Government Watch / Politics

Free Speech – Reborn

Free Speech

Elon Musk has reopened the “marketplace of ideas.” Hooray! He is resetting the table, reminding us free speech matters. So, let’s go shopping – for some truth, ‘tis the season! That is the way republics survive. 

Hundreds of millions of Americans before us – who lived, died, fought, and tried to protect free speech – are today happy. We should be, too. Between a reborn Twitter – reminding us diversity of opinion trumps suppression for ideology – and new congressional oversight, America has a chance to re-find our bearings. Let’s not lose this chance.

The overarching reason we tolerate wildly divergent speech, offensive, inflammatory, true and untrue, untoward and flush with discord, distasteful, disgusting, disgraceful – is because from that competition of ideas, deeply held views, emerges something remarkable, truth.

The world’s earliest philosophers understood this, long before the First Amendment, before America was America. Plato and Aristotle understood power of the spoken word, wrote as they spoke, to persuade – of truth.

In the 1640s, John Milton wrote against censorship, as did many who dared interpret the Bible, science, politics, and universe. Copernicus and Galileo, in the 1500s and 1600s respectively, fought for free speech – helped us understand the universe by doing so.

By the time Voltaire, Rousseau, John Locke, and Thomas Paine, eventually Jefferson, Madison and our courageous founders were talking about free speech, the idea had currency. The currency was not academic, not the notion that talking was good, but a bigger idea.

Without unfettered free speech, allowing lots of ideas, insults, prejudices, preferences, and stuff that is wrong and gets discussed and corrected, people forget to think, discern, and learn.

Free speech is at the heart of liberty. Why? Because a society – even a God-fearing society, let alone one off track – needs to self-correct to survive, review what is true, dismiss the junk. But this is a job for everyone, for the society, not some self-appointed speech czars. That is why free speech, no holds barred – short of specific incitement to violence – is key.

In 1859, John Stewart Mill – a British noodler of ideas – published a book called “On Liberty,” at about the same time people like Ralf Waldo Emmerson and others in the United States were giving depth to the value of free speech, self-reliance, and individuality.

Funny enough, if the modern leftist would stop – to understand history is more than toppling statues and redefining things – they would understand free speech was “classically liberal.” 

Free speech hears the majority, but also minority views – like a round earth, heliocentric universe, civil rights, limited government, and self-determination. Until leftists adopted the word “liberal” and sullied “conservative,” a “liberal” defended lots of opinions. Conservatives did too, but moved more deliberately, since they valued tradition and distilled truths.

These days, definitions are fluid, constantly changing. Leftists think they win by upsetting what the world has built on stable definitions and moral compass, distilled through free speech.

Ironically, leftists would stifle free speech, afraid where competing ideas lead, majority and minority views in contest – because we know where they lead, to time-honored, life-lifting, progress-making truths, not oppression, censorship, Marxism and consolidated power.  

So, this is the point. From early philosophers to founding fathers, Supreme Court decisions to common sense, we are a nation – a People and an Idea – built on diverse opinions, open debate, toleration of insult and offense, because buried in all that passion is reality, and we need that.

These days, we need reality more than any time in the past, because things happen fast. Threats to our way of life, constitutional rights, basic self-rule come up fast, hit us hard, tend to be disruptive and can come from inside or outside our society.

We need free speech – fast if furious, honest if ornery, clear and robust even if cranky and sometimes wrong – so that we can know ourselves, know what we want, know what we will not tolerate.

And one thing Americans are unwilling to tolerate is a government that – with the help of elites in the media and social media world – wants to inflict one view, one party, one way on us. What new leadership at Twitter – and honest government oversight – offer is not some triumph of conservative over liberal, but the triumph of free speech – and a rebirth of truth.

And that is why we should all be excited that the “marketplace of ideas” is reopening. We may have to pay more for everything else – but ideas are free and must stay that way. As a tough year closes, let’s go shopping again – for some truth, ‘tis the season! And that is how republics thrive. 


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David Millikan
1 month ago

FREE SPEECH RULES.

Hal-
1 month ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Not when the DemoComs are in power!!! In that case, false propaganda and outright lies rule.

johnh
2 months ago

Big Question: Why do billionaires like Musk & Trump want to own/control media? Wonder what I am missing here.

Coonie
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Guess you don’t wonder about Soros owning media or China owning / influencing media ?

Hal-
1 month ago
Reply to  Coonie

No, i seems to interpret johnh as being a lib Commie DemocRat trying to mislead the interpretation of the post!

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Where did you come up with such a RIDICULOUS question? Musk and Trump want EVERYONE to have free speech.

Patriot Will
2 months ago

Elon Musk is a hero. He understands the vital importance of free speech better than half of Americans. If the Marxist Democrats have their way, only Socialists and Communists will have the right to free speech. The Marxist Democrats are attempting to and often succeeding in shredding our Constitution and way of life.

Hal-
1 month ago
Reply to  Patriot Will

100% of DemocRats understand the importance of free speech… and that is why the DemocRats ardently attempt to quash free speech they don’t think gives them advantages politically.

Michael Lewis
2 months ago

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. Benjamin Franklin

Every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add… artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society–the farmers, mechanics, and laborers–who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. (President Andrew Jackson, veto of national bank bill, July 10, 1832).

E.W. Scripps – American Newspaper Publisher 1854-1926
A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income… The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few…that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote…in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes

We all know that, as things actually are, many of the most influential and most highly remunerated members of the Bar in every center of wealth, make it their special task to work out bold and ingenious schemes by which their wealthy clients, individual or corporate, can evade the laws which were made to regulate, in the interests of the public, the uses of great wealth. (T. Roosevelt, 1905, at his Harvard Commencement address).

“It was not until the 1920s that you really get the notion of professional journalists, the way we think about them today,” says Michael Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “A lot of different schools of journalism started, codes of ethics were developed, the whole notion of the journalist as objective came into play …. of standing outside the story, telling both sides, of being factual rather than opinionated.” 1920s

It is normal for all large businesses to make serious efforts to influence the news, to avoid embarrassing publicity, and to maximize sympathetic public opinion and government policies. Now they own most of the news media that they wish to influence. – Excerpt from Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian – 1920-2016

Campaign laws are responsible for the corporate voice having more influence in our elections than the voice of flesh and blood persons!

To restore equal rights to citizens, federal candidates, political parties, and PACs ‘We the People” should ask our representatives in the Senate and House to revisit “S. 2416 – 113th Congress: Free All Speech Act of 2014.

Mr. Cruz introduced the following bill, which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
A BILL
To apply laws that restrict the political speech of American citizens to media
corporations.
1. Short title
This Act may be cited as the Free All Speech Act of 2014

2. Application of laws that restrict the political speech of American citizens to media corporations
(a) In general
Any law that restricts the political speech of American citizens shall apply with equal force to media corporations, such as the New York Times, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), The National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and the CBS Television Network.

(b) No application to American citizens if application to media corporations found unconstitutional
To the extent that the application of a law to a media corporation under subsection (a) is found unconstitutional, such law shall have no force or effect with respect to American citizens.

George Washington's Admirer
2 months ago

Excellent Article. Most significant thought and quote throughout: “Ironically leftists would stifle free speech…” Oppression, censorship, Marxism are employed in the mainstream-media. One of the most employed techniques is: censorship. Did you want to find out more this morning about just WHAT China is up to? Of course you did. Todays tangent on MSM is: senility, Alzheimer’s and how the population is LONELY. Yes, tangents are used to bypass journalistic questions. For approximately eight weeks; (was it a year ago?) we endured continuous brainwashing pictures of the police handcuffing children, the famous knee to the throat scene, and every sort of diabolical activity that the police employed. They were ruthlessly ripped to shreds, defunded, and demonized. Hence, we have an increased crime wave of somewhere around 800 percent in some areas? The Democrats act innocent. Prior to that we endured watching President George Washington’s Statue in Oregon; being toppled to the clapping and praise of an MSM television station. It was at that moment that the thought occurred that MAYBE this was a Marxist movement; that was washing over the country? Again, the Democrats were innocent? They of course, tout ‘DEMOCRACY’! You can now, the MSM has apprised us; propose marriage to yourself! Yes, its called: sologamy! Sologamy or autogamy is marriage by a person to themselves! Now, you have to put up watching MSM by yourself; when you REALLY DON’T WANT TO WATCH IT!!

Coonie
2 months ago

Sad & a shame , imo

George Washington's Admirer
2 months ago
Reply to  Coonie

True. However, you can always buy an expensive engagement ring for yourself; (in red, white, blue; rubies, diamonds, and sapphires!) There is always an upside!

Laura
2 months ago

Elon Musk understands that this great country made him the success he is today.

johnh
2 months ago
Reply to  Laura

Please explain to me how you back up this statement…….

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

In which other country could an immigrant achieve such wealth?

Rick
2 months ago

Thanks to Elon Musk. Oh. and the White House is going to keep an eye on him.
But, who is going to keep an eye on the most blatantly corrupt president this country
has ever had Go to jail Brandon !!!!!

Laura
2 months ago
Reply to  Rick

Hopefully, the Republicans in the House will hold this sorry excuse for a president accountable. I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama himself was pulling the strings. This is actually Obama’s third presidency. He’s back to try to complete the mission he started to bring down the United States.

Max
2 months ago
Reply to  Laura

Unfortunately, without control of the Senate, nothing can be done. Pres. Biden will continue to get worse so the Dems can come up with an excuse to ease his pain and keep his prestige intact, then the country will be under the control of a new puppet.

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