The Corner

Politics & Policy

The U.S. Is Right to Reject the Christchurch Pact

President Trump boards Air Force One from Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 14, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The Washington Post reports:

The United States on Wednesday broke with 18 governments and top American tech firms by declining to endorse a New Zealand-led response to the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques, saying free-speech concerns prevented the White House from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online.

. . .

A day earlier, as negotiations progressed, White House officials raised concerns that the document might run afoul of the First Amendment.

Because Donald Trump is president, this decision will presumably attract some outrage in some quarters: See, this just proves that . . .  But, as it should be, it is standard practice for the U.S. government to decline to sign these things. In 2016, while Barack Obama was president, the United States refused to become party to a a U.N. resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism. This, naturally, was not because President Obama was indifferent toward Nazism, but because the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from taking part in any censorship efforts, and because the country’s robust culture of speech renders it unseemly for its leaders to sign anything to that effect, even in such cases as it is not technically binding. There is no reason for President Trump to take a different approach, and it would be rather odd if those who believe that he is a wannabe dictator were to take a different, narrower view.

Most Popular

White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More
Elections

The 24 Democrats

Every presidential primary ends with one winner and a lot of losers. Some might argue that one or two once-little-known candidates who overperform low expectations get to enjoy a form of moral victory. (Ben Carson and Rick Perry might be happy how the 2016 cycle ended, with both taking roles in Trump’s cabinet. ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More