Posted on September 28, 2023

Democrats Oppose Free Speech

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, September 28, 2023

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The largest cultural change in recent years is not transgenderism or mumble rap. It’s the attack on free speech. Among Democrats, support for free speech is a fringe position. According to a new poll from RealClearPolitics, free speech is increasingly unpopular, especially among the young and among Democrats.

Some of the poll findings seem promising. More than 90 percent of respondents said First Amendment protections are a good thing. Just a small minority disagreed with the statement that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” More than 75 percent thought it was better to allow free speech without government interference than to let the government “decide what types of hateful or inaccurate speech should be banned.” The First Amendment itself remains popular. Perhaps the best finding is that only 30 percent thought the Founders would have approved of private companies setting limits on speech.

anti-internet censorship march in Germany

Credit Image: © Alexander Pohl / NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

However, some of the more specific findings are shocking. More than 61 percent said the government should restrict “hateful posts and disinformation on social media platforms” rather than allow an “open forum of free speech.” About three-quarters thought social media platforms themselves should restrict these things. Majorities said free speech should not extend to groups “like” the Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, or the Communist Party. More than 74 percent said social media companies had a responsibility to restrict “hateful posts and disinformation.”

Among Democrats, the findings are worse. About a third of Democrats think Americans have “too much freedom” to speak. Only about half of Democrats think speech should be legal “under any circumstances,” compared to large majorities of independents and Republicans. Three-quarters of Democrats think the government should restrict “hateful” social media posts. Democrats are also more likely to favor censoring “extreme” groups and just 31 percent strongly agree with the famous quotation “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” More than half of Republicans do.

Most Democrats think the government should be able to censor social media in the name of national security, while Republicans disagree. Young Americans are also more likely to favor censorship in the name of national security.

According to RealClearPolitics, liberals believe conservative media are less truthful than liberal media, while conservatives are more likely to believe in free speech even for statements they think false. A study called “Partisan conflict over content moderation is more than disagreement over facts” found that “even when Republicans agree that information is false, they are half as likely as Democrats to say that content should be removed and more than twice as likely to consider removal as censorship.” Another way to look at this is that Democrats agree with the media’s self-appointed role as watchdogs of “misinformation.” While most people’s faith in the media has collapsed in recent years, Democrats have significantly more trust in the media.

The situation is very bad for race realists. The truth about race is censored because it is true, not because it is misinformation. “Misinformation” and “hate” are excuses to censor truth and prevent debate on important topics. That’s why there can be no compromise on free speech. Those with power will define what is “misinformation” or “hate” and many people will believe them.

Almost every business or commentator needs to be online to survive, so media outlets can destroy rivals. Big media have charged British actor Russell Brand with sexual assault. He hasn’t been arrested nor have there been charges filed, but YouTube demonetized his account. “If creators have off-platform behavior, or there’s off-platform news that could be damaging to the broader creator ecosystem, you can be suspended from our monetization program,” said YouTube CEO Neal Mohan.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, chair of the House of Commons media committee, wrote to TikTok, Rumble, X, and Meta asking them to follow suit.

The letter read:

We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him. If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand’s ability to earn money on the platform.

We would also like to know what Rumble is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour.

It would be interesting to see if this standard applies to platforms that host people who have actually been convicted of or have confessed to crimes.

Rumble fired back: It is “deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or earn a living from doing so.” In response, Burger King and Hello Fresh pulled advertisements from the platform until the investigation into Mr. Brand concludes. It’s unclear what will happen if no charges are filed, especially since at least one of the accusations is 20 years old. The attempt to force a platform to purge people in response to media demands is similar to the fight the ADL is waging against X. The British government is likely to take the fight against Rumble even farther.

According to the (Conservative) British government’s newly passed “Online Safety Act,” social media companies have to reduce user access to “harmful” content, including “racism, misogyny, or antisemitism.” (Presumably, anti-white content isn’t worth even mentioning.) A former Facebook executive approvingly quoted by The Times says a “free speech” platform (scare quotes from The Times) could be shut down in the United Kingdom by the new bill. The United Kingdom has already boasted about its censorship and spying.

In the United States, tech platforms have largely banished race realists and white advocates, working closely with the federal government. During a time when most people get their news from the internet, this undermines democracy. An election is illegitimate if the government and major companies can control what people can see. Likewise, everyday business (including raising or sending money) or even operating (if someone uses Etsy or Instagram) can be halted without appeal. The federal government is investigating Google for antitrust violations, but few seem to worry that tech companies and news media outlets can shut down competitors or businesses they don’t like.

The time to act would have been during the Trump Administration, but that opportunity was wasted with pointless grandstanding and President Trump’s endless self-congratulation. Time is short. Democrats will continue to consolidate opposition to free speech, silence more and more voices on the American Right, and punish dissident platforms that host them. Those conservatives left behind will benefit from the reduced competition, so they will keep quiet.

Unfortunately for them, progressives always look for new “oppressors” to censor. If the GOP doesn’t act before 2024, it is unlikely to get another chance, because another Democratic administration is likely to shut down what’s left of free speech for good and give us UK-style regulations. Conservatives may not want to defend us, but if they don’t, they will be next.