When I was a kid growing up in New York City in the 1950s, my parents were liberal Democrats. They were “Gladly for Adlai” (Stevenson) in the presidential elections of 1952 and 1956 and therefore, as their loyal child, so was I. (Dwight Eisenhower, the winner in those elections, turned out to be one of the better presidents in U.S. history).
They of course supported freedom of speech, that pillar of American democracy. All members of the Democratic Party did then, at least publicly.
By the time I was in high school, I had gone, like many in my generation, to the left of my parents, but never—not once—did I or my friends of the time think to forego free speech. We were exercising it.
Enshrined in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, along with its natural cohorts—freedom of religion, press, assembly, and petition—freedom of speech was and is the very essence of what makes America America. Without it, democracy doesn’t exist.
At least since the Magna Carta (1215), and no doubt earlier, people have been fighting for this right so they can speak their minds to their overlords and live, as much as possible, in a just society.
When I was young, and also as I grew older and became more conservative, I never wavered in my devotion to freedom of speech, as I imagine few of you have.
Restriction of speech is something we associate with Hitler, Stalin, and later, Mao—by far the three greatest mass murderers in human history with roughly 100 million deaths between them. That they regularly censored speech was no accident. It was part of the plan.
But in the United States, we were largely allowed to say what we wished—with the normal caveats, of course, such as shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
That is, until Big Tech.
The arrival of those barely controlled transnational behemoths—Facebook, Twitter, and Google—was accompanied by happy talk that now borders on the ludicrous, such as Google’s original slogan, “Don’t be evil.”
What we got instead was mass censorship of the citizens of the United States and the world via what’s arguably the most covert and dangerous method in history.
Secret algorithms were designed and myriad “hall monitors” hired to govern contributions to these companies, resulting in the canceling of who knows how many supposed ideological miscreants across the globe.
I was among them. Facebook recently canceled me with no explanation other than stating that I had violated “community standards.” I had long left Twitter of my own initiative.
For some time, Twitter has been the go-to place for people in the news business, giving the company outsized influence on the flow—or more often the suppression—of information.
This suppression reached its apotheosis with the deliberate censorship of the New York Post’s (absolutely accurate) reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop. According to pollsters, if this had been allowed to see the light of day, Trump would have fairly easily won the election of 2020 (assuming he didn’t anyway).
A second Trump presidency would have been the antithesis of what we have now in the widely disdained Biden administration, whoever is actually running it.
In other words, Twitter could be held responsible for the extraordinary level of inflation, the unprecedented supply chain woes, the insane departure from Afghanistan in which the United States left behind $80 billion in advanced military equipment for terrorists, the also unprecedented porous southern border with more drugs and human trafficking than ever, and, of course, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that never happened (nota bene) while Trump was in office, to name but a few.
Which brings us to Elon Musk. (You knew I would get there sooner or later).
Who knew the world’s richest man would become the savior of free speech? (It certainly goes against the famous quote attributed to Balzac: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”) But it’s quite clear that’s why he’s attempting to buy Twitter.
Lined up against him is the company’s board of directors, essentially a Politburo, determined—as are most of their ilk—to preserve the status quo. They’re doing it via a recent legal construct called a “poison pill,” which expands stock offerings to make the purchase of the company more expensive for the entity that intends to take it over.
I’m not going to name this board person by person—you can find it elsewhere—because I don’t want to give such reactionary wretches publicity.
But Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s skepticism about free speech has been widely quoted. A moral narcissist (someone should write a book about that), he prefers to inform us ignoramuses of the “real truth,” no matter what the outgrowth or veracity of his pronouncements.
Which raises the question: Why do these apparatchiks masquerading as board members oppose free speech? What’s so bad about people expressing their views?
Obviously, the problem for this Twitter board and the company’s CEO is that, deep down—they probably would never acknowledge this—they fear these people may be correct in their views.
In other words, the board members are cowards afraid to submit their ideological biases to the light of day.
They’re panicked. Why else would they go to the lengths they have to stop Musk from installing free speech where it should have been in the first place? (Well, their jobs, I suppose. Channeling what the prelates told Galileo when he insisted that the world was round, they brand speech they don’t agree with as “misinformation.”)
And now, according to Fox Business’ Charles Gasparino, our government is sticking its nose into the fray.
Gasparino said: “Both the DOJ and the SEC are clearly scrutinizing this entire matter. Now, we’re getting this from lawyers … they’re clearly monitoring and scrutinizing this entire issue—whether [Musk] filed the right forms, whether there’s a stock manipulation case here, whether he’s making public statements that he probably shouldn’t make. … What we do know is that he’s stirred up a regulatory hornets’ nest. DOJ, SEC, I’m getting this from lawyers who deal with them.”
Shall we say, “Welcome back, Comrade Stalin”? Is it time to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with “The East Is Red”?
Elon, don’t let these communist creeps stop you. Freedom of speech is the soul of America. Fight for it! Fight for all of us!
Do it and I might even buy a Tesla. The tech is cool, and I love the idea of a self-driving car (when it’s ready), even though I’m skeptical electric cars do much for the environment.
And I bet you’ll let me say that on Twitter when you own it.
And for those of you who think I’m exaggerating when I call even corporate board members communists, here are the words of Alexander Trachtenberg speaking at the National Convention of Communist Parties in Madison Square Garden, 1944:
“When we get ready to take the United States, we will not take you under the label of Communism. We will not take you under the label of Socialism. … We will take the United States under labels we have made very lovable; we will take it under Liberalism, under Progressivism, under Democracy. But take it we will.”
If he had known, he might have added, “We will take it under Twitter.”
Correction: This article has been updated to include the correct year for the National Convention of Communist Parties in Madison Square Garden.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.