Beware Section 230 repeal and other commentary

Speech watch: Beware Section 230 Repeal

Those on the left and right calling for a complete repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act need to realize it would “return us to the legal no-man’s land” that prohibits even “good Samaritan” censorship, explain Sen. Ron Wyden and ex-Rep. Chris Cox in USA Today. Without the law, every one of the 200 million-plus Web sites available to Americans “will have to either stop publishing their users’ contributions, or let ‘anything go’ — no matter how gross or illegal.” Any “curating” will leave platforms liable for everything posted, so “hosting user-created content will be too costly and risky,” and “the many online avenues that ordinary citizens currently use to express themselves would be closed.” So while “Congress should examine whether it’s possible to amend Section 230 without doing more harm than good,” it must also remember that “sometimes those complaining about online speech are doing worse than crying wolf.”

Leftist: Socialists Will Hike Your Taxes

Victories this November by five socialists vying for seats in the Legislature marked “a huge show of power” in New York electoral politics, Democratic Socialists of America member Liza Featherstone gushes at The Nation. The “first item” on their agenda: “taxing the rich.” The socialists have launched an “inside/outside” strategy — “organizing” lawmakers and mobilizing the DSA to get “the grassroots to pressure Albany” via “phone banking” and leafleting. Other pro-tax groups, like the Alliance for Quality Education, have formed a coalition called New York Budget Justice, and many labor unions have joined in the effort. Even Gov. Cuomo appears to be “conceding” the politically inevitable, suggesting tax hikes are now likely. Featherstone “can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Religion beat: China’s Threat to the Bible

At First Things, Nina Shea worries that “a single Chinese company has a near monopoly on Bible printing, meaning that any rupture in the supply chain — say, from a US-China trade war — would lead to a Bible shortage in America.” Amity Printing Co. in Nanjing is the world’s largest Bible printer, which means that “American Christians rely on a state that represses Christianity for their Bibles.” When President Trump imposed trade tariffs on China, “American Bible publishers found themselves alongside Beijing vociferously lobbying Washington against the measure,” so it’s no stretch to imagine that the ruling Chinese Communist Party could make these same publishers “soft power assets of Beijing” with a little pressure. “American Bible publishers can best preserve Americans’ First Amendment rights — and their own reputations — by immediately shifting their printing out of China.”

Iconoclast: The Creepiest Lockdown Expert

Britain’s early lockdown champion, Imperial College epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, recently told The Times of London that he credits the Chinese ­regime’s harsh response to the pandemic for preparing the way for the Western one. Yet to those who “object to lockdowns on civil-liberties principles,” argues Unherd’s Freddie Sayers, “this will be a chilling reminder of the centrality of the authoritarian Chinese model in influencing global policy in this historic year.” That Ferguson’s worst predictions didn’t come to pass makes it all the worse. His March 16 paper “forecast that in a scenario without interventions, 81 percent of the UK population would become infected, and that 0.9 percent of them would die, i.e. 510,000 fatalities.” Yet data from the Brazilian city often held up as the counter-example of what would have happened without interventions doesn’t “come close to the Ferguson projections.”

Computer expert: The Left’s Drive To ‘Bias’ AI

Having algorithms “incapable of bias” make decisions rather than humans should be cause to celebrate, reasons computer-science prof Pedro Domingos at Spectator USA. But “militant” liberals are scrambling to retake control. “A whole subfield of AI has sprung up” for the express purpose of “de-biasing” algorithms, and anyone who questions it, as Domingos has, is subject to the cancel culture, as he was. Yet algorithms “can’t be racist or sexist.” What “cleaning” them up really means is “inserting into them biases favoring specific groups” and establishing the “social controls” the political left wants.  

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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