Washington on the Orwellian road

Washington on the Orwellian road

Washington on the Orwellian road

Though a bill that would criminalize certain speech has died in the state legislature, one analyst expects it'll be back again next session.

Washington state House Bill 1333, which would have criminalized thought and expression under an invented category of offenses called "domestic violent extremism," died in committee in this session.

Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center explains that it would have allowed a government panel to take a person's views, statements, and opinions – likely gathered from social media or turned in by family members or neighbors – and criminalize them.

Finne, Liv (Washington Policy Center) Finne

"It would basically create a Ministry of Truth," she summarizes. "Under this bill, government officials would ultimately decide whose words and whose speech would be subject to criminal prosecution. This is Orwellian. We are there."

Finne contends it is important to call out the underpinning of such ideology, and she calls this particular effort a naked power grab, because additional laws aimed at catching actual political violence are unnecessary.

"We already have laws that allow the prosecution of people like Timothy McVeigh, who used violence to blow up a government building," she notes.

Finne fully expects the bill will be brought back next session, when it will likely have the votes to pass.

"I'm sure that this bill in a federal court would be struck down," the analyst tells AFN, as it violates the First Amentment, "but I don't know about a state court."

It would come down to which court got the case.