I write this in the wake of Google’s takedown of Mike Adams’ Natural News, and adroll.com’s decision to stop placing product-ads for Alex Jones’ infowars. These are momentous events.
In the current climate, there are MANY people who would, at the drop of a hat, censor and erase a news outlet if they could. And they would believe they’re doing Good.
Their knowledge of the 1st Amendment and its implications? Zero. Free speech? Who cares?
Much better to delete, erase, scream, light fires, turn over cars, block speakers, shout them down.
Here are several statements about free speech written by non-screamers:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (First Amendment to the United States Constitution. December 15, 1791)
“There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly TERRIBLE to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a FREE PRESS.” (Samuel Adams, 1768)
“Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.” (Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992)
But you see, there are now many groups who have traveled miles past a tolerance for ideas they despise. And these aren’t merely people in the street. Google apparently has passed the point of tolerance. So has adroll.com, a company that makes money by placing ads for clients like infowars. Then we have college professors and students from shore to shore, who insist on silencing those who dissent from their political ideology. And Facebook and Twitter are practicing censorship. To say nothing of major media outlets, who block stories that contradict their covert agendas.
There is always a THEY whose words and ideas are too dangerous to allow into the light. This assumption is shared by strange bedfellows: defenders of the National Security State and paid provocateurs throwing bricks at car windshields.
There is always a reason to shut people up.
“I’m in favor of free speech, but when (insert name) goes off on one of his crazy diatribes, he’s threatening basic human values, and he has to be stopped.”
Yes, and who appointed this “human-values defender” king?
Obama recently told an audience that news needs to be “curated” in some way, in order to limit the infection of “fake news.” Who appointed him to stand in for the 1st Amendment?
Peter Maass, The Intercept: “…the Obama administration has used the draconian 1917 law [the Espionage Act] to prosecute more leakers and whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined.”
No problem. The president takes precedence over the Constitution, doesn’t he? Ask any college student, as long as you insert Obama’s name for “president,” and not Trump’s name.
It all depends, you see. It all depends on who is speaking about free speech. And it all depends on who is being attacked. It’s relative.
If you’re a medical blogger living in mommy’s basement, and you attack Mike Adams for his medical views, you’re golden. You want to limit Mike’s 1st Amendment rights? Why not? “Mike is dangerous. Mike is a threat to real science. Therefore, who cares if Google delisted his web site?”
The Constitution was actually an exercise in political and social relativity, right? It was never intended to mean what it said. It was always a “floater,” designed to favor good and oppose evil—and those moral decisions have to be made by “the wise ones.”
Shortly after the election results in November, the CIA-connected Washington Post launched a campaign against “fake news” sites. The campaign quickly morphed into: these sites aided a Russian op to throw the election to Trump. In other words, free speech was actually aiding and abetting a crime. That’s the way it was positioned.
Smear free speech as criminal. Any which way.
Here is another excuse for censoring free speech: “It is engendering hate.” Accepting that premise, every presidential campaign in the history of the United States could have been shut down. Untold numbers of statements made by pundits about presidents in office could have been blocked.
If a person “taking offense” at something someone says becomes the standard for censoring “offending remarks,” Congress should pass a law requiring silence 24/7 from all citizens.
So: who would censor a political website if they could? Huge numbers of clueless people with an ax to grind. They would do it without a moment’s thought. They would do it without a shred of understanding. They would do it based on zero knowledge of the Bill of Rights. They would do it minus an education that reveals how rational debate is a prerequisite for the survival of a Republic. They would do it based on zero knowledge of the meaning of “Republic.”
They would do it with the reflex of cows munching on grass in a pasture.
And even worse, few people would voice objections to the act of censorship.
“I would rather eat a cupcake, watch Law&Order, play World of Warcraft, put mustard on a hot dog, hand out a trophy for ‘participation’ than object to censorship.”
Or this: “I don’t like Alex Jones and Mike Adams. Never did. So while I defend the basic right to free speech, I don’t really care if they’re hamstrung. I don’t care if they’re blocked in some way. On balance, it’s a good thing. I pick my battles, and this isn’t one of them…”
Really? What about MSNBC? Suppose the network was shut down and censored? Would such an action rate as a serious incursion on the 1st Amendment? What about censorship of the Huffington Post or Politico or CNN? Would that rate a howl of protest?
Let’s have a scale of importance. Take names like Karl Marx, Hitler, Lenin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Plato, St. Augustine, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger…
Decide how to rank them, in terms of who is deserving of outright censorship.
Then, burn the 1st Amendment.
Burn it to ashes, scatter the ashes in a fetid swamp, and celebrate the victory of “moral values” and the protection of the citizenry over “dangerous freedom.”
I PICK MY BATTLES.
FREEDOM, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, IS A GOOD THING. BUT KNOWING WHO THE BAD PEOPLE ARE AND SHUTTING THEM UP IS PRIOR TO ALLOWING FREEDOM. AFTER ALL, WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER. OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE. MUMBLE, MUMBLE…
The 1st Amendment isn’t there so we can admire the freedom of the people who utter what we already agree with. The 1st Amendment is there so we can rise up to a higher level, where we defend the rights of the people who are uttering all the wrong things, the things we’re quite sure are wrong.
Well, except for Trump. Except for Hillary. Or Bannon. Pelosi. Ryan.
Or Alex Jones and Mike Adams.
This is the age of information. Some information. Select information. Good information. Proper information.
Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.