“Bad things happen when you don’t pay attention to the signs around you.”
Years ago, when I was getting my certification for open water scuba diving, my instructor hammered home one constant theme: “Bad things happen when you don’t pay attention to the signs around you.”
Diving is an inherently dangerous individual activity. You have to pay close attention to your gear, gauges, surroundings, and other divers for vital information. Over the years and many dives later, complacency set in, and on one extremely anxious dive, I placed myself in real danger because I’d ignored critical and obvious signs.
Freedom is like that. It is an inherently dangerous individual activity as well. Bad things happen when you ignore the signs around you. You can’t ever be complacent.
Over the decades, I’ve written many dozens of articles on the “war” against freedom of personal expression – free speech. It is the most important front in the ongoing war against the Republic’s founding documents by the Democrat socialist party and their extremist collectivist apparatchiks throughout the permanent government.
Since the Obama Administration and its “fundamental transformation of the country” agenda, the radicals have aggressively drafted into their cause the non-governmental organizations that feed off the government and major corporations and international conglomerates whose interest is monopolizing markets. In turn, the recruits have mastered the use of laws or lawfare to “legitimize” their actions and recirculate money for the political class. It’s a classic strong-arm “protection” model used by organized crime and gangsters.
With the power of the administrative government, the death grip of academia, and now the growing axis of NGO and corporate complicity, the radical wannabe totalitarians of the new American order no longer hide the goal of dismantling the Republic. They imagine themselves as the masters of the new utopia to come.
The Wuhan Express pandemic was the perfect test for modeling what can be expected in the “new era” – if left unchallenged. The goal is to replace personal liberty with social compliance. Education, food, housing, energy, healthcare, information structures, and lifestyles will be shaped for you and against you. It will be a group, not an individual preference. Forget equality. Think equity. And God is defiantly out. Economics and the fist of government will make it so. Like it or lump it.
Suppose the radicals can win this critical battle over free speech and crush the right of intellectual and political dissent. In that case, ending religious freedom and the right to assemble becomes an easy matter – and the radicals consider “religious freedom” the magic ring. Once taken, the rest of the Bill of Rights falls like dinner plates hitting the floor. They’re the guardhouse to the rest of the constitutional order, and to lose them may well be to lose the core ethos for human liberty forever.
This past week two of the radical left’s icons, former President Barack Obama and former candidate and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, joined the hard push against free speech. Two of the most politically radical, corrupt, and vacuous politicians of the modern age have lept in front of the parade to lead a fresh assault on freedom. They both twist and rearrange the language, so they don’t have to say “free speech.” It’s traded for undefinable abstractions like”disinformation,” “harmful content,” and “extremism.”
Mr. Obama called himself “pretty much a free speech absolutist” to fly the flag of his self-proclaimed teaching days on the constitution. “But” (always be wary of the “but”) he went straight to the claim that the First Amendment did not protect the social media platforms against the battle over misinformation and harmful content. “Just like every industry with an impact on our society, these [social media] platforms need to be subject to some oversight.”
He didn’t even smile at his own joke.
(The near-monopoly status of the giant social media platforms is protected by the Communication Decency Act, Section 230, which doesn’t treat the platforms as “publishers.” This twist eliminates their legal responsibility for the posted content. It also allows the platforms to moderate content by removing posts when acting in “good faith.”)
Mr. Obama, ever the dilettante at the ball, went on: “A regulatory structure, a smart one, needs to be in place, designed in consultation with tech companies, and experts and communities that are affected, including communities of color and others that sometimes are not well represented here in Silicon Valley, that will allow these companies to operate effectively while also slowing the spread of harmful content.”
Whatever that means isn’t good, you can be sure.
Mrs. Clinton, for her part, followed the same line of obfuscation of the actual core issue of freedom of expression and political thought. She publicly extolled the EU’s proposed draconian regulations, the Digital Service Act. Under the Act, the EU bureaucrats will have broad new authority to punish “hate speech,” “dangerous misinformation,” and “political extremism.” All undefined, of course.
As if on cue, yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the brand-spanking-new Disinformation Governance Board he established within DHS before Congress. It’s a blatantly unconstitutional “board,” but so what? Mr. Mayorkas said the board’s focus would be information “that imperils the safety and security of the homeland, with a chief emphasis on anything connected to violence.” Really? (Ironically, Mr. Myorkas was born in Cuba to parents who had to flee the country after the communists came to power. Now he now wants to do to the US what the commies did to Cuba. Go figure.)
That the Democrat Socialists have staked an “anti-free speech” claim is hardly news, of course. However, the opposition Republicans are barely better. When they still controlled Congress, they too pushed vague “hate speech” resolutions and ignored protecting free speech. In the summer of 2020 they yielded what little moral authority they had to the nation’s most radical and violent voices. Republican silence abetted ultra-radicals that set dozens of cities ablaze, destroyed thousands of businesses, causing billions of dollars of damage, looting, while leaving dozens dead.
The Republicans always seem anxious to discard the rule of law for the rule of convenience and power. They lost both houses of Congress as a result in 2020, which gives one little confidence should they return to power in the upcoming 2022 elections.
It is blindingly apparent that freedom of speech – and the free exercise of religion – won’t be saved by the increasingly corrupted and self-serving permanent government that doesn’t support these rights to begin with. Nor will it be the politicians bought and sold by special interests on the radical left or the international globalist crowd.
Nor will these core freedoms be saved by the major “media and entertainment complex” or taxpayer-dependent academia, which long ago converted to an authoritarian brand of radical statism.
And certainly, the feeble religious leaders of many denominations will be of no help.
If individual citizens won’t defend the freedom to speak the truth and practice their individual faith at any cost, what will they defend? If these central freedoms are lost, do any other freedoms even matter?
This election season every Congressional and Senate campaign event should be crammed not with adoring partisans or followers, but with white hot citizens demanding that every candidate take a clear stand – do you support freedom of speech – all speech – and the Bill of Rights? And what will you do in Washington to protect those God-ordained freedoms? Maybe the time is here for about ten million citizens to march into Washington with bullhorns, demanding to be heard. “Don’t tread on our freedom.”
We are on our own. If the freedom of expression and the right to dissent stand, it will be because citizens save it, not because the “ruling class” wants it.