Power & Market

How House Republicans Outsource Campus Speech Limits to George Soros


This week, the House passed H. R. 6090, a bill sold to the public as an “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” but effectively outsources the definition of actionable Civil Rights Act “antidiscrimination” violations to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In doing so, the DC uniparty has granted a significant concession on the First Amendment at a time when its freedom of speech is facing a coordinated attack from powerful, globalist institutions.

The bill itself is far shorter and simpler than most of the bills that emerged from Congress. It grounds itself in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, finds that “antisemitism is on the rise in the United States and is impacting Jewish students in K–12 schools, colleges, and universities”, and then formally adopts the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism to be used as a point of reference in “reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been” any Title IV CRA violations.

The spread of anti-Israeli protests on college campuses around the country has been a catalyst for this legislative action. Regardless of one’s opinions about these events, the structure of this legislation should concern every American who cares about national sovereignty or holds views out of step with globalist organizations. It represents a major legislative achievement for various organizations that have become increasingly vocal about the unique challenges America’s First Amendment creates for a broader push for censorship.

This has been most on display in questions of tech censorship, where American-based corporations have regularly pointed to weaker international standards of free speech to devise their content moderation policies. While corporations do have the right to set platform standards that are more rigorous than what the Bill of Rights, in theory, restrains the state, it is relevant that these companies have repeatedly pointed to international pressure as the justification for more restrictive policies.

This is why Washington’s adoption of IHRA definitions should particularly ring alarm bells. The “Permanent International Partners” list for the IHRA is a roll call of many of these international actors, including the European Union and the Council of Europe, prioritizing calls for censorship as necessary for combating “misinformation.” The Council of Europe, which describes itself as a “Human Rights Group,” counts George Soros among its largest private donors. Among American organizations that receive Soros’s patronage is the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which has advocated for more limited interpretations of the First Amendment in American courts as necessary for “preserving democracy” in an age of social media.

Highlighting this connection does not suggest that Soros is a singularly sinister figure using his money to diminish Americans’ rights further (many such villains deserve similar labels). Still, it does illustrate Republican legislators’ audacious betrayal of their voting base. In the popular rhetoric of modern American politics, there is no greater boogeyman to Republican voters than George Soros. In supporting this legislation, 187 House Republicans voted to outsource key definitions to Soros’s political network.

Ultimately, for all the cheap campaign rhetoric attacking the World Economic Forum or the UN, the majority of Republican politicians are perfectly fine ceding legislative authority to such international groups if doing so scores a straightforward press release standing up to the problem of the day, and a campaign check from whatever special interest group promoting the bill in question.

This is all, of course, ignoring various other more obvious problems with the bill, such as the specifics of the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, which creates unique carveouts for political speech related to the state of Israel that no other government is subjected to, nor the inability to reconcile this aggressive reassertion of civil rights law at a time when matters of DEI and other “anti-woke” positions have become go-to red meat for Republicans in state and national elections.

While readers of Mises.org are almost certainly not surprised at the sinister outcome of bipartisan legislation, it is worth identifying the precedent this new legislation sets for future attempts to diminish American free speech rights further. Whether it should be expected from other attempts to expand CRA protections for other state-protected classes through further outsourcing of definitions or attempts to utilize European standards of appropriate discourse for future tech or financial regulation, the push for censorship will only continue to escalate as Americans increasingly respond negatively to the economic, social, and cultural pressures resulting from Washington’s predatory policies.

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Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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