The Left’s war on speech is not the first time it betrayed its values

·3 min read

With Biden officials now helping Big Tech firms flag “misinformation,” the ascendant Left once again has betrayed the beliefs it once stood for.

As this Tuesday’s editorial made clear, the White House is now trying to deputize social media companies to moderate content it does not like. In a briefing last Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki admitted that administration officials were “flagging problematic posts” for Facebook.

Psaki’s next words were even more troubling. The press secretary told reporters, “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation out there.” As I wrote last week, this is troubling because Big Tech companies have incorrectly identified misinformation before. Additionally, Democratic politicians’ collaboration with tech companies raises concerns about a proxy suppression of speech.

Democrats’ cooperation with social media companies to quell speech is a far cry from the free speech advocacy that came to define the old Left. Liberals would not have dreamed of silencing heterodox voices when they were under attack from college administrators less than 60 years ago.

In fact, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, which came to define student free speech rights, was supported by activist liberal groups like Students for a Democratic Society and civil rights groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Liberals wrapped their advocacy around First Amendment principles. As Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson wrote at American Greatness, “Almost every liberal cause was couched in terms of ‘The First Amendment’—whether it was the right of shouting obscenities, viewing pornography, or bringing controversial speakers to campus.”

Today, the Left has betrayed those values, opting instead to use the institutions sympathetic to its cause to tamp down dissent.

Now, this is not the first time the Left has turned its back on its beliefs. As Hanson notes, the Left has made complete reversals on big business, sports, and the media. And these ideological realignments have often coincided with a transformation of these key institutions.

The liberal old guard would have dismissed sports as the “opiates of the middle classes,” as Hanson articulates. But leftists have since realized the immense power of the athlete’s pulpit. As activists lionize today’s anthem protests, sports leagues have made commitments to social justice causes. Recently, the NFL pledged $250 million to “combat systemic racism.”

The old Left would have lambasted the rich, regardless of the source of their wealth, Hanson observes. Never would the old guard have accepted “dirty money” from corporate executives. Today, however, professional activist groups have raised tens of millions of dollars, often with the help of Fortune 500 companies.

The Left is changing its values now that many of our institutions are under its influence. The movement has reshaped its beliefs on business and sports. So it’s no surprise that it is abandoning its commitment to free speech.

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Tags: Joe Biden, Big Tech, Coronavirus, Facebook, Free Speech, Misinformation, Censorship, Twitter, woke

Original Author: Samuel Kim

Original Location: The Left’s war on speech is not the first time it betrayed its values