So long as someone has something to gain by limiting free speech, the basic human right will always remain under attack. We are quick to point out when the government infringes upon the First Amendment, but its greatest threat is far more insidious. Anyone who doesn’t adhere to the woke left’s insane postmodern ideology risks execution by social media the moment they speak their mind.
Virtually everyone puts their neck across the chopping block when they express wrongthink these days. We all might have expected that Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt would flirt with cancellation for not “volunteering” to campaign for Joe Biden. Even Avengers star and media darling Scarlett Johansson nearly lost everything for having the audacity to claim she should be able to play any part she wanted – you know, like a popular actress might expect to do.
But regular people like you and I don’t enjoy so much protection against getting canceled for thoughtcrimes like voicing religious (i.e. Christian) beliefs, failing to laud the benefits of mass migration, making a joke about a protected class of people, or even wearing libertarian shirts.
How did things get this bad? We need look no further than Big Tech’s two-headed attack on free speech. Not only will they deplatform you for transgressing against the limits to free speech which leftism strives to cement in our culture. They also provide a convenient platform for woke myrmidons to harass you online, and possibly even organize an unruly mob at your doorstep or place of business. This is how the woke left slams the Overton window shut without ever having to take political action.
Liberals (and even some self-professed libertarians) often defend Big Tech’s actions by pointing out that the First Amendment only limits what the government can do – not private businesses. This conveniently ignores that free speech is not some gift handed down to us by the government, but rather a God-given right and fundamental American value which no authority, public or private, can fairly restrict. Facebook has just as much right to silence you as Unilever has to disarm you, or Enterprise Rent-A-Car has to tar and feather you for returning a van with only half a tank of gas.
But the left, for all the lip service it has paid to it in the past, does not value free speech. Leftists only support free speech when it expands their influence over politics, the economy, and the media. But the second a U.S. president gets axed from Twitter, they cheer. They don’t mind that the Taliban has its own Twitter account as of late August – until they start encouraging Americans to vote Republican, that is.
The left’s agenda doesn’t end with silencing you. It extends to forcing you to take part in speech with which you do not agree. For an example look no further than Christian baker Jack Phillips. He was first persecuted for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake, and then again for refusing to bake a gender transition cake.
Does the owner of one of dozens of bakeries in the Denver area have the same obligation to support others’ free speech as Twitter, which deplatforms conservatives, libertarians and Christians on a daily basis? Not quite, because scale matters. By controlling every relevant social media site on the internet, Big Tech has monopolized the marketplace of ideas. When they ban people who would have qualified as moderates only 20 years ago, they effectively annihilate any opinions which could have contradicted their woke management’s.
Worse yet, the government isn’t uninvolved in the whole affair. The Biden regime only just recently began working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts of “disinformation.” And when legislative action is too flagrantly antithetical to the First Amendment, Washington does just fine by sending their best and brightest to lobby and “consult” Big Tech companies. Many government bureaucrats skip the extra steps and just work for Big Tech directly.
It all pales in comparison to what colleges are doing. Despite the ruling of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, publicly funded schools violate free speech whenever they threaten students with suspension or expulsion for voicing the wrong opinions. The federal government spent over $40 billion on subsidies for public and private universities in 2017 alone. In no uncertain terms, you are paying people to indoctrinate young American adults into the woke left’s agenda of hatred for anything decent people hold dear.
Big Tech and colleges comprise most of the de facto public forums these days. Both are attacking free speech with savage glee. I am an absolutest when it comes to the First Amendment, and suspect that you are as well. That’s why I encourage you not to tolerate this barbarism. Support any measure we Americans have to counter the woke left’s campaign of censorship, lest we one day discover we have none left at our disposal.
Read more from Libertas Bella‘s blog, Thought Grenades.