The significant differences in treating the notion of “hate speech” in the US, and in most of Europe, have been highlighted thanks to a case involving American playwright C.J. Hopkins, who lives in Germany.
Hopkins is now under investigation in that country over two tweets, one showing the cover of his new book, “The Rise of the New Normal Reich.”
For obvious reasons, Germany has had laws since the end of the Second World War that prohibits displaying Nazi insignia – and, most of the time, they are enforced – a part of the broader criminalization of what the state defines, and then interprets as, hate speech.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, who interviewed Hopkins, meanwhile notes that the book offers strong criticism of the way the pandemic was handled globally, while the cover image illustration includes a barely discernible white swastika superimposed onto a white face mask.
According to a Berlin prosecutor who is handling the case, the authorities are not going after Hopkins because of the content of the book and his open and vocal criticism of the Covid restrictions – but because it supposedly glorifies Nazism.
Never mind, as Taibbi notes, that not unlike the case involving Roger Waters, this type of imagery was not there to, as the accusation claims, “disseminate propaganda” and “further the aims of a former National Socialist organization” – aka, the Nazi party – but for satirical purposes.
“Promoting Nazi ideology, of course, is exactly the opposite of what I was doing. But the part of the law that they cited states exactly that I posted this image in order to further the aims of a Nazi organization,” Hopkins said in the interview.
If anything, Hopkins suggests, his work shows quickly and clearly that he is, in fact, a staunch opponent of fascism and totalitarianism. Hence, his stance on the pandemic policies and narratives, and several other major – critics will say, manufactured – “dramas” that have hit the US and the world since 2016.
The author was, in fact, not shy to directly compare pandemic measures giving governments unprecedented powers to restrict and influence people’s lives, economic well-being, and health (outside of Covid itself) – to the Nazi regime policies.
Therefore, a far cry from promoting Nazism – but a case of very open criticism of the behavior of governments, including that in Germany. So, what are German prosecutors actually looking to prosecute here?
“If anyone with even a mid-range IQ were to glance at my body of work for 20, 30 seconds, they could determine my intentions and where my sympathies lie. The only way that I could interpret this is as intimidation, bullying,” Hopkins told Taibbi.
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