We are witnessing the destruction of free speech in America. One of our most cherished rights has been under attack for years, but it has accelerated since the election of President Trump. Classical liberals and the ACLU were stalwarts of free speech, arguing “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But progressives do not believe that.
In 2020 America, we have so-called “anti-fascists” opposing free speech and willing to bash heads (literally) to get their way. Antifa stifles “fascist” speech by using the tactic of “no platforming.” Any ideas they disagree with are labeled dangerous, false and “fascist.” Antifa does whatever it deems necessary to prevent those thoughts from being expressed, including using physical violence to deny their opponents the opportunity to speak in public.
The antifa tactic of “no platforming” was demonstrated at two recent protests in Moscow. At one, a single percussionist attempted to drown out voices singing psalms. At another, Cardi B’s misogynistic song “WAP” was blasted from a loudspeaker. The irony of trying to drown out hymn singing by blaring misogynistic lyrics is palpable.
Last week, participants in a free-speech rally near Twitter headquarters were attacked by antifa counter-protesters. One of the organizers of that rally was a young black Trump supporter named Philip Anderson. He told the crowd, “I love America and I love this country, but I want free speech,” all while the protesters were shouting over his voice and calling him the n-word. He had his front teeth punched out and was hospitalized. That irony wasn’t lost on Anderson, who told the antifa counter-protestors, “You knocked my tooth out but you’re saying ‘Black Lives Matter.’ ”
Anderson was part of the group Team Save America, which was demonstrating against the belief that Twitter is suppressing conservative speech. This protest concerned Twitter users who tried to retweet a New York Post exposé alleging that Hunter Biden monetized access to his father when Joe Biden was vice president. The New York Post’s Twitter account was suspended, and Twitter users who attempted to post or retweet the story had their accounts locked. Twitter was stifling any speech that didn’t comply with its progressive agenda to get Biden elected.
Just as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is neither democratic nor a republic, Antifa is not anti-fascism. They themselves practice the same tactics that fascists have always practiced. Stalin and Mao started as agitators and antifascists, and they went on to commit incalculable atrocities. The idea that antifa are the good guys is historically wrong.
Even the idea of what kind of speech is acceptable has been narrowly defined. Consider the analogy that “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” is unprotected speech because it is both false and dangerous. Along those same lines, progressives insist that anything they consider false and dangerous is therefore unprotected speech. And what is dangerous? Anything that does not promote the progressive agenda. What is false? Anything contrary to “settled science.”
Emily Bazelon, staff writer for New York Times Magazine, writes that “in the United States and other democracies, there is a different kind of threat, which may be doing more damage to the discourse about politics, news and science. It encompasses the mass distortion of truth and overwhelming waves of speech from extremists that smear and distract.”
Bazelon argues for “truths” such as mask wearing, lack of evidence of voter fraud and that the massive California fires were caused by global warming. Each of these “truths” is being assaulted by what she calls the “spread of viral disinformation” such as Scandinavian countries and well-respected scientists disputing the efficacy of masks, voter fraud being documented, and the lack of forest management as the cause of the wildfires.
But those ideas are deemed anti-science, dangerous, not promoting the progressive agenda, and thus silenced at any cost.
Antifa and progressives use fear to silence free speech. Free speech is easy to control when people are too afraid to speak and conservative ideas are punished. If you think that we are living in dark times today, wait until all speech and thought is strapped down and subject to the arbitrary elimination by the reigning powers. There is fascism.
Dale Courtney served 20 years in nuclear engineering aboard submarines and 15 years as a graduate school instructor. He now spends his spare time chasing his grandchildren on the Palouse.