Washington State is Creating Domestic Violent Extremism Commission to Combat “Anti-LGBTQ and Anti-Science misinformation”

A bill in the Washington State House was voted out of committee in late February that would establish a commission to construct a data collection process on incidents of “domestic violent extremism (DVE).” This commission would operate under the office of the Attorney General and be composed of 13 members. 

Ari Hoffman of The Post Millennial noted that “Domestic violent extremism is not defined in the legislation but according to State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s description, it would include noncriminal activities and speech.” 

HB 1333, the bill in question, is sponsored by State Representative Bill Ramos and would set up the Domestic Violent Extremism Commission to create ways to fight “disinformation and misinformation.”

The legislation was promoted by Ferguson after his office conducted a “Domestic Terrorism” in 2022 which plans to enact “effective State intervention to address these threats has the potential to implicate speech or association that may be protected by the First Amendment, or the individual right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment.”

The AG’s 2022 report contends “rather than exclusively address ‘domestic terrorism’ per se, these recommendations seek to best support Washington State to respond to this panoply of challenges, which together combine to create the threat of—and indeed, are often precursors to—acts of domestic terrorism.”

The commission would also apply the DVE classification to public health. Under this legislation, this commission would have a member with “an expertise in public health” who the AG would appoint, and is not mandated to be a member of the Washington State Health Department. 

Back to Ferguson, who is one of the bill’s biggest boosters, described DVE in the 2022 report as, “Various forms of extremist and political violence like threats, coercion, and intimidation, online disinformation, extremist recruitment and government infiltration efforts, and the general spread of extreme white supremacism and anti-government ideologies.”

Live Finne, Director of Education for the Washington Policy Center opined on this legislation, declaring that it “would criminalize certain forms of expression based on what members of a state commission consider to be their definition of ‘domestic extremism.’ Creating a state-level ‘Ministry of Truth’ would not only undermine democratic norms, but it would have a chilling effect on public debate, freedom of speech, and civic participation in Washington state.”

Based on her research, she believes that the bill would give government officials the power to “decide whose words and whose speech would be subject to criminal prosecution” and that the “Attorney General’s office would increase surveillance of citizens for perceived violations of words and speech prohibitions.”

“Citizens would be encouraged to report friends and neighbors to the state for officially-banned phrases, thoughts, and expressions,” Finne continued.

Indeed, “extremism” is a useful pretext for government busybodies to crack down on dissent. The Right should not fall for this nonsense. Instead, it must be willing to defend all of its constituencies, no matter how unsavory they may be, because these fights are existential in nature and we need all the people on our side we can get. These calls to police speech are just “foot-in-the-door” measures to justify further infringements against free speech, especially against the Right. The endgame here is to crush all dissent and establish a monolithic managerial tyranny. 

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