When I observe what is happening to America—the country in which I grew up, in which I was educated, and that I served in the U.S. Army—I am appalled. Anarchy, violence, looting. This is NOT the country I know and love. This is an aberration, a disfigurement of our Republic.
America’s past is a checkered one. No doubt about it. Slavery, discrimination, lynching. They are stains on our history; blemishes on an imperfect nation. Yet, America remains the only country where people can strive freely for a more perfect union, where they are free to speak their minds, to protest, to worship as they wish, to be individuals, to pursue happiness, and to hold elected officials accountable without fear of retribution.
Today, some want to rip our nation apart and divide us into belligerent tribes based on race, religion, ethnicity, wealth, poverty, achievement, failure, livelihood, and political power. As a firm believer in America’s motto: E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One) I will oppose the tribalists to my last breath.
For the next several days I am reposting commentaries from Americans of all races and occupations who are as concerned as I am about this attempt to obliterate our country from within. I hope you will find them as illuminating and significant as I have.
Free Speech is Under Full Assault
By: J.G. Carter
Increasingly, we see people holding unpopular views being attacked and refused a forum in which to speak. Through the threat of force and censorship to control people’s speech, free speech is under full assault. History is replete with others using similar tactics. As in the times before the Nazi rise to power, the Soviet gulag era, and Mao’s revolution, similar trends are prevalent today.
Freedom of speech is engaging in unrestricted speaking of one’s mind without fear of retaliation or censorship. It is the freedom to use one’s natural rights to engage in complex thought and speech. This is not a new concept. Freedom of speech has a history centuries old, long predating the founding of this country. Some want to control these natural abilities. This is where the dispute lies.
One does not have to look far to find multiple examples of the threat of violence and censorship. This ranges from online mobs to technology company and media censorship and peer attacks. Those with differing opinions are blackballed, blacklisted, attacked, and censored out of existence.
Take, for example, distinguished University of Chicago professor Harald Uhlig, attacked by his professional peers and online mob for writing that Black Lives Matters “just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice.” And, “Time for sensible adults to enter back into the room and have serious, earnest, respectful conversations about it all… We need more police, we need to pay them more, we need to train them better.”
The mode of operating is the same: disapprove the words someone uses, sensationalize the awfulness of it, then use every method of force available to attack them. As with Dr. Uhlig, threaten to take away their livelihood, discredit their work, and then, by proxy, incite mobs to physically attack them and their property. They are treated worse than the violent criminal who can at least work when released from prison. Even the radicals of the 60s had the decency to honor freedom of speech. One would think today’s academics would be the champions of free speech, not adversarial critics.
Then there are the technology giants like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others, pretending to have an open platform but leading the charge for censorship and tyranny against free speech. This is like selling a microphone, then taking it away when the buyer uses it to say something the seller does not like. Or like selling a pair of shoes but taking them off someone’s feet when they do not like where they walk. These platforms are not free, people pay for them through advertisements and other fees. As allies of the government, these companies enjoy special protections and regulations, platforms, privileges, benefits, and partnerships.
All enemies of free speech are similar; they control the free expression of speech, the words people choose and change the meaning of words when it suits them. They attack those who disagree, take away their income, and do whatever harm they can get away with toward those who disagree. It is a violent philosophy.
Ethics are defined by the expediency of the situation. Therefore, they justify making up stories and twisting facts, refusing to let what is just and right get in the way of cramming their beliefs onto others and getting what they want. Sacrificing the value of a person for the promises of self-serving ideology.
They are the masters of fear. Using out-of-control anger and sensationalized reactions, they bully anyone with differing views. All because a person has a different belief, seeks clarification, or wants to add something new to a complex subject. People are so afraid of the consequences of their violence, they hide, and go underground, carefully censoring what they say.
These are good people who just want to have the freedom to say what they want without attack. Doing as much harm as they can against those not supporting their platform of control is vicious, malicious, and malevolent.
When someone uses the threat of violence to restrict another’s natural rights or person, it is called a crime, as when a mugger threatens to hurt someone to take what is not theirs. Somehow, they have escaped this label. All the claims of good intentions are meaningless. “Legalizing” it is just a matter of convenience to act without impunity.
Though fear is used as a means of control, it is those who control who fear. Desperate, they are afraid of being found out. Only the intellectually and morally weak are intolerant of allowing others to speak alternative views. Alternative views will keep them from getting what they want. Freedom of speech threatens power, takes away control, and undermines the social designs of their larger agenda.
Given how malevolent they are when not governing and how malevolent their allies are who do govern, consider how much more vicious they will become with increased power.
What kind of society is left without freedom of speech? There can be no respectful social intercourse, nor any true academics, intellectual discussion, or moral choices without free speech, open debate, and the freedom to say, do, think, and express what wants without reprisals. No society will develop favorably without it.
Society requires free speech to process, consider the uncertain, and incorporate and adjust to new knowledge. Without free speech, civil society will dissipate. A good society is a society that protects people’s freedoms. Control over others and a free society cannot coexist.
Yet, we are complicit, giving our freedoms away. We do nothing while the tumbrels roll, cowering as victims of marauders. It is more dangerous to do nothing than to resist and take our freedom of speech back. It is a choice. Live in a society without those freedoms or live in a society where you are free to say as you choose without fear of retaliation.
Protect yourself and protect others. Decry those using these tactics. Call them out. Speak your mind.