The Left’s war on free speech is well underway. In less than a generation (or a Supreme Court Justice or two), we could find ourselves incapable of saying what we think about a wide range of things, which begs the question.
If suppressing speech is justified as a means for protecting marginalized groups, what happens when free speech advocates become marginalized? We already know.
Most professional journalists, young and old, still pay lip service to the First Amendment, and they certainly believe that it protects their work, but they’re increasingly eager for others to be “de-platformed” or “no-platformed,” as today’s censors like to put it—effectively silenced.
The empire needs a voice “for the people,” and it has one.
The New Establishment same as the Old
Being a pro-speech socialist is only a thing until you have the power to silence everyone else. And then you do. And they have. And they teach.
The modern College campus, the spawning ground for tomorrow’s journalists, politicians, business leaders, and – thanks to the social justice inclusive equity diversity Stasi – thought police, is silencing dissent through intimidation, violence, or the threat of violence.
These mostly younger progressive journalists lead campaigns to get conservative journalists fired, banned from Twitter, and “de-monetized” on YouTube. They don’t burn books, but they’ve successfully pressured Amazon to stop selling titles that they deem offensive. They encourage advertising boycotts designed to put ideological rivals out of business. They’re loath to report forthrightly on left-wing censorship and violence, even when fellow journalists get attacked. They equate conservatives’ speech with violence and rationalize leftists’ actual violence as . . . speech.
There is no shortage of warnings in my work about this journey nor the absence of named names. Elected persons pushing to advance social and political structures disguised as defenders of human rights. Acts, measures, boards, or committees whose mandate cannot help but step on your first amendment rights.
Human rights commissions. Diversity Councils. Legislation aimed at redefining political speech as stalking or harassment. Even campaign finance reform measures. Every one of them is a nail in the free speech coffin, sold as a form of equity or justice, but whose purpose is to institutionalize state control over speech and voluntary association.
We Must Cancel the ‘Cancel Culture.’
The only people who can save liberty, for it cannot breathe without free speech, are regular Americans who may not even see the threat this represents. Sure, journalists, activists, lowly bloggers such as ourselves, can string this rare and sacred thing along for a while. But “progress” yearns to take us backward to a time when the wrong word might get you jailed, beaten, or even killed.
It should not be lost on you that we are already(more or less) there. At a tipping point. That despite a favorable opinion in the highest court of the land, even among the liberal justices, speech is not free. State organs, parties, and ax-grinding activists oppress you and your words at every opportunity. You are stereo-typed into silence. Masked thugs assault you. The government jails you. Online trolls get you blocked or de-platformed.
Free speech comes with a high cost that can include legal and court fees, and quite often the loss of occupations, incomes, and livelihoods you never get back even if you win.
That’s part of the plan. Make the price of defending the right so high that it is no longer cost-effective to fight for it. The result is self-censorship, and again, we are already there — a place where they use our desire for liberty against us. Where we must defend their right to protect our own. And defend it we shall. All of it. We must. Even when it pains us to do so, because without it, we marginalize liberty, and without liberty, all is lost.
And Journalism is not going to save us.