randombio.com | political commentary
Monday, June 29, 2020

Government needs to defend freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is absolute. Government's job is to protect our rights and liberties, not just against itself but against others

M y TV just started telling me that my cable company is opposed to racism. It's good to know; after all, as the protesters keep saying, silence is violence. But what about killing bunnies and refusing to help little old ladies across the street? Not a word. And I notice they haven't said anything about disliking gulags or being opposed to mass murder. They haven't even said they're opposed to an asteroid wiping out all life. Those bastards!

Surely corporate managers know how ridiculous their statements must sound. So why do they make them? The clue is that the statements are mostly coming from media companies. They feel threatened by smaller independent voices on the Internet. Advertisers are putting enormous pressure on Facebook to censor their users' posts. Websites are even having their IP addresses canceled if a writer says something a big corporation does not want to hear. Unless people who care about free speech find a way to counteract that, they will find their voices silenced forever.

Universities are already discriminating against faculty on the basis of their political beliefs by forcing applicants for faculty positions to write statements of allegiance to diversity ideology. Applicants must not only mouth the required words but prove their adherence to the ideology by documenting their past actions. The admitted purpose is to cleanse universities of anyone with unapproved political views. If this is not ended, within five or ten years STEM departments in universities will be occupied entirely by political activists, science will turn into propaganda, and America's preeminence in scientific and technical fields will be destroyed.

Freedom of speech must be absolute

Here's the point: our liberties are in jeopardy. Celebrities and corporate managers are proclaiming their allegiance to woke ideology because they know they will be blacklisted if they do not. All over the country, people are being fired, demoted, and blacklisted for expressing opinions—even on things as mundane and scientifically accepted as the number of biological sexes.

It is said that we still have the freedom of the ballot box. But the ballot box is not free if advocating for one side of an issue or one candidate gets one fired and banned from speaking. Without free debate, there is no democracy.

It is not enough to say that the government cannot infringe on the Bill of Rights. If anyone with power—a corporation or organized crime—can freely infringe on those rights, then those rights do not exist. Without freedom to say what we believe without fear of retribution, we can only remain silent as the bullies and corporations take the place of government and force us into silence.

The role of government

If the Civil Rights Act can be expanded to include sexual preferences, it can be expanded to include protections for speech—the most fundamental right.

Ideally these initiatives should begin at the state level. However, we've seen that large states like California react by banning travel and interstate commerce with states that they disagree with politically. These actions clearly fall in the domain of illegal restriction of interstate commerce, yet the federal government does nothing.

As a libertarian, I believe that Government's sole reason for existence is to protect our basic rights and liberties. This does not just mean protection from the government itself. It means protection from foreign governments and criminal groups. If a foreign government somehow gained the power to fire Americans for speaking out on issues that affected that country, it would be unacceptable. Yet some believe it is acceptable for corporations and universities to do the same.

Conservatives are affected even more than libertarians, but they are divided. Many still believe, deep down, that corporate restrictions on free speech are not a bad thing. But we are not slaves. Corporations and universities do not own us, and they must not be allowed to decide what we can and cannot say in our free time.

The sole purpose of government is to protect human rights and liberties. If it fails to do this, for all practical purposes it has abdicated its power.

Proposed draft

Here is a proposed draft. I am not a lawyer, and maybe someone can improve it.

It shall be unlawful to make an offer of employment or to make continued employment contingent upon making any statement of loyalty for or against any political or religious cause, or to refuse to hire or to fire a person on the basis of political or religious beliefs expressed outside the workplace. It is also unlawful to deprive any individual of access to public communication facilities on the basis of constitutionally protected speech.

Some have claimed that all we really need is to find the coordination and willpower to act. It is not true: we are held hostage by our need to put food on the table. Our opponents are not. It is not enough just to demand that our local governments enforce laws against violence and destruction of property.

Government's job is to protect our rights and liberties, not just against itself but against others. This is why those of us who accept a minimalist government also accept that it can pass laws to prevent citizens from restricting each other's freedom. Originally the role of the federal government was restricted to resolving disputes among the states and protection against foreign invasion. That changed over time: it now has thousands of laws dictating what individuals cannot do. We are no longer the pure republic our Founding Fathers engineered.

It would be preferable if people simply respected each others' right to free speech, but they do not. The freedom that used to be synonymous with America is being restricted by corporations asserting power over what we can say in our free time. The government must act to ensure that our constitutional rights are respected before it becomes a firing offense to suggest it.

jun 29 2020, 6:11 am

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