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The Murdering Of Free Speech In America

In Cato’s 15th letter, the writers who compiled the series of essays under a pen name inspired by the Roman senator who stood against the tyranny of Julius Caesar argued that “freedom of speech is the great bulwark of liberty; they prosper and die together.” Today, we are watching that death play out before us.

President Joe Biden, whose growing unpopularity is well-deserved, continued to carry on last week what has become a Democratic tradition: He asked the private sector to become partners in censorship with the federal government.

“I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets, please deal with disinformation and misinformation that’s on your shows,” he said during a virtual meeting from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “It has to stop.”

Of course, Big Tech and the legacy media have been happy to oblige.

“​​When the leader of the majority party in Washington, D.C., issues a demand, the largest corporations listen,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted in response to Biden’s “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” proposition.

“Again: so much of the censorship from Google and other tech monopolies is done not on their own accord but under pressure and threats from Democratic Party leaders.”

Nearly a year ago, Greenwald wrote in his Substack newsletter that “​​in their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.”

He was referring to “the third time in less than five months” that lawmakers had “summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms.”

A few months later, the Biden administration “announced that government officials are working directly with Facebook to limit the spread of ‘misinformation.’” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that “we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook.”

Then there is Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat from Connecticut who has demanded, says George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, “that Big Tech companies commit to even more ‘robust content modification,’” which is “an Orwellian term for censorship.”

Adds Turley: “The public is now required to discuss public controversies within the lines and limits set by corporate censors – with the guidance of the government.”

We believe that private companies have the right to determine who may and may not participate in their forums, and our free press is at liberty to publish – or not publish – whatever it wishes. As others have said, it’s just business. It can also be personal. That’s just the messiness of freedom.

But when social media and the press are censoring at the behest of the government, when they become agents of the state, the threat to the First Amendment is real.

Tyrants have always feared and suppressed speech, and the Democratic Party is lousy with authoritarians who want not to govern but to rule as a single party. We see this in not only their pressure on the private sector to rid them of meddlesome characters who express ideas and make statements they don’t like but in their legislative agenda. They have an insatiable lust for permanent, unfettered control of government at all levels.

That’s the “democracy” the Democrats keep talking about saving in the next election. They crave it so intensely they’re willing to kill freedom of speech in exchange for a throne.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

11 comments

  • When you think that the right wing has hit the bottom of the pit, they find a way to go deeper. These guys would now demand the “freedom” to yell Fire in a crowded, dark movie theater. They will defend lies about vaccines, allowing Americans to die due to proven lies. These people spread proven falsehoods about election cheating – when we have proven over and over that the 2020 General election was free and fair.

    Our elected officials have the obligation to prevent those people without integrity from spreading known lies and the US Government is trying to prevent those lies from being spread. Our government also has an obligation to prevent people from selling fraudulent health cures and they try to do that, even though some still profit off of pushing hydrocloroquine and similar substances.

    • CDP – Keep on drinking the Kook-Aid … yes, it was a free & fair election.80 million people voted for a dementia patient who didn’t campaign … that’s believable. Who could possibly question the truth of that/!!!

    • @Charles David Phillips tells us he belongs to a cult without telling us he belongs to a cult.
      His kind cheered Hitler when he blamed the jews.
      Lenin when he blamed the bourgeois.
      Stalin when he blamed the Kulaks.
      Now he cheers dr death blaming the unvaxed.
      His big regret in life is he wasnt one of Maos Red Guard.
      You have a problem charles and normally it would be YOUR problem.
      The problem is, your problem is blaming others for your problems, and that is a problem for the rest of the world who dont care about your problems.
      That 3 booster has rotted your brain.
      Take your meds.
      Leave the nice world alone.

    • Charles, you are the target of the article…and you didn’t even realize it.

      On second thought, it could be a parody. SO hard to tell these days.

    • Schenk v US (1919) was a draft resistance case. Charles T. Schenk was sent to prison for printing and distributing 15,000 flyers urging men to refuse induction into the US Army if they were drafted for World War I. The printing and distribution of the leaflets was “shouting fire in a crowded theater.” It’s not the law today, as anyone who remembers Vietnam War draft resistance can easily tell you.

      The Bill of Rights is absolute. There is no exception for lies or misinformation. Anyone who says censorship is OK is a domestic enemy of the Constitution, which as a Vietnam Era veteran, I took an oath to protect and defend against all enemies.

      Our elected officials also took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, including the right to free speech and freedom of the press. Your contention that there’s a duty to censor is completely false. In fact, the duty is precisely the opposite, to fight censorship.

  • “Tyrants…authoritarians…insatiable lust for permanent, unfettered control of government at all levels. That’s the “democracy” the Democrats keep talking about saving in the next election.” I&I

    Excellent I&I Editorial, gets it right. Tyranny is an inevitable end product. The Austrian economists Hayek & Mises realized this almost a century ago. Nothing good can come of fascist-style collaborations between ruling political parties, social media, mass media, big tech, et al. to silence diversity of beliefs and cancel opposition views labeled misinformation. But I can understand it as part of the power play to attain Absolute Power in a divided country. A Soviet or Eastern German style police state and controlled media is a way to force your ideology down everyone’s throat, for a period of time. It worked for nearly a century in the Soviet Union, and several decades in East Germany. Since the paid consultants helping draft the original Patriot Act included the head of the KGB and Marcus Wolfe who founded the East German Stasi, the USA result should not be a complete surprise. Canceling free speech and substituting ruling party dogma in the name of combating disinformation (opposing views deemed wrong) is 20th century retro. Didn’t work then, and won’t work now. If the next election is free and honest, USA results will be like Virginia. Hence, the crackdowns and cancellations are intensifying.

    • …and those names are almost always along the lines of (((blumenthal))) as above.

      • Nonsense. I know lots of conservative Jewish Republicans, and even more non-Jewish woke idiots. My Jewish grandfather was a Republican, a personal friend of Minority Leader Senator Everett Dirksen. Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, his wife Ivanka, and their children are all Jews. This ain’t about religion. It’s about politics. Take your allies wherever you find them.

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 




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