If the modern war on free speech had a name, we would call it disinformation. Becasue the people predisposed to such tactics also argue that they have an obligation to protect you from liars without acknowledging their own “historically rocky relationship with truth.”
We mean politicians, bureaucrats, the swamp rats, and their media water-carriers. The ruling class.
They prevaricate, exaggerate, and in many cases lie outright. About what? Everything. Yet they are the chosen gatekeepers for truth?
JD Tuccille, writing at Reason, points out what should seem obvious.
None of these fans of speech restrictions explicitly advocate suppression of activists or ideologies; they favor controls on what they claim are false, extremist, or misleading communications. But they don’t explain why reversing speech protections would accomplish their goals when misinformation existed long before modern jurisprudence, filling the pages of the country’s newspapers and fueling political contests despite legal peril. Nor do they explain why they’re so eager to hand more control over speech to government officials who have a historically rocky relationship with truth.
Why indeed. Not that you need do much.
The first amendment exists to prevent people in political power from securing a monopoly on the meaning of truth. So, why not use communication oligarchs as speech suppressing gun mols who ride shotgun in your war against opposing ideas.
Not government agencies but agents of the government. Black-clad mercenaries codenamed Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Google, and so on, who “disappear” your ability to speak or associate in the dark of night. Always along partisan lines.
No speech for you.
And forget about honest mistakes or any option for correction or retraction. The militant anti-speech ‘misinformation’ mavens demand your excommunication from the arena of ideas unless it’s their misinformation.
Protections for free speech, it’s worth pointing out, aren’t some perfect counter to false and extreme ideas. Instead, they’re a recognition of core individual rights. But they’re also a pragmatic acknowledgment that putting government agencies in charge of suppressing misinformation just gives one team of bullshit artists an advantage over their less-powerful competitors.
And we’ve arrived at that destination alongside the happy harpies on the corporatist media hunting grounds. Bullshit artists wielding multi-billion-dollar-might that protect their monopoly, not just on ideas but where you find them. Market share. Eyeballs, clicks, and page views.
It is coercive, corrosive, intolerant, and the standard by which people in power continue to advance on the free speech beachhead intent on conquering the landscape and freeing us from that risky, awkward, and uncomfortably outdated concept known as freedom.”
“Of course, Twitter is a private company,” Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny cautioned after the tech giant suspended Donald Trump’s account in the wake of the Capitol riot. “But we have seen many examples in Russian and China of such private companies becoming the state’s best friends and the enablers when it comes to censorship.”
Except freedom is not old or outdated. It’s still relatively new, but not long for what is left of the western world unless we join together to fight back. I, for one, will stand on that beach and repel these invaders.
The Supreme Court has been with us, but the bullshitters have a plan for that too. Without mass public support for what Orwell called the right to tell people what they do not want to hear, Free Speech has been given a shelf life, and it will expire.
And once it’s gone, it won’t just be for the speech you thought you opposed. They’ll come for yours too. They always do.