Is Freedom Of Speech Dead in America?
Is Freedom Of Speech Dead in America?
by Paul Engel
- The idea of allowing others to freely express their thoughts is in trouble in America.
- Rather than governments, it is corporations and citizens are the ones censoring speech and press they do not like.
- “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” seems dead in America today.
Sure, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The Constitutions of our states may protect freedom of speech as well, but has the concept of free speech become lost in the very psyche of the American people? Recent events show that, while Freedom of Speech may not be dead, it is certainly mortally wounded.
The news from the week of January 4th has been quite disturbing when it comes to freedoms and liberty. From those who abused their right to peaceably assemble by illegally entering and vandalizing our nation’s capital to the announcements by several tech companies of their banning of speech they don’t like, liberty in America seems to be on life support. I uphold everyone’s right to peaceably assemble, but I agree that all of those who rioted, trespassed, vandalized, and assaulted those in our nation’s capital should be tried, and if convicted, should be punished. I also want those who rioted, trespassed, vandalized, and assaulted others in the riots of the summer of 2020 to be tried, and if convicted, punished as well, but I’m not holding my breath. The question on my mind today is, has Freedom of Speech died in America?
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,
The friends of Voltaire; Evelyn Beatrice Hall, p 199
I remember, as a young man, hearing that quote paraphrased in many ways and attributed to many people. To me, it epitomized the idea of liberty. As long as what you say or do does not directly harm me, I will defend your rights, even at the cost of my life. Yet today, not only will many people fail to defend the freedom of speech for others, they actively bully, shame, and even make it illegal to offend them. This is the very antithesis of the quote I learned to cherish so many years ago. It appears that while our Founding Fathers were concerned about government silencing expression, what we should have been concerned about is the American people.
Let me make it perfectly clear: What Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Amazon have done is perfectly legal, at least on the face of it. There may be contract and licensing violations, but nothing criminal. And yes, I will defend to the death their right to only promote the speech they want. However, what does it say about the American people that they will not only condone the actions of these companies, but promote and support them as well?
Apparently those who run Twitter and Facebook do not believe you, the American people, should be allowed to read what the President of the United States of America has to say. Not only did Twitter ban Donald Trump’s personal account, but the official account of the office of the President. While their claims of violations of their rules and standards ring hollow and drip with hypocrisy, they are allowed to determine who can and cannot use their platform. Still, it also says that they believe you, the American people, should not know what the President of the United States is thinking and saying. In other words, both Facebook and Twitter think you should only be able to know what your government employee is doing if they approve it. And it’s not just Facebook and Twitter; Reddit and Twitch have both banned accounts for Donald Trump as well.
We can add this to the long list of content providers, myself included, who have been banned from platforms. I cannot speak for others, but since November 3rd, I’ve been banned from Facebook with no explanation of why. When they do accept my requests for review, I’m told that I violated some community standard. Of course, I’m never told what community standard I supposedly violated or shown what I posted that was the violation. From the people I’ve talked to, this seems to be the pattern for most platforms.
During the cold-war, there was another organization that determined what the people of their country should and should not know. It was called Pravda. The fact that Pravda, which is Russian for “truth”, was nothing more than a propaganda arm for the government was a level of irony I thought I would never see again. Sadly, the idea that Twitter, Facebook, or these other platforms are applications for free speech or the open discussion of ideas puts Pravda to shame.
For those of you unfamiliar with the inner workings of the Internet, very few companies own their own servers. Not only are they expensive to purchase and maintain, but the amount of Internet access to successfully host a website or application is generally very expensive. For that reason, most of the websites, services, and applications you use are hosted by hosting companies. Websites like the constitutionstudy.com, newyorktimes.com, and even cnn.com, pay these companies to be hosted on their servers. Applications like Walmart, The Weather Channel, and Netflix, rent time on cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Even where you download apps for your devices are hosted on someone else’s servers. Both Apple and Google pulled one of their most downloaded applications from their servers (Apple App Store and Google Play). So after you’ve developed your killer app, you’re dependent on Apple or Google to get that app to your users. What happens when these hosting and cloud providers pull the plug?
Parler recently found out when they had their app pulled from first Apple’s and then Google’s servers. This was quickly followed by Amazon banning the app from the Amazon Web Services platform as well. That means that Parler has no way to get their app to your phone or tablet, and they had to scramble to find another hosting provider for their website. You may have heard that these three tech giants pulled Parler because of content that promotes or incites violence. That’s funny because similar content is still available on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms hosted by Amazon, Google, and other cloud providers. Even if you disapprove of what was said on Parler, are you not willing to defend the free speech of others?
Now there are calls for TV providers to begin censoring information those with power do not like. Apparently NJ State Assemblyman Paul Moriarity wants Comcast to censor news channels he doesn’t like. Do you really want your access to news limited to what certain political powers deem to be accurate? What would have happened if Richard Nixon had the authority to tell The Washington Post that the reports from Woodward and Bernstein were “fake news”? Or what if companies close to the Clinton administration had been able to censor information about the Lewinsky scandal? What happens when all of the information you can access is filtered, censored, and approved by the new ministries of truth? We need look no further than November 3rd, 2020.
A new post-election poll from the Media Research Center, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, shows 36 percent of Biden voters were NOT aware of the evidence linking Joe Biden to corrupt financial dealings with China through his son Hunter. Thirteen percent of these voters (or 4.6% of Biden’s total vote) say that had they known these facts, they would not have voted for the former Vice President.
Such a shift away from Biden would have meant President Trump would have won the election with 289 electoral votes.
FACT: Big Media and Big Tech Stole the 2020 Election – MRC NewsBusters
When freedom of speech and press are restrained by government, media, or other actors, your liberty is at stake. Did the people truly have a free choice when they went to the ballot box? Even ignoring the evidence of potential fraud, the very idea that critical information about one candidate was held back while false information about the other was promoted means your right to a free and fair election was stolen. Apparently, Mr. Jefferson was correct:
it is a melancholy truth that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it’s benefits, than is done by it’s abandoned prostitution to falsehood. nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. the real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day.
What was true of newspapers in 1807 is just as true today. Not only can nothing be believed from newspapers, TV, radio, podcasts, and social media, but the presence of information in these polluted vehicles makes them suspicious. The question is, now that you’ve begun to know the level of misinformation, what will you do about it?
Some will simply whistle while they walk past the graveyard of freedom of speech and press. Some will rail and complain, asking that the same restrictions that started this mess be placed on the messages they don’t like. Still others will look to government, asking them to bully the media and big-tech companies to comply with whoever is making the biggest stink in their offices. Personally, I believe we need to think more like we’re in The Matrix.
For those of you not familiar with the movie, the people live in a virtual reality called “The Matrix”. They live their lives in The Matrix, unaware that they are being manipulated and controlled by it. A small band of heroes lives outside of The Matrix. They find those who can be freed and offer to show them the truth. This is where the term “Red Pilling” came from.
The vast majority of the American people are as unaware of what is going on as those caught in The Matrix. They do not see the lies of those in politics. They are not aware of the manipulation of the media and tech companies. They go blissfully through their lives, as unaware of their chains as Jacob Marley before his death.
Most people seem unaware of the chains that bind them. Chains of out of control governments. Chains of controlled media. Sadly, most of these people are unable to be awakened from their slumber and unwilling to see the chains that bind them. They are unable to comprehend that their rights are ignored, their votes manipulated, and their governments work to enslave rather than free them. If they were shown the truth, they would simply deny it and go back to their peaceful ignorance.
There are some who see that something is wrong. They know that the problem isn’t just with government or politicians, but society itself that has turned their back on freedom. Those who are seeking the truth need only to be pointed in the right direction. There are organizations that help to educate those who are interested in learning; I hope you will support them, but I think we need more. I have reached out to my members for input on how we can not only survive, but thrive in a land where the enemies of truth and freedom are out to get us. I’m also offering free memberships to my program The Constitution Scholars. There, those who want to learn about the Constitution, their rights, and their liberty, can do so without fear of reprisal, where those who feel alone can find others just as interested in liberty, and where those looking for their own “Red Pill” can find the prescription they need.
If you have any suggestions, or just want to join the conversation, please sign up here (I’ll even give you a free book). If you want to checkout the Scholars, just register for your free account. Whichever way you decide to proceed, please ask yourself one question: “What is freedom of speech worth to you and your children?” And never forget the words of President Reagan:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
President Ronald Reagan.