Government Watch / Politics / We The People

Policing Speech? Not in America!

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A government office to promote disinformation, but proposed to counter disinformation, was the invention of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1923. Stalin knew suppression. Apparently, so does the Biden White House, which just created a “disinformation board” to police our speech.

Terrifying is the right word for this turn. Freedoms – including the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech – can be lost incrementally or in a fell swoop. This turn threatens core rights.

How did this happen? Why is it happening? How can it be stopped? 

In short, incremental attacks on free speech – advanced by leftists or anti-free speech advocates in social media and universities – have suddenly been abetted by Congress and the White House. 

The timing is revealing. After years of social media glibly canceling, blacklisting, suspending, shutting down, and maligning free speech by political opponents, a free-market entrepreneur, Elon Musk, bought Twitter – to restore free speech. The left exploded. 

Pause. What is free speech, anyway? Is it pretty, pleasant, socially quieting, conformist, polite to minorities, cultural disruptors, moral detractors, political opponents, or any slice of the citizenry? Is free speech gentle, inoffensive, accurate, true, civil, safe, or respectful? Must it be free of error, insult, and ignominy? No, no, no. Free speech is – and always has been – free.  

So, while most of America breathed relief at the restoration of a constitutional right to speak freely after Musk’s purchase, leftists in and out of government panicked. They lost their heads, declaring an end to “woke” truth and insisting free speech is intolerable.

Within hours, Democrats in Congress demanded Musk be collared, brought before oversight hearings, intimidated. The idea is to make him explain how he can abandon leftist norms in social media.

Within two days, the Biden White House concocted their “Misinformation Board,” ominously placing it at the Department of Homeland Security. Strangely reminiscent of the Stalinist invention of like name, the board will police the truth, monitoring, chilling, deterring, intimidating, and threatening free speech. 

To be clear, I witnessed this kind of thing firsthand in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1980s when traveling to those locations from Oxford to meet with dissidents. It happens.

This entire concept – and the boldness with which this White House is defending such a patently anti-free speech, anti-democratic, anti-constitutional institution – sends shivers up the spine.

On April 30, 1789 – 233 years ago this week – George Washington became our first president.  No president has ever suggested such an openly anti-speech, anti-constitutional plan. The closest was John Adams’s “Sedition Act” of 1798, which Federalists passed to outlaw Republican criticism. The law was struck down, utterly unconstitutional.  

Even in wartime, the First Amendment breathes and permits criticism, although not violence. The founding principle behind free speech is that truth is found with more speech, not less. 

All attempts to criminalize speech have been resisted. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court made clear “seditious speech” is protected, if it does not represent an “imminent” threat.

The point is simple. Unlike in the former Soviet Union or Communist China, freedom of speech in America is real. It is palpable and invites disagreements over accuracy and truth. It gets dirty, into the gutter, is insulting, personal, political, offensive, and – in this way – is often persuasive.

That is why the idea of the US Government pulling “cancel culture” in-house, patrolling for truth and accuracy, is deeply odious, repulsive, and ugly. Government has no place policing speech.

So, faced with this ugly turn, what can be done? A lot. 

First, Congress should “redline” (block funding) for the office and any part of Homeland Security, Justice, or White House policing speech. Any member of Congress who is not willing to defend free speech should be excoriated and voted out for failure to uphold the Constitution.

Second, citizens and groups can sue the government. While social media companies argued they had First Amendment rights to step on others’ free speech rights, the government cannot suppress speech without violating a citizen’s rights, except in narrow areas. Even the liberal American Civil Liberties Union sues to protect free speech.

No more powerful statement of this truth exists than Justice Benjamin Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut (1937). “Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.” Government cannot suppress speech.

Third, every American with an opinion should consider the urgency of this moment. A government allowed to suppress opponents today will silence you tomorrow. That is how concentrated power works and always has.

So, what does this turn mean? It is a bold Soviet tactic, an ugly attempt to shut down a core right held by all Americans. It cannot stand. Policing speech has no place in America.


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Jeannie Huppert
1 month ago

Robert Charles “nailed” my first 2 opinions in his first 2 paragraphs. I am worse than appalled at people schooled in the 60s, 70s . . . ‘don’t know about the rest; but we who were taught about the attrocities of hitler, stalin, & similar demoncrats SHOULD KNOW BETTER than to accept their kinds of craps in our U.S.A.! Also: First Amendment. ‘Reason hitler, maybe stalin got away with so much was BECAUSE NO ONE OPPOSED THEM! NO ONE STOOD UP OR SPOKE UP. I pray that all of us learn from true history, so we don’t have to learn the hard way. I LOVE some who immigrated to U.S.A. legally, like Anna Khaitt from Russia; a light-skinned beautiful black girl from Mozambique, & others who, after becoming American citizens, having listened to the Left Regime craps, said: “WAIT A MINUTE! I RECOGNIZE THIS COMMUNISM. I CAME HERE FOR FREEDOM, NOT FOR THAT TRASH. & they are speaking up, having had experience with other nasty bad regimes. God Bless ’em!

Henry McElroy
1 month ago

* Mr. Robert B. Charles, thank you for your 2nd May 2022 AMAC Article “Policing Speech? Not in America!” Related to your SECOND How can it be stopped?: Can you assist us Citizens and Groups to get Judicial Watch to post-haste assist us with suing the government, our public servants, and Social Media companies’ Blatant Tyranny of openly proposing to eliminate or negatively modify our Free Speech?  Thank you, HMc

Ron
1 month ago

It is time to send our demented occupant of the White House to Ukrainia and let him forget where they parked the limo.

Karen
1 month ago

I’m sick and tired of all this crap about policing speech. I do not use social media because it’s childish and these big corporations have absolutely no right to tell us what to do. Either does our super stupid so-called government. I will not follow those sick rules. I will only say what I feel and they can all go to hell.

Jimmys
1 month ago

Phaq Joe Biden the traitor

JMP
1 month ago

How can I share this on FB? It only shares the link to AMAC APP.

BAE
1 month ago

The Biden system of rule are Nazis. Everything they tried to pin on President Trump, they are and some. So SCARY!!!!!!

Kitty
1 month ago

Yes, make sure it is not funded. This is showing how desperate the left is about loosing the election. The same delivered lies about President Trump and his crew will be stopped and may I also say the truth about the left’s candidate will not be aired either. All candidates and representatives that approve this should immediately be held in contempt of the constitution and jailed.

Walter Royal
1 month ago

This is treason. The cure is a rope and a tall tree. Anyone who attempts to subvert and negate the Constitution should be arrested, tried, and when convicted, should be summarily executed.”The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” Thomas Jefferson

Tom
1 month ago

This new Disinformation Board is a reminder of the Communist policies to control everyone. This should never happen in the United States.

George
1 month ago

Amazing to me that the party who has accused Republicans of being Nazis, tyrants, racist, homophobes, etc. is actually the party who fulfills all those conditions. Must be an example of the pot calling the kettle black. I hope that all my liberal acquaintances who voted for Biden because they considered Trump a threat to democracy are pleased that THEIR party is the one killing democracy.

ops
1 month ago

Misinformation Board. What a joke from a corrupt admin. You can keep your own doctor come to mind? OK to lie to the people but not for the people to have an open conversation on the truth?

“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”

Garye
1 month ago

A VERY informative article and call to action by Citizens.
Let your representatives know loudly and frequently that we will not tolerate overreach by ANY government agency or ANY attempt by the marxist democrat party or their politicians to stifle FREE SPEECH in OUR FREE COUNTRY – AMERICA!!!
These CLOWNS must be REMOVED!

Garye
1 month ago

Interestingly in Michigan the marxist democrat govenor half whit whitmer is pushing for transparency in the Republican led house and senate but NO transparency or recording of sessions for her Office or her marxist counterparts at secretary of state or attorney general?????
How slimy,corrupt and politically motivated is this useless failed govenor whitmer???
Her number 1 campaign promise ” fix the damn roads”,
they are NOT fixed, WORST in 50 years!!!
Another dishonest democrat just following their failed party politics!!
Bye,bye gretchen…Gretchen… are being THROWN OUT this year!!!
You can hang out with the other LOSER granholm!

Roy
2 months ago

Do what Americans do, say what they want, where they want to , to whom they please.

Roger D
2 months ago

Along with this disinformation move comes H.R. 350 “also known as the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) of 2022, is making its way through the House Judiciary Committee.” (that quote came from The Geller Report. It sounds as though anyone who disagrees with the DemonCrats could be investigated as domestic terrorists. Take a look at it.

Sean Richman
2 months ago

I will think what I think,I will speak what I think.What I think is that the democRATS can put their speech controller where the sun don’t shine.Do the libers really think that they can control my thoughts and speaking out against them,I REALLY DON’T THINK SO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John D. Beach
2 months ago

“How did this happen? Why is it happening? How can it be stopped?”

It happened because a strict separation of the civilian/political from the military affairs of the nation has been, incidentally, violated by politicians, in particular, the Clinton Campaign before the election of 2020. Free access to information of all kinds from all sources has included opinion, based on bias, prejudice or conviction with a motivation to persuasion, some, obviously, based in faulty, if not false, information, otherwise known as “misinformation.”
Disinformation was a Soviet security, counter-intelligence tactic. It is happening because the Democrats have found it useful to their strategy of control of American politics. It can be stopped by making sure elections are honest and by removing Democrats from office. It is that simple.

Garye
1 month ago
Reply to  John D. Beach

Let’s start REMOVING THEM in 2022. Enough of their garbage!

Hal
2 months ago

Sadly, at some levels telling lies is free speech … the political propaganda of DemocRats is an example of this (not to say that Republicans don’t occasionally do this … except less freely and less deceptively). Free speech does have some very necessary practical and legal restraints IN LAW, but otherwise, in the opinion arena, free speech is pretty much unregulated.

Dale
2 months ago

Disinformation , without violence, is free speech. Misinformation, without violence is free speech. The only to counter bad information is even more free s9!!

Dale
2 months ago
Reply to  Dale

SPEECH

Dale
2 months ago
Reply to  Dale

Too bad you don’t have an edit link!!!!

John D. Beach
2 months ago
Reply to  Dale

Disinformation is counter-intelligence. It has a specific purpose tactical or strategic purpose in the military. It serves no beneficial purpose in the political life of the country.

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