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.
The British tradition of civil liberties, exported to the US and many other parts of the old empire, is fading fast. From Andrew Ash at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- It has become an almost daily occurrence to find news stories of parents being ‘called out’ by their newly politicised children for expressing on social media ‘wrong’, ‘unwoke’ views, or of people being fired for something they may or may not have said years ago.
- This sense of entitlement has come to characterise a group whose younger demographic seem to have no comprehension of the horrors of a war — or indeed, of many authentic hardships — in their own relatively comfortable lives.
- This lack of respect for, or understanding of, history, along with an apparent need to invent, import, or re-animate grievances from the past, then lead these protestors to advocate inflicting what they decide is the appropriate revenge for a grievance on people who have had no part in causing it.
- Tolerance is to be expected only from others…. One man’s freedom, it seems, has become another man’s cause for resentment.
- The protestors’ dismissal of British heritage, a bid to ‘cancel’ history, appears a threat to the nation. We supposedly have nothing to be proud of. Our achievements have presumably been little more than the spoils of an evil, bigoted patriarchal system. These malcontents, by pledging allegiance to the Marxist architects of that narrative, not only insult the memory of those who have fought and died for the freedoms we now take for granted; they are also two-stepping towards totalitarianism.
|When the statue of Winston Churchill in London’s Parliament Square was vandalised, the police, evidently held hostage to political correctness, stood by and watched as their role was publicly undermined by open disregard for the law. (Photo by Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)
There was a time when the British were known for their stoicism, their ability to battle through hardship, no matter the odds. The so called ‘blitz spirit’ of eighty years ago, that saw the nation ‘pull together and carry on’, regardless of the Nazi bombardment of our cities, characterised a generation that had suffered two world wars yet could not be bowed.
During the Covid pandemic, however, this ‘blitz spirit’ has been noticeably absent. There has been certainly very little in the way of a nation pulling together; in its place, there has been just a lot of bickering, mud-slinging and name calling-among politicians, activists, and the increasingly fragmented populace.
There’s almost always at least a grain of truth in the speech you try to shut down. From Walter Williams at lewrockwell.com:
The violence, looting and mayhem that this nation has seen over the last several months has much of its roots in academia, where leftist faculty teach immature young people all manner of nonsense that contradicts commonsense and the principles of liberty. Chief among their lessons is a need to attack free speech in the form of prohibitions against so-called hate speech and microaggressions. Here are examples of microaggressions: “You are a credit to your race.” “Wow! How did you become so good in math?” “There is only one race, the human race.” “I’m not racist. I have several black friends.” “As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.”
It is a tragic state of affairs when free speech and inquiry require protection at institutions of higher learning. Indeed, freedom in the marketplace of ideas has made the United States, as well as other Western nations, a leader in virtually every area of human endeavor. A monopoly of ideas is just as dangerous as a monopoly in political power or a monopoly in the production of goods and services.
We might ask what is the true test of a person’s commitment to free speech? The true test does not come when he permits people to say those things he deems acceptable. The true test comes when he permits people to say those things that he deems offensive. The identical principle applies to freedom of association; its true test comes when someone permits others to voluntarily associate in ways that he deems offensive.
Censorship is what tyrants do. From Gary D. Barnett at lewrockwell.com:
“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
~ John Stuart Mill, On Liberty ch. 2 (1859)
Tyranny requires that the truth be silenced, that real history be erased and rewritten, that speech be restricted, and that individual thought be silenced. In this time of constant turmoil, false flags, wars, civil unrest, and now internal bio-terrorism and manufactured pandemics, a major agenda of the state apparatus is to silence all dissent, and mandate conformity. It is imperative considering the state’s plan for total control that it stifle criticism and retain the power to control the mainstream narrative, while aggressively eliminating all other resistance and questioning. This is the state of the world that we live in today. As things continue to deteriorate, nonconformance cannot be allowed if global governance and a global reset are to be successful.
Current censorship has reached levels not seen in the past, and with all the advanced technology available, this nefarious plot to silence the thinkers and hide the truth could affect all forms of speech. It is getting much more difficult to find truthful information, as those like Google, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and many other venues are eliminating content and access to content at a blistering pace. A day rarely goes by without something I am reading or researching on these sites being taken down or hidden. This can only lead to a world consumed by propaganda alone, thus guaranteeing that only the state narrative will be presented in any mainstream or easily accessible format. This is a dangerous situation, especially considering the likelihood that through vaccination or other methods, much of the population could soon become subject to transhuman experimentation where injectable nanoparticles and chips could be used to alter human behavior.
You get a pretty good idea of the health of a society by its government’s attitude towards speech. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
“I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire (1694-1778)
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he included in it a list of the colonists’ grievances with the British government. Notably absent were any complaints that the British government infringed upon the freedom of speech.
In those days, speech was as acerbic as it is today. If words were aimed at Parliament, all words were lawful. If they were aimed directly and personally at the king — as Jefferson’s were in the Declaration — they constituted treason.
Needless to say, Jefferson and the 55 others who signed the Declaration would all have been hanged for treasonous speech had the British prevailed.
Of course, the colonists won the war, and, six years afterward, the 13 states ratified the Constitution. Two years after ratification, the Constitution was amended by adding the Bill of Rights. The first ratified amendment prohibited Congress from doing what the colonists never seriously complained about the British government doing — infringing upon the freedom of speech.
The noose tightens on whatever remains of free speech in France. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- Private companies will now be obliged to act as thought police on behalf of the French state or face heavy fines.
- “Under the pretext of fighting ‘hateful’ content on the Internet, it [the Avia law] is setting up a system of censorship that is as effective as it is dangerous… ‘hate’ is the pretext systematically used by those who want to silence dissenting opinions…. A democracy worthy of its name should accept freedom of expression.” — Guillaume Roquette, editorial director of Le Figaro Magazine, May 22, 2020.
- “What is hate? You have the right not to love… you have the right to love, you have the right to hate. It’s a feeling… It cannot be judicialized, legislated.” — Éric Zemmour, CNews, May 13, 2020.
- Asking private companies — or the government — to act as thought police does not belong in a state that claims to follow a democratic rule of law. Unfortunately, the question is not whether France will be the last European country to introduce such censorship laws, but what other countries are next in line.
With a new law, the French government has decided to delegate the task of state censorship to online platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Private companies will now be obliged to act as thought police on behalf of the French state or face heavy fines. (Images source: iStock)
On May 13, the French parliament adopted a law that requires online platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat to remove reported “hateful content” within 24 hours and “terrorist content” within one hour. Failure to do so could result in exorbitant fines of up to €1.25 million or 4% of the platform’s global revenue in cases of repeated failure to remove the content.
Is what is perhaps the US’s best university faltering in its commitment to free speech? From Benjamin Schwarz at spiked-online.org:
The University of Chicago was always a bastion of free speech. But even there, freedom is now under threat.
From its founding in 1890, the University of Chicago has occupied a singular place among American universities. Lacking the ancient lineages and social cachet of the Ivy League schools (Chicago welcomed women and Jews at a time when Harvard, et al, excluded the former and imposed strict quotas on the latter), Chicago, which is consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 universities, has always been known for its fierce intellectualism. ‘I think the one place where I have been that is most like ancient Athens’, the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once declared, ‘is the University of Chicago’. Indeed, whereas the Ivy League universities, Stanford and their ilk, admitted – and continue to admit – their undergraduates based on such qualities as athletic ability, family connections, and that vague attribute known as ‘leadership’, students came to Chicago because they prized what it still venerates as ‘the life of the mind’. (Chicago’s students score on average higher on the SAT – a national standardised test that assesses academic aptitude – than do those at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford).
Rock solid precedent and the First Amendment support Julian Assange, and if American justice is not completely corrupted (a debatable assumption), they will carry the day for Assange if he’s extradited from the UK. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” — First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
In the oral argument of the famous U.S. Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Pentagon Papers Case, the late Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the “no law” language in the First Amendment to mean literally no law. The setting was an appeal of the Nixon administration’s temporarily successful efforts to bar The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing documents stolen from the Department of Defense by a civilian employee, Daniel Ellsberg.
The documents were a government-written history of the Vietnam War, which revealed that President Lyndon B. Johnson and his secretaries of defense and state and the military’s top brass materially misrepresented the status of the war to the American people. Stated differently, they regularly, consistently and systematically lied to the public and the news media.
Though LBJ was retired, Nixon did not want this unvarnished version of the war he was still fighting to make its way into the public arena. The Nixon DOJ persuaded a federal district court judge to enjoin the publication of the documents because they contained classified materials and they had been stolen.
Many of the people taking shots at Facebook and other social media giants’ control of the “narrative” don’t want anything resembling free speech or a free press, they simply want to exercise their own control over those companies. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
The push for speech control escalates. There is now a concentration of stories concerning social media companies and their role in shaping political thought.
We are nine months from a pivotal presidential election in the U.S. and the push is on to ensure that the outcome goes the way those in power want it to.
Three times in as many weeks billionaire busybody George Soros has attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding he be removed because he is working to re-elect Donald Trump.
This seems like an absurdity. But it isn’t. It’s all part of the game plan.
Create a controversy that isn’t real to seed a narrative that there’s a problem in need of a solution. Facebook has been the center of this controversy to inflame passions on both sides of the political aisle to ensure the desired outcome.
They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.