Tom Luongo analyzes why the powers that be are so desperate to crack down on free speech, and make all of us "toe the party line" in all that we say.
It’s no surprise to me that the war against speech is accelerating. There’s desperation in the air everywhere.
From the barricading of the U.S. Capitol since January 6th to the shrill calls for continued lockdowns over a virus mostly behind us, we see those with power lashing out trying to hold on to it.
And it’s no more obvious than in the lockdowns on speech ... any competition that doesn’t adhere to the current orthodoxy of what constitutes ‘acceptable speech’ is now no longer tolerated. Free Speech is not an option.
It’s an obvious coordinated assault from every angle to extend ‘cancel culture’ into a cultural revolution. Because it’s not enough to hound people whose opinions you don’t like from the public square, they have to be beaten out of society entirely, even if the means employed to do so are patently hypocritical.
. . .
Attacking Dr. Seuss, even in the mildest way, is yet another tactical move to outrage anyone with a connection to their past. It’s done to create a false discussion of racism and force people to take up the defense of something that needs no defense.
It’s done to undermine parental choices of what stories they should read their children at night and adding more divisive fodder for family get-togethers (remember those?) where the kids come home from school and blame their racist parents for programming them from birth because Dr. Seuss.
We’re dealing with people who have no ability to parse nuance or engage in any reasonable discussion of the past. As opposed to turning the depictions of Asians or blacks in Dr. Seuss into a teaching moment about how far we’ve come their impulse is to remove it from ‘polite society’ for the good of everyone.
And that’s what’s truly shameful.
. . .
In the case of censorship or economic starvation (same thing), when you make the cost of doing business in one arena too expensive — selling oil for dollars, for example — you make the transition away from that medium of exchange (the dollar) relatively more attractive ... That’s what’s coming with all of this censorship and marginalization of dissident voices — the proliferation of new platforms that are hardened against cancellation. The people like George Soros who believe they can drive the truth back underground to the days where publishing materials and disseminating them were hideously expensive are living a lie.
And they are wasting everyone’s time pursuing this in their sick, pathetic attempts to maintain and solidify societal control at a level that is the very definition of unsustainable.
Today it’s the opposite of that. Today it’s cheaper and easier than ever to produce and disseminate superlative work to an audience. Finding the audience is the hard part. And that’s what they are trying so desperately to keep us from achieving.
But we will achieve it because total surveillance and the complete abolition of our property right in the work we produce is a fantasy of the deranged and the arrogant. And that’s why their fear is so real you don’t need to be a dog to smell it.
In the face of planned economic and societal destruction which is driving up the cost of everything, free speech is the most precious commodity of all.
There's much more at the link. Recommended reading.
This isn't limited to the USA, either. Consider this incident in the UK. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
We need to check your thinking. These chilling words are taken not from a dystopian novel or some totalitarian regime, but were rather those of a British police officer speaking to businessman Harry Miller.
Miller was contacted following a complaint by an offended party about a poem he shared on social media which was deemed transphobic. The officer explained that, although not illegal, this nevertheless qualified as a ‘non-crime hate incident’.
Why, Miller asked, was the unnamed complainant described as a ‘victim’ if no crime had been committed? More to the point, why was he being investigated at all?
To which came that ominous response: ‘We need to check your thinking.’
Over the past decade, many people have detected a pattern of minor changes in our culture — at odds with our hard-won rights to personal autonomy. Miller’s case is not an isolated affair. Between 2014 and 2019, almost 120,000 ‘non-crime hate incidents’ were recorded by police forces in England and Wales, leaving a substantial number of us with a gnawing sense that something is amiss.
. . .
The principle of free speech is being casually disregarded for the sake of a supposed higher priority, namely a new identity-based concept of ‘social justice’.
This has brought with it a mistrust of unfettered speech, and appeals for greater intervention from the State. We are left stranded on unfamiliar terrain, facing that confusing and rare phenomenon: the well-intentioned authoritarian.
How are we to respond when the people who wish to deprive us of our rights sincerely believe they are doing so for our own good?
Again, more at the link.
I'll let C. S. Lewis answer the question that concludes the excerpt above:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
It's more important than ever to exercise our right to free speech, and to find platforms - and, if necessary, develop and/or support new platforms - that will uphold and defend that right. Platforms that do are under incessant attack for permitting "extremist" or "hate" speech - but in fact they're not doing that at all. They're permitting free speech, and not censoring their users. Gab, for example, leaves such censorship up to its users, treating them as adults - which I entirely support. Yes, there are anti-Semites, and anti-vaxxers, and pro-Nazis, and some just plain weird kooks on that platform, just as there are on almost every other social media platform. Every time I encounter one on Gab, I act as an adult and block them, so I never have to look at their nonsense again. That's not Gab's job. It's my job. If those users want to block me in return, they're welcome to do so.
Edmund Burke famously said, two centuries ago:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
The onslaught against free speech is nothing less than an evil; and if we do nothing to defend that right against it, we'll lose it. As many have pointed out in the past, rights are like muscles. If you don't use them, they atrophy and wither away. We need to exercise our right to free speech, and use it to object, loudly and vehemently, to any attempt to take that right away from us. Is a newspaper or TV station so biased, so slanted in its coverage, that it's no longer balanced in its reporting? Then stop reading or watching it. Is a politician actively seeking to undermine our right to free speech (or any other human right)? Then actively seek to undermine his or her position, and replace them with a better choice. Don't just passively accept such things. Actively oppose them.
I also suggest that we withdraw from any and every platform that denies us the right to free speech. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media services are only successful because millions of users have made them the focus of their social media lives. If enough of us reject them because of their attempts to control what we're allowed to say, they'll bleed money. In the same way, let's support channels and platforms in the social media sphere that are explicitly and unapologetically pro-free-speech. We need to put our money where our mouth is.
As for those of us with a voice, such as bloggers, we have a responsibility, too. Already some blogs have been deplatformed because they don't fit the current politically correct orthodoxy. Platforms such as Patreon, Wordpress and others have become unapologetically activist. That's their right - but it's our right to reject them for it. So far, Google hasn't tried to censor Blogspot, on which this blog is hosted; but that time may come. If it does, there are many of us who've prepared alternatives. (If this page ever gets shut down, look for my alternative site at bayourenaissanceman dot com. It's not live yet, but it'll be ready soon.) Some have already made the switch to alternative platforms, to "beat the rush".
The important thing is for all of us to refuse to surrender to politically correct blackmail, and to stand up for our right to free speech. If we don't do it, nobody else will!