Posted on February 16, 2021

Will Free Speech Be the First Casualty of Biden’s War on Domestic Terror?

Ben Weingarten, Newsweek, February 11, 2021

Is the Biden administration planning to use the purported threat of “domestic violent extremism” (DVE) to justify a further crackdown on the First Amendment by Big Tech proxy?


The January 6 Capitol Riots provided the pretext for the Biden administration to pursue in earnest efforts it was already considering to “combat domestic terrorism.”

During a too-little-discussed January 22 press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki detailed the Biden administration’s tripartite effort to counter DVE. She noted that the National Security Council-led (NSC) effort to coordinate the federal government response to DVE would focus on, among other things, “the role of social media.”

In a subsequent February 1 press conference, Psaki asserted, “We’ve certainly spoken to, and [President Biden’s] spoken to, the need for social media platforms to continue to take steps to reduce hate speech.”

That there is no such concept of “hate speech” in American law, and that the administration is pressing putatively private, obviously biased publishing platforms—at this point, barely masquerading as neutral protectors of the free and open digital public square—to police such speech, is itself chilling.

Consider as well the views of those executing the administration’s countering DVE initiative. As Psaki disclosed, one such individual is former Obama NSC official Joshua Geltzer. Geltzer, naturally a vocal Trump-loather, has been tasked with leading the anti-DVE “scoping effort.” Consider what he has asserted in the past about speech and social media, in the context of domestic terror.

During a September 2019 hearing on “countering violent white supremacy” before the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittees on National Security and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Geltzer testified that tech companies should be “policing their platforms to remove not just incitement to violence, but also the ideological foundations that spawn such violence.” [Emphasis mine.]

What exactly might those “ideological foundations” consist of? Do you trust the likes of Jack Dorsey to serve as arbiters of them? If Jack Dorsey is not really calling the shots, do you trust the federal officials—who showed, in their almost-unanimous contempt for President Trump, the extent to which they detest the millions of “wrong-thinking” Americans who supported him—to make relevant determinations reasonably, and in good faith? {snip}