Tag Archives: Freedom of speech

The War on Free Speech Continues, by Philip Giraldi

It will make things easy when there’s only one source of information allowed—the government. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Government and social media move to block platforms for those promoting “misinformation”

The Biden Administration’s effort to withdraw nearly all US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before the end of the year is commendable and it is hoped that a departure from Syria will follow soon thereafter, but one must nevertheless be concerned that the overseas moves are being made to concentrate government resources on the domestic war that has already begun. I am, of course, referring to the ongoing efforts being made to extirpate “extremists” among American citizens who have been further identified as largely consisting of “white supremacists.”

As part of the new war, ideas or even demonstrable facts that are considered to be undesirable are being targeted by the government working together with internet resources, most particularly the social media, to attack critics. It is being argued that the alleged provision of “misinformation” is doing actual harm to the country and the American people. Recently, much of the focus has been on the COVID virus, in support of the government’s intention to have all Americans vaccinated and, increasingly, again compelled to be masked when inside buildings that are accessible to the public. These efforts are being supported by media including Facebook, which features pop-ups directing the reader to a “safe” site whenever a piece appears that challenges the government orthodoxy on the spread of the virus.

One might reasonably argue that there is a national public health crisis that is part of a global problem which requires coordinated government intervention, but the actual statistics that reveal the existing low levels of infection and death in most states would not support that contention. And one might also observe that the growing problem involving the regulation of speech and even ideas by government working in cooperation with large corporations is potentially more serious than COVID or any other virus.

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Enemies of the State, by Pete Hoekstra

A former congressman scores the Biden administration’s assault on civil liberties. From Pete Hoekstra at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Taken together, the administration’s efforts paint a picture of an emerging, out-of-control police state. Those of us who disagree with the administration are no longer citizens, we have become “enemies of the state.”
  • Just in the last few days, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was coordinating with Big Tech on correcting “misinformation.” This is censorship. They are doing this with increasing frequency….
  • When individuals engage with social media, the federal government, in coordination with Big Tech, will, at best, have planned responses that will move them to sites designed to give them the “right” answer. Sound far-fetched? On its webpage, Moonshot CVE, a company already doing work for the Pentagon, says it uses “targeted advertising to connect people searching the internet for violent extremist content with constructive alternative messages.”
  • Rather than the federal government using its massive power to facilitate our access to knowledge and information, thus enhancing our individual freedom and decision making, the Biden administration appears to be seeking to become a behemoth propaganda machine targeting its perceived enemies.
In the last few days, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was coordinating with Big Tech on correcting “misinformation.” This is censorship. They are doing this with increasing frequency. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Biden Administration, Big Tech, and other organizations will go to almost any extreme, including propaganda, to promote their priorities. Their efforts on COVID vaccines may be a trial run for what we may see for the next three years on a range of issues. With vaccines, we have already seen social media censor those who have raised legitimate concerns or objections to various COVID vaccines.

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“If You Do Not Have Free Speech You Are Not Free”, by Giulio Meotti

From several horses’ mouths—people who escaped communist regimes—America is closer to totalitarianism than we like to think. From Giulio Meotti at gatestoneinstitute.org:

Refugees from Communism Horrified at America

  • “There was no free speech, you could not share values or thoughts if they were not Mao’s values and thoughts….” — Lei Zhang, Carolina Journal, July 2, 2021.
  • “You have people who now say, ‘Math is white supremacy,’ or that calculus was invented by this man of this race so it is oppression. This is stupid”. — Lei Zhang, Carolina Journal, July 2, 2021.
  • “Most of this crap originated on US campuses. I was at Stanford in the mid-1980s and watched with amazement how political correctness erupted. I had always blamed people like Stalin or Beria for censorship, but now I realized that many intellectuals want it too! Such people will always want censorship; they will always want to be oppressors because they always pretend to be oppressed”. — Vladimir Bukovsky.
  • “When they tell kids, kindergarten, 5, 6 years old, that they are bad because they are in this race, or they are oppressed if they are in this group, and children cannot disagree, this is very bad because they cannot change their skin color or where they are from. They did not choose to be this race or that race, they are Americans, we are all Americans, and if we are fighting each other over this ideology, I agree with that when people say that this will destroy America. This is what happened under Mao and the Cultural Revolution….If you disagree or say something different they punish you…. You have no free thought”. — Lei Zhang, Carolina Journal, July 2, 2021.
  • “As a community, we face an important choice. We can succumb to extreme left ideology and spend the rest of our lives ghost-chasing and witch-hunting, rewriting history, politicizing science, redefining elements of language, and turning STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education into a farce. Or we can uphold a key principle of democratic society—the free and uncensored exchange of ideas….” — Anna Krylov, who was born in the Soviet Union, and is now a Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, June 10, 2021.
  • Today, those who fled from Communist regimes see — most dangerously — the same censorship and totalitarian suppression repeated in America’s democracy. They know better than we do what freedom of thought means, and the price we must pay to defend it.
Garry Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion from Russia, noted the “self-destructive spiral of the West”: it damages its cultural heritage instead of defending it. Regarding the weakness of Western leaders, Kasparov told Le Figaro: “Where are the de Gaulles and the Churchills? I see a crowd of Chamberlain and Daladier…. I was shocked to see the rush to debunk historical figures judged by our current criteria. The West should be proud of them instead of hating itself”. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Today in America there is a new generation of exiles from Communist regimes fighting a new political correctness, called wokeism.

Czeslaw Milosz, before he was a Nobel laureate for Literature and author of The Captive Mind, fought two totalitarianisms in his native country, Poland: first Nazism, then Communism, which took its place. In 1945, after joining the Polish diplomatic service, Milosz was appointed cultural attaché to the embassy in New York, where he served until being recalled in 1950. In 1951, he defected to France.

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The Case of Joe Rogan: Vaccine Policy and Freedom of Speech, by Finn Andreen

When government officials attack Joe Rogan for questioning their narrative, it stifles expression among the millions who don’t have Rogan’s fame and fortune. From Finn Andreen at mises.org:

Recently, Joe Rogan, one of the largest podcast hosts in the United States (10.6 million YouTube subscribers), expressed the following opinion about the vaccination of young adults:

If you are 21 and ask me if you should get the vaccine, I would say “no”. If you are a healthy person and exercise all the time, and are young and eat well, I don’t think you have to worry about this.

This comment created a furor in the United States, where the government’s target is vaccination of the entire adult population. For these few sentences he received a sharp reprimand from the White House and Dr. Fauci, who accused Rogan of being selfish and endangering vulnerable members of society.

Given the very low covid risk for this age group, Rogan’s comments seem to make some sense. Wouldn’t it be more altruistic, rather than selfish, to let a vaccine dose first go to someone who needs it more? Either way, such criticism is ludicrous when it comes from a government that so often acts contrary to the interests of society.

Additionally, considering the way in which the covid vaccines were launched, some skepticism on the part of Joe Rogan, and the general population, seems warranted. Indeed, these vaccines have become available so quickly that their Phase II and the Phase III development has been conducted in parallel and is not yet completed. In the US, the covid vaccines are currently approved only as emergency measures by the FDA, though nearly 260 million Americans have already been vaccinated.

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At a certain point, even the Gestapo had to stop cancelling people, by Simon Black

Horrors! There’s an internet service called Clubhouse where you can talk with others under the assurance that your words won’t be recorded and you can say what you want without fear. This service must be stopped before people start questioning cancel culture. From Simon Black at sovereign man.com:

On April 26, 1933, the interior minister for the German state of Prussia issued a decree creating a new secret state police, or Geheime Staats Polizei, abbreviated: Gestapo.

The Gestapo was tasked with stamping out all opposition to Germany’s new Chancellor and the party he brought to power one year earlier.

It operated by collecting tips from ordinary citizens, including even school children. And this network of Gestapo informants changed Germans’ behavior almost overnight.

Even a joke about the ruling party could land you in a Gestapo interrogation room. Talking politics around your children became a dangerous gamble.

According to Erik Larson’s book In the Garden of Beasts, 37% of denunciations “arose not from heartfelt political beliefs, but from private conflicts with the trigger often breathtakingly trivial.”

For example in one case, a grocery store clerk reported a customer who insisted on receiving the wrong change. The customer was accused of tax fraud.

Another man lent a banned book to his friend, and was quickly denounced by his friend’s wife.

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The Government’s War on Free Speech: Protest Laws Undermine the First Amendment, By John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead

We have all the laws we need to deal with crime linked to protests. The current batch of laws purportedly to deal with crime linked to protests are more about curbing First Amendment freedoms of assembly, speech, and petitioning the government for redress of grievances. From John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”— George Washington

It’s a given that the government is corrupt, unaccountable, and has exceeded its authority.

So what can we do about it?

The first remedy involves speech (protest, assembly, speech, prayer, and publicity), and lots of it, in order to speak truth to power.

The First Amendment, which is the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights, affirms the right of “we the people” to pray freely about our grievances regarding the government. We can gather together peacefully to protest those grievances. We can publicize those grievances. And we can express our displeasure (peacefully) in word and deed.

Unfortunately, tyrants don’t like people who speak truth to power.

The American Police State has shown itself to be particularly intolerant of free speech activities that challenge its authority, stand up to its power grabs, and force it to operate according to the rules of the Constitution.

Cue the rise of protest laws, the police state’s go-to methods for muzzling discontent.

These protest laws, some of which appear to encourage violence against peaceful protesters by providing immunity to individuals who drive their car into protesters impeding traffic and use preemptive deadly force against protesters who might be involved in a riot, take intolerance for speech with which one might disagree to a whole new level.

Ever since the Capitol protests on Jan. 6, 2021, state legislatures have introduced a broad array of these laws aimed at criminalizing protest activities. Yet while the growing numbers of protest laws cropping up across the country are being marketed as necessary to protect private property, public roads or national security, they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a thinly disguised plot to discourage anyone from challenging government authority at the expense of our First Amendment rights.

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House Impeachment Brief Against Trump Threatens Freedom of Speech of All Americans: Dershowitz

If the president of the United States doesn’t have the right to free speech, who does? From Tom Ozimek at theepochtimes.com:

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that the House impeachment brief against former President Donald Trump, which seeks to undermine Trump’s First Amendment-based argument in his defense, amounts to a dangerous broadside against the freedom of speech of all Americans.

Writing in an op-ed for The Hill, Dershowitz made a case against a key argument contained in the brief (pdf), namely that “the First Amendment does not apply at all to impeachment proceedings,” signals Congressional willingness to take aim at freedom of speech more broadly.

“The brief filed by the House managers advocating the conviction and disqualification of citizen Donald Trump contains a frontal attack on freedom of speech for all Americans,” Dershowitz wrote. “It states categorically that ‘the First Amendment does not apply at all to impeachment proceedings,’ despite the express language of that amendment prohibiting Congress from making any law, or presumably taking any other action, that abridges ‘the freedom of speech.’”

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MSM calls for “new definition of free speech”, by Kit Knightly

Be aware of new definitions, especially of old favorites like “free speech.” From Kit Knightly at off-guardian.org:

New buzzwords in the mainstream media bubble spell trouble for those outside it

Part of the main duty of OffGuardian is to troll through the masses of media output and try and pick up patterns. Sometimes the patterns are subtle, a gentle urging behind the paragraphs. Sometimes they’re more like a sledgehammer to the face.

This has been face-hammer week. In fact, it’s been a face-hammer year.

From “flatten the curve” to “the new normal” to “the great reset”, it’s not been hard to spot the messaging going on since the start of the “pandemic”. And that distinct lack of disguise has carried over into other topics, too.

We pointed out, a few days ago, the sudden over-use of the phrase “domestic terrorism” preparing us for what is, almost certainly, going to be a truly horrendous piece of new legislation once Biden is in office.

Well, the buzz-phrase doing the rounds in the wake of Donald Trump being banned from the internet is “the new definition of free speech”…and variations on that theme.

Firstly, and papers on both sides of the Atlantic want to be very clear about this, Donald Trump being banned simultaneously from every major social network is not in any way inhibiting his free speech.

Indeed none of the tens of thousands of people banned from twitter et al. have had their free speech infringed either. Neither have any of the proprietors – or users – of the Parler app which the tech giants bullied out of existence.

Free Speech is totally intact no matter how many people are banned or deplatformed, the media all agree on that (even the allegedly pro-free speech think tanks).

They also agree that maybe…it shouldn’t be. Maybe “free speech” is too dangerous in our modern era, and needs a “new definition”.

That’s what Ian Dunt writing in Politics.co.uk thinks, anyway, arguing it’s time to have a “grown-up debate” about free speech.

The Financial Times agrees, asking about the “limits of free-speech in the internet era”.

Thomas Edsall, in the New York Times, wonders aloud if Trump’s “lies” have made free speech a “threat to democracy”.

The Conversation, a UK-based journal often at the cutting edge of the truly terrifying ideas, has three different articles about redefining or limiting free speech, all published within 4 days of each other.

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The Masks Are Coming Off, by Rob Slane

Nobody is even trying to hide the accelerating descent into totalitarianism anymore. From Rob Slane at theblogmire.com:

I had intended to start the New Year with a heart-warming piece entitled, “2021: The Year of Censorship of Dissent”. It would have been a somewhat prophetical piece, shocking some readers with predictions of a coming crackdown on dissent, and causing others to hoot with laughter because they haven’t quite caught up with the times we are in. You know, the types who say things like “Oh perrrlease! Social Media companies are private companies and they have the right to decide who they allow on their platform” and “Stop making out it’s the gulag” etc.

Unfortunately, my plans were scuppered by the fact that media and social media companies — let’s call them Global Pravda — have come out of the blocks even earlier than even I anticipated, and have been censoring left right and centre. As a result, my intended “prophetical” utterance seems like yesterday’s news.

We’ve had the censoring of Talk Radio on YouTube. Although this was then restored after intervention at the highest level, I understand some of the wonderful conversations between Mike Graham and Peter Hitchens are still banned. YouTube have also banned videos from extremely qualified scientists around the world, including two lengthy interviews given in English by one of the most qualified microbiologists on planet earth, Professor Sucharit Bhakdi.

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Now they want to cancel the First Amendment, by Mike Hume

Freedom of speech was always a dangerous and risky idea, just like a lot of things that make life worth living. From Mike Hume at spiked-online.org:

The claim that President Trump is guilty of ‘incitement to violence’ is a threat to free speech for all.

President Donald Trump has never been a friend or fan of the precious First Amendment to the American Constitution, which protects freedom of speech. But the First Amendment does not care; it still protects the right of President Trump to express his opinions, just like everybody else.

This is what makes the attempts to ‘cancel’ Trump in Congress and across social media, for allegedly inciting the violence at the Capitol, so dangerous. Because those who want to silence and eject an elected president for saying the ‘wrong’ things are really trying to rewrite the meaning of the First Amendment, which would lead to restrictions on free speech for all.

It is not a question of supporting outgoing President Trump’s attempts to cling to office or endorsing anything he has said. This is about something much more important than the Donald. It is about upholding the fundamental freedom of all Americans, from the president and politicians to any fool or fanatic, to express what they think is the truth.

Adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment to the American Constitution remains the global gold standard on free-speech legislation. It states clearly and concisely that ‘Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’. One of the few exceptions recognised by the US Supreme Court is that there is no ‘right’ to use speech to incite violence or lawless action.

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