill, saying that it was too “expansive” and could be used “to infer biased motivation” where it may not actually exist.
“While an individual’s words or associations may be repugnant to some, if they are not directly connected to a specific action, using them to impose criminal penalties does raise constitutional concerns,” ACLU policy director Julia Decker wrote in a letter to Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee Chair Kelly Moller.
Unfortunately, Democrats in Minnesota have more than enough power to force this abomination through to law, Hudson laments.
Do you think that a state government should be allowed to maintain a database of people who have engaged in wrongthink — even if their actions did not violate any actual laws? It is frightening to think what a far-left government could do with such a list of names.
George Orwell is surely spinning in his grave over the actions of today’s Democrat Party.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.