The First Amendment Is in Peril

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Will the Democratic Party’s thirst for revenge end freedom of speech?

By Phil Giraldi

The Democratic Party’s seizure of power, however that was achieved, might very well mean that today’s Americans could be the last generation to enjoy the benefits of free speech. Witness, for example, the politicians’ and media’s choice of language and words that were used to describe what occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The overwhelmingly liberal media as well as some Democratic congressmen have officially declared it “incitement of insurrection.”

Other expressions that have surfaced regularly include “domestic terrorism,” “sedition,” “right-wing mobs,” a “coup” or a “storming” of the building, all reportedly driven by incendiary language used by President Donald Trump. Others preferred describing a “breaching” of security or even a “riot” or possibly “treason.” A local newspaper in Virginia wrote a headline saying that the Capitol building was “ransacked” while Politico sounded the alarm about the “mob who breached the Capitol.” The New York Times thundered that the “mob” included “infamous white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.”

Very few news or information sources provided an alternative view. I have spoken to a number of individuals who were present at the protest and they describe a relatively peaceful gathering made up of ordinary citizens who were present to protest against the quite plausible possibility that there might have been considerable fraud in the election. And now there is something like a witch hunt going on to identify, arrest, and convict those individuals who actually entered the Capitol building, some of whom were actually allowed to enter by security guards.

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Contrast that for a moment with the six months of destruction to include arson, looting, and destruction of public property that also included occupations of government buildings and creation of urban no-go zones carried out by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa. The mainstream media described the mayhem as “peaceful” and those arrested were relatively few in number and most were immediately released by liberal judges. Democratic Party mayors and other government officials played their part in the mayhem by praising the demonstrators and giving the police orders to back off from any confrontation. Many innocent citizens lost their businesses and other property, and some were killed or severely beaten when they resisted the looters.

So, there is a tale of how one series of events involving white people is described and how it differs from another involving black and white racial activists. To demonstrate just how ridiculous the willful distortion of reality can be, one need only cite some press reports on the Capitol incident suggesting that the death toll was not higher because of restraint by the police due to “white privilege” as most of the demonstrators were Caucasian. One kept hearing on outlets like National Public Radio (NPR) and also from Democratic politicians, “If that crowd had been black . . .” ridiculously implying that there would have been a massacre of innocents with police firing at will.

It is political correctness and “social justice” run wild, and it means that there cannot any longer be honest accounting of political and social developments in the United States. This tendency to concoct fake news on the part of the mainstream media is now being exacerbated by decisions by the powerful social media to set up boards of censors that are empowered to ban certain content without any due process. One ex-Obama advisor has even claimed that social media caused the Capitol building riot by “enabling the spread of the lies, hate speech, and conspiracy theories [by rightwing extremists] that led to” the attack.

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Since the Democrats now command a majority in both houses of Congress as well as the White House, that will mean that those labeled “white supremacists” and their message will be expunged while politically correct social justice content will be promoted. Several social media platforms have begun banning what they call rightwing material, and Joe Biden, as well as several senators, have, in fact, already promised to bring in stronger “domestic terrorism prevention” legislation based on the Patriot Act. Even those who believe themselves “safe” by holding reliably progressive views will eventually discover that any deviance from establishment-acceptable positions will be forbidden.

Though the content being banned is almost exclusively from conservative sources, conveniently labeled “white supremacist” or racist, it also includes blocking alternative news reports from foreign media, to include Russia and Iran. Iranian news reporting has been disappearing from nearly all the social media sites while one might have noted that the only thing missing from the Capitol event had been the allegations that it included “interference” by the Russians. Now it appears that some Democrats are actually pointing their fingers at Vladimir Putin!

President Trump has been permanently banned from his favorite mechanism for communication with his audience, Twitter, demonstrating how the reach of the media giants includes everyone they choose to describe as “dangerous,” no matter how powerful. Mr. Trump has also been blocked on Facebook. One can plausibly make a case that he crossed a line in terms of encouragement of uncivil behavior, but that is certainly a view that can be challenged based on what he actually said and tweeted. Meanwhile, Sen. Josh Hawley, Republican from Missouri, has had his book contract cancelled by Simon & Schuster, not due to marketing or factual issues but solely because he supported President Trump.

Even well-established political figures with the best reputations are already beginning to be affected by the fallout from the Capitol incident. Dr. Ron Paul, the former congressman from Texas who has been a consistent critic of corruption in government and an opponent of our nation’s endless and pointless wars, has been blocked from his own page on Facebook for his alleged failure to conform with “community standards.” In spite of queries from Paul and his associates regarding what those standards might be, there has been no response from Facebook apart from repeating the claim. Shortly before the suspension, Paul had written a piece complaining about censorship on the internet.

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It is quite one thing to shut down a mechanism that enables “free speech” to a larger audience and quite another to criminalize what one says, but that is the direction that the Democratic Party is going in. Some Democrats are calling for investigation and punishment for some fellow politicians, government employees, and ordinary citizens who might be found guilty of supporting the Trump “coup.” Several identified demonstrators have already lost their jobs while The Washington Post has demanded that “seditious Republicans must be held accountable.” There is even some discussion of setting up a “truth commission” to investigate and punish those individuals who aided in Trump’s other alleged crimes prior to the Capitol incident. Such people might have their liberty to travel on commercial flights, to associate in groups, and/or to hold certain jobs restricted, expanding on existing anti-terror legislation that would now include a focus on “rightwing terrorism” while also increasing the number of “hate crimes.” Allegations of “terrorism” offenses and “hate crimes” will carry with them civil and criminal punishment. Surveillance of individuals who have committed no crimes would likely increase dramatically.

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Free speech in America is the bedrock of our liberties and it is now under siege more than at any other time in our history—including during the War Between the States. Social and news media, allied with the Democratic Party, are not in any way motivated to present their stories in a fashion that is either fair or honest. This will only get worse as Nancy Pelosi and company do their best to bury the Republican Party forever in the wake of Donald Trump.

The totalitarian moment is coming to America and it will not be pretty. It remains to be seen how the citizens of this country will react.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. His other articles appear on the website of “The Unz Review.”