Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink (27 page)

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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Can you believe they pay adults to spend their time harassing students like this? At this school, officials have total discretion to deny students permission to speak on campus if the content of their speech doesn't “support the mission of the school or the mission of a recognized college entity or activity,” said Travis Barham, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm that represented the aggrieved students after they sued the university. Barham said the school's policy is so restrictive that it prohibits spontaneous conversations anywhere on campus.
The lawsuit was eventually settled, with the college agreeing to change the policies that led to the students' arrest—after a federal judge indicated he believed the school's policies were unconstitutional.

FIRE defines speech codes as “any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large. Any policy—such as a harassment policy—can be a speech code if it prohibits protected speech or expression.” FIRE points out—chillingly—that “if universities applied these rules to the letter, major voices of public criticism, satire, and commentary would be silenced on American campuses, and some of our greatest authors, artists, and filmmakers would be banned.” These codes harm some students through censorship, and they lead other students to believe they can go through life free of being offended, embarrassed, or made to feel uncomfortable. Our universities are desensitizing students to our liberties, and as FIRE notes, “A nation that does not educate in freedom will not survive in freedom, and will not even know when it has lost it.”

It is particularly dangerous that universities, which are supposed to be bastions of academic inquiry and free expression, are leading the charge against free speech. In
Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech
, author Keith Whittington sounds the alarm. “The current crisis of free speech on college campuses,” writes
Whittington, “is both symptom and cause of a larger threat to the maintenance of liberal democracy itself.” Free speech is intrinsically part of what universities are about. “Likewise, free speech is bred into the bones of a modern university, and any institution that sets those principles aside can no longer be meaningfully regarded as a proper institution of higher education.”

Unfortunately, Whittington argues, many universities have abandoned their responsibilities and become “mere facades that camouflage a campus culture that has rejected liberal tolerance and free inquiry in favor of dogma and indoctrination.” Universities, he notes, are essential to the communication of ideas in our society and so must honor free expression. “Sacrificing speech subverts the very rationale for having a university and hampers the ability of universities to achieve their most basic goals.”
But to honor their mission, universities must “preserve the college campus as a sanctuary for serious debate of unorthodox ideas and avoid succumbing to the temptation to make” universities “echo chambers of orthodox creeds.”

Thankfully, most speech codes that have been challenged in court have been struck down.
But as I've told you, leftists never rest. Instead of tucking their tails between their legs, they double down. George Mason law professor Jon Gould observes that “hate speech policies not only persist, but they have actually increased in number following a series of court decisions that ostensibly found many to be unconstitutional.”
Enterprising progressives simply began to craft their speech codes more narrowly. “Many of the provisions that used to be called speech codes are now being wrapped into anti-harassment policies,” according to University of Pennsylvania law professor Robert Richards.

Campus speech codes arose during the 1980s and early 1990s supposedly to address discrimination and harassment, with more than 350 public colleges and universities adopting codes to regulate “hate speech” by 1995. In typical Orwellian fashion, far-left professors argued that these assaults on free speech were needed to protect free
expression, particularly of minorities, who they said were made unsafe by exposure to hate speech.

Naturally, it didn't take long for a wide range of conservative advocacy to be classified as hate speech, which it turns out is just another term leftists distort to muzzle conservatives. Simply expressing support for President Trump—as noted earlier—is now grounds for accusations of hate speech and threatening students' safety.

The opposition to free speech has jumped from academic misfits to the Democratic Party. For example, in a
Washington Post
column former Obama official Richard Stengel advocated a federal ban on hate speech, citing dismay among Arab diplomats that Americans are not arrested for burning the Koran. Stengel bemoans that American jurisprudence even protects hateful speech that can lead to violence, calling it a “design flaw” in the First Amendment. Law professor Jonathan Turley responded that this so-called design flaw is free speech itself. Noting that the Democratic Party has “abandoned its historic fealty to free speech,” Turley fears the willingness of leftist politicians like AOC to coerce social media companies into regulating speech—“to do what the government cannot do under our Constitution.” “It seems Democrats have fallen out of love with free speech and lost all tolerance for opposing views,” wrote Turley.

In light of the left's growing intolerance, it was predictable that leftists would begin a campaign to harass and intimidate conservatives in public. Kirstjen Nielsen, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Ted Cruz, among many other prominent conservatives, have been verbally abused and run out of restaurants. In years past Democrats would have denounced this thuggery, but after each of these incidents you hardly heard a peep of condemnation out of them.

All this fanaticism reaches its natural endpoint in Antifa. On my show I covered the despicable tactics of Antifa in Portland, where they blocked traffic, assaulted pedestrians, and threatened commuters. According to
USA Today
, Antifa's “primary goal is to stop neo-Nazis and white supremacists from gaining a platform.”
In plain
English, this means Antifa aims to use violence to stop their political opponents—including conservatives and Trump supporters, all of whom Antifa labels as neo-Nazis—from speaking publicly. Once again, the Orwellian element is undeniable here—in the name of opposing fascism, Antifa acts exactly like fascists do, violently attacking their political opponents in the street in order to deny them any means of expressing their beliefs.

Antifa already has a long, sick record of violent assaults. In fact, the group managed to get one of its own killed in Tacoma, Washington, on July 13, 2019, after one of their supporters set fire to a car outside an ICE detention facility for illegal immigrants. The attacker, Willem Van Spronsen, then opened fire on the building with an AR-15, hurled Molotov cocktails, and attempted to blow up a propane tank. Police shot Van Spronsen when he aimed his rifle at them and ignored their commands.

The most recent (and egregious) example of Antifa's incitement was the plague of riots following the death of George Floyd. The president tweeted that moving forward, Antifa will be recognized as a terrorist organization.

There can be little doubt Antifa will be responsible for more casualties unless authorities take a much stronger approach to their violent acts and adopt a much more proactive policy of defending the free speech rights of the group's targets.


America's social media giants are mostly owned and run by leftists, and it's common knowledge, except among leftists who deny common knowledge, that they are discriminating against conservatives on their platforms. Actually, I find it amusing that leftists deny they discriminate against conservatives on social media while simultaneously defending their right and even their duty to do it—supposedly
to protect users from hate and misinformation. They'll make up some pretext or another for suspending or suppressing conservatives—violation of terms of service, using “manipulated” images, etc.—but everyone understands what's really going on here. When conservatives, like
Daily Caller
reporter Chuck Ross, get suspended from Twitter for tweeting “learn to code” at liberal journalists—meant to point out the heartlessness of leftists who say laid-off workers in disfavored industries should simply learn a new trade—it's obvious social media is cracking down on one political camp and protecting the other.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey adamantly denied that Twitter bases its decisions to rank content or enforce its rules on political ideology. “We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially,” Dorsey told Congress.
But the facts show otherwise. Richard Hanania, a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University, assembled a database of prominent, politically active Twitter users who were temporarily or permanently suspended. “My results make it difficult to take claims of political neutrality seriously,” wrote Hanania. “Of 22 prominent, politically active individuals who are known to have been suspended since 2005 and who expressed a preference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 21 supported Donald Trump.”

Hanania also notes that conservatives are often punished for certain types of speech that liberals engage in with impunity. He cites Sarah Jeong, an editorial writer for the
New York Times
, who posted many tweets expressing her contempt for white people. Twitter had no problem with those tweets, but it suspended conservative Candace Owens when she copied some of Jeong's tweets and changed “white” to “Jewish” to make a point. And it's not just Twitter, Hanania points out. He noted that if you type “Sarah Jeong” in a Google search box, it will not provide auto-complete suggestions that refer to her controversial tweets, whereas Bing and Yahoo both suggest “Sarah Jeong racist.” (As I write this, Bing no longer suggests “Sarah Jeong racist,” though it does suggest “Sarah Jeong Jews.”) “While one could argue that individuals' worst moments shouldn't follow them around forever,
it is difficult to imagine a big tech company suppressing unflattering information about a conservative in a similar manner,” said Hanania.

At Facebook, company officers don't go to particularly great lengths to disguise their political preferences. In fact, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election right on her platform. “Tonight, I am hopeful thinking about what it means for my children to watch Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic nomination for president of the United States and for me to be able to tell them #ImWithHer,” Sandberg posted on Facebook.
Oops—guess that was a little premature. But Sandberg's announcement was especially brazen given that Facebook had just recently been accused of suppressing conservative stories, and several of their executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sandberg herself, had met with conservative commentators to try to convince them of Facebook's political neutrality.

At Google, a window opened into the company's culture when a software engineer, James Damore, sent around a memo proposing that biological differences between men and women could explain the gender gap in tech companies, since women are more prone to “empathizing” and men to “systematizing.” In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to employees beginning with his assurance that “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves”—and then he completely undermined that guarantee by whining about how Damore's memo made his snowflake employees feel “under threat” and unsure whether they can “safely” express their views. Soon after that, Damore was fired.

Similarly, in 2014, before “Cancel Culture” was even a thing, Brendan Eich was hounded into resigning as CEO of Mozilla when it became known that years before, he'd contributed to California's Proposition 8, affirming that marriage is between one man and one woman. There was no tolerance, no mercy, and no forgiveness for Eich, just naming, shaming, and unceasing harassment until he could no longer continue in his job.

I've often featured James O'Keefe on my show to highlight his incredible investigative reporting of abominable leftist behavior. His Project Veritas organization interviewed whistle-blowers from Pinterest and Google, revealing that these companies intentionally suppress conservative content in an effort to promote the left's agenda and prevent another “Trump situation” in 2020.
Proving O'Keefe's point, YouTube and Vimeo blocked access to the interviews.


Even Ravelry, a presumably apolitical knitting website, banned pro-Trump messages and users from its site, claiming Trump's message is racist.
Notice the telltale nod to inclusiveness as Ravelry drummed out political dissidents from their knitting club: “We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy.”
Why would a knitting site take such a polarizing political stance? The answer, as I've told you, is that the left politicizes everything. Leftism is their religion. It is their constitution. It is their be-all and end-all. You'd think they'd enjoy bringing people of various political views together to share their common hobby, but no,
is subservient to left-wing politics.

Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign's digital guru, explains that “Democrats view free speech as a threat to their political ambitions.”
They “are extremely concerned about the power of social media to circumvent the standard media channels they control. Legacy media outlets such as CNN and
The New York Times
are vital to the Democrats' political power, using their influence to create an ‘echo chamber' in support of liberal viewpoints,” said Parscale, referring to Ben Rhodes's media manipulations, as I detailed earlier.

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
6.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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