In the U.S. Political Dissent is Merely “Hate Speech.” In Europe it is Now a Mental Illness

It is no secret that political discourse has become truly ugly. Gone are the days when reasonable people could reasonably disagree about political issues.

One of the issues – perhaps the preeminent issue – on which opposing viewpoints are no longer tolerated is immigration. In many circles, those who favor limits on immigration and enforcement of immigration laws, are not merely deemed wrong or misguided. Such political views are now denounced as evil and those who express them are beyond the pale.

FAIR has been a prime target of these sorts of smear campaigns for many years. Scurrilous political attacks, relentlessly repeated, are part of an orchestrated effort not just to discredit a particular organization, but to marginalize the very notion that immigration laws have validity and should, therefore, be enforced.

In recent months, the campaign has moved to the next level by the network of groups seeking to eradicate immigration laws and U.S. sovereignty. These groups are now seeking to dictate to news media whose opinions should be reported and whose should not. They have not succeeded – FAIR and others in their crosshairs have unprecedented media access – but they are in it for the long haul.

If it’s any comfort, attacks against supporters of immigration limits in the United States are mild compared with the assault on political dissenters in Europe. In France, Marine Le Pen, the leader of a political party favoring more restrictive immigration, has been ordered by a court to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. (Disclaimer: FAIR has no association of any kind and does not endorse Le Pen’s National Rally Party.)

The proximate cause of the court’s order (which Le Pen has vowed to ignore) is that she tweeted graphic photos of the 2015 ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, and others of the decapitation of American journalist James Foley at the hands of his ISIS captors. The real reason is that, as Douglas Murray documents in his book, The Strange Death of Europe, opposition to the political establishment’s open immigration policies is being systematically quashed by the continent’s political elite.

But even more ominous is the manner in which that intolerance is now being expressed. The French court’s order of a psychiatric evaluation of Ms. Le Pen is eerily reminiscent of the most abusive policies of the defunct (we thought) Soviet Union. Initiated under Stalin, and continuing until Gorbachev ushered in the era of perestroika, the Soviet Union and its satellite states treated political dissent as a mental illness. Over the decades, countless individuals who did not strictly adhere to Party dogma found themselves condemned to mental institutions where they were subject to gross violations of their human rights.

It can be dangerous to draw parallels with events of the past (although the mass immigration advocates do it all the time), but there are unmistakable signs that more than our immigration laws are under threat.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    I Never Could Understand Why Any American Can’t Stand to Hear the Truth in All Matters

    Science fact, root causes, rationale negotiations, common sense, etc, etc…all get flushed down the toilet of ignorance otherwise. We’ve partially become a nation of brainless sheep that accept no changes from Open Border Party Fascism cement rules?

  2. avatar

    The Soviet Union lives again in the left. Fortunately Susan Collins decided that she would not participate in the political destruction of a man with two small daughters, based on three last minute accusers whose stories were not substantiated, contradictory, and in the last case patently absurd.

    We now have mob rule become acceptable. Democrats like Maxine Waters tell people to “gather a crowd and confront” Trump administration officials. Corey Booker has said to “get in their face”. The Senator from Hawaii said men must “shut up” and that every woman must be believed. Chuck Schumer said “There is no presumption of innocence or guilt when it comes to a nominee”. Translation, just find someone somewhere to make an accusation that is impossible to prove either way and that means you’re guilty. This is the party that takes a side show barker like Michael Avenatti seriously.

    Nor are these mindless shouting zombies harassing those they disagree with anything new. It’s been going on for several years on college campuses. Conservative speakers have been banned because of “safety concerns”. Throwing tantrums works. And then there’s Hollywood. For years it was an open secret there about Harvey Weinstein and his many assaults on women. They defended Roman Polanski for decades when he fled the country after being indicted for giving alcohol to a 13 year old and having sex with her. When he won the Oscar in 2002 for The Pianist the audience stood and cheered. Now they screech and call names based on nothing more than allegations. Hypocrites to the extreme.

    • avatar

      Just to continue on this theme, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii was on CNN’s Face The Nation on Sunday morning. Asked “It’s another thing to run senators out of restaurants and go to their homes. Is that going too far?”, her answer was “This is what happens because when you look at white supremacists and all that. This is coming forth in our country.”

      This is a shocking statement. She absolutely justified doing it. It’s “what happens”. It is the duty of Congress to condemn such statements formally and unequivocally. The “go to their homes” part comes, in yet another story ignored by the media, from a Democratic Congressional staffer who was arrested because he put the home addresses of Republican senators online.