Suppression of speech and political activity from the usual sources
A troubling development in contemporary American politics is the emergence and normalization of authoritarian tendencies. I refer not to Donald Trump and his supporters—the usual object of this accusation—but to the American Left. Prominent voices on the Left are now illiberal by the standards that were developed and defended by liberals, sometimes the same ones, of an earlier generation.
Last month, left-wing news and opinion outlets published headlines blaring that Senator Ted Cruz had defended the use of the Nazi salute. This claim was then predictably amplified throughout the Twitterverse. The headlines, however, and the simple-minded and indignant Tweets that followed, were misinformation designed to discredit Cruz, long an object of the Left’s hatred.
Cruz’s remarks took place in a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee at which Attorney General Merrick Garland was testifying. Cruz, in the first place, was not even talking about the use of the Nazi salute to signal allegiance to Nazism. He was instead talking about its use by people who wished to protest—by mocking and insulting—the actions of public officials.
More to the point, however, Cruz was not “defending” the use of the Nazi salute at all. He merely pointed out that its use is, under the prevailing interpretation of the First Amendment, a form of constitutionally protected expression, and that it therefore cannot properly be treated as a reason for a federal investigation. This is not a controversial opinion and would not seem to merit denunciation. Indeed, in his own testimony, Garland immediately agreed with Cruz that the salute is protected by the First Amendment.
There is a serious problem here, beyond the by now very tiresome and predictable dishonesty of much of the American news media. If defenses of First Amendment protections of offensive expression are going to be popularly equated with defenses of the offensive expression itself, then it will, sooner or later, become disreputable to defend constitutional norms of free expression. And as a further result those norms will decay and finally vanish. Constitutional norms cannot live without actual human beings who are willing to uphold them, and such willingness will evaporate if upholding them makes you the object of mass media denunciation.
American liberals used to understand this quite well. The classical, if not cliched, attitude of a liberal has always been to proclaim, “I disagree with what you are saying, but I would defend to the death your right to say it!” Some liberals today might still say that, but few contemporary leftists would.
A second and even clearer example of authoritarian tendencies on the Left also showed up recently. This time the provocation was a television documentary—specifically, Tucker Carlson’s show on the events of last January 6. Having seen only the trailer, some public voices claimed that Carlson’s documentary should not see the light of day.
Lindsey Simmons—a Missouri Democrat, aspiring Congresswoman, and (in her Twitter bio) self-proclaimed “cultivator of Democracy”—responded to Carlson’s promotion of his documentary as follows: “The freedom of speech is not absolute. It can be restricted where it incites imminent lawless action. Tucker Carlson and Fox News are creating propaganda to incite a Civil War. At some point we must use the legal tools available to us before it is too late.”
Simmons is a product of Harvard Law School, and so she knows how to invoke the language of the Supreme Court’s First Amendment doctrines, like “incit[ing] imminent lawless action.” But she either does not understand or is deliberately distorting the First Amendment standards to which she refers. To do what she is suggesting—to prevent or punish the airing of Tucker Carlson’s documentary—would not be using the legal tools available to us. It would be replacing those tools with new tools that are not consistent with the First Amendment standards that have existed for more than fifty years.
The “imminent lawless action” standard was articulated by the Supreme Court in 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio. There the Court (unanimously!) voided the conviction of a leader of the Ku Klux Klan who had, in the course of a speech at a Klan rally, made some threatening remarks and who had then been prosecuted under Ohio’s criminal syndicalism statute. That statute made it a crime to advocate the use of “crime, sabotage, violence or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform.”
It was not clear that Brandenburg had advocated violence in the words he used. He had remarked rather vaguely and inarticulately that “some revengance” might have to be taken on America’s political institutions. In any case, the Court held that even if Brandenburg had clearly advocated violence, he could not be convicted, because he was not advocating immediate action that was likely to take place. According to the Court, modern First Amendment doctrine establishes “the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
Carlson’s documentary offers an alternative account of the events of January 6 than the one has prevailed thus far—and his account is not flattering to the government of the United States. For the sake of argument, give Carlson’s critics every benefit of the doubt and suppose his documentary is wholly a pack of lies. It still could not be touched under the “imminent lawless action” test. For him to be subject to legal punishment, he would have to have advocated illegal actions that are likely about to happen. Did anybody seriously expect that? Did Lindsey Simmons think a civil war might break out because of a TV show?
Does Lindsey Simmons not see that her principles, if adopted, would permit conservative state governments to suppress the speech of left-wing critics of American society? It is common for such critics to say that our “system” must be “torn down,” or to claim that America is guilty of “genocide” or equally egregious crimes. Wouldn’t these be incitements to revolution or civil war? These are the kinds of consequences that ought to be pondered by those who wish to use the power of government to silence those with whom they disagree.
The dangers here are not immediate but are nevertheless real. Ted Cruz is a big boy. He’s a famous person and a United States senator. He won’t be materially harmed by his enemies’ smears. Similarly, there is no danger that Tucker Carlson will be prosecuted for airing a documentary. Most American judges have more respect for existing First Amendment standards than celebrity lawyer/politicians sounding off on Twitter. But our task should be to preserve freedom of speech and debate for the next generation and the generation after that, and that task requires that the left’s authoritarian tendencies be confronted and repudiated now.
The Democrats’ race politics have consistently been a means to an end: destruction of traditional class hierarchies.
How scientific are those who constantly cite “science” as the basis for dictating our lives?
During a recent press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki blamed the 80 million unvaccinated Americans for the current COVID-19 plight confronting America, even though, throughout the presidential campaign both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris professed a profound distrust of the vaccines. In an attempt to obscure this unfortunate reality, Yahoo! News parsed the vice president’s words by reporting that she only said, “she did not trust Trump and would wait for more credible sources of information.”
Are we now to believe that the efficacy of a medicine is determined by the outcome of an election? Can Americans mail in enough ballots and elect aspirin as the cure to cancer? Or was the vice president just playing games with a life-threatening ailment in an effort to acquire power?
While hiding in his basement, Joe Biden routinely castigated Trump’s COVID-19 response in his daily mutterings to the press, even though the speedy manufacture of the vaccines was a focal point of Trump’s response. Political science focuses on the theory and practice of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. So, was it virology, biology, or political science that enabled the Left to successfully weaponize COVID as a means to gain control of the White House? Is the party of science actually the party of political science?
When considering social media, we have been told that private companies and private citizens are free to impede a person’s commerce, career, and speech. It’s no harm, no foul, as long as you’re only getting hosed by private actors.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, however, is suing the state of Texas out of concern that private citizens will preclude a person’s right to abortion. Is the attorney general making a legal admission that a band of private citizens can actually trample the constitutional rights of other people? Furthermore, and putting aside any moral judgments, is there a scientific justification for why abortion rights have superseded the rights explicitly enumerated in the U.S. Constitution?
What is the science or axiom behind the Left’s accusations of cultural appropriation? Small businesses and local eateries have been dinged as cultural appropriators, while major corporations such as Taco Bell are granted a pass. Do menu items such as nacho fries or the Crunchwrap Supreme merit an authenticity exemption? Or could it be the science of economics, where major corporations fund all the proper causes? The cultural appropriation guidelines governing personal appearance are equally as murky. High profile leftists such as Jimmy Kimmel, Joy Behar, Justin Trudeau, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have all donned blackface, yet each has forged a successful career out of self-righteously calling other people racist. Equally confusing is how white people with hair braids are bad and subject to social media ridicule, while those rocking a tribal tattoo are especially trendy.
When I was a kid in grammar school, we were taught that a new ice age was coming and risked freezing to death. Is it possible that climate experts overcorrected the ice age trajectory and put us on course towards global warming? Researchers think that 6,000 years ago the Sahara Desert was covered in grass and received plenty of water. Could the climate experts enact the Green New Deal in the Sahara and restore this desert wasteland back to a tropical paradise? Such an endeavor could create countless green jobs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and shut up climate deniers by highlighting their climate control abilities.
Why does the homicide rate of African Americans receive such scant attention? For each statistic there is a real family grieving the loss of a loved one. Yet, those who pretend to care so much seem more interested in Robin DiAngelo’s lectures on white fragility. Interestingly, DiAngelo does not seem to study the human mind like other psychological schools of thought, in as much as she attempts to mold it to support preferred policy prescriptions.
In a similar vein, Charlamagne tha God, a very popular radio host, recently landed a television show on Comedy Central and his commercials include witty comments about white privilege. Congrats to Charlamagne on his new show. He and DiAngelo are free to sell their ideas, but it does seem contradictory that whites are simultaneously fragile and guilty of supremacy. The contradiction may be resolved by the simple fact that resentments are more marketable than gratitude, and victimhood more celebrated than resiliency.
As a Washington, D.C. resident I see bumper stickers “I believe in science” “science is real,” but no such references to self-awareness.
Art Kleinschmidt, MBA, PhD is the former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also served at HHS at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration.
This weekend, a bipartisan group of senators crafted a $1 trillion measure to repair and expand the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, airports and broadband. Last week, this trillion-dollar inf…
A number of figures in the alt-media and extreme-left movement have surprised their audiences by rationalizing the Trump administration’s Israeli-directed push towards war with Iran.
The consensus between high profile voices on the Zionist “far-right” and anarcho-neocon “far-left” in America and Britain reflect the party line in Israel, where even Amir Peretz of the ostensibly left-wing “opposition” Labor party hailed the Pentagon’s decision to assassinate Maj. General Qassem Soleimani by luring him to Iraq under the false pretense of peace negotiations.
Spencer Sunshine, a self-proclaimed anarchist and prominent voice in the American “antifa” scene who has been accused of Zionist entryism in the past, took to twitter to reiterate Sean Hannity’s script on the killing: that the Iranians brought it upon themselves by “antagonizing” America and “meddling” in Iraq. It speaks to the state of the modern coopted left that somebody like Sunshine can express the Israeli government’s line and still survive the scrutiny of his peers. Sunshine is very suspicious of anti-war sentiment due to the fact that Jews like Sheldon Adelson and Jared Kushner are responsible for our over-the-top Iran policy. He has spent much of his career fighting what he calls “left-wing anti-Semitism” (principled anti-Zionism).
Caroline Orr, another fanatical Jewish supporter of “antifa,” chastised “fellow” leftists for ignoring Soleimani’s supposed “slaughter” of Syrians during the fight to save the country from ISIS. After some pushback, Orr is backpedaling, but her initial approval shows the Jewish nexus between the virulent anti-white forces on the left and the appetite for war against Iran on the so-called right. She also has made a name for herself for promoting fake news about “Russiagate” and attacking anti-war presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
While a branch of the left led by “tankies” (Workers World Party and Revolutionary Communist Party) behind the ANSWER coalition are adamantly against imperialism, many anarchists and “democratic socialists” support the CIA-led protest groups we have seen in recent months in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, which have largely subsided but were intended to purge pro-Iran political factions. These groups are meant to incite a civil war, so these left-wing voices basically support regime change as well, just not by a full US ground invasion.
The ANSWER coalition’s anti-war protests that erupted across America were small, showing that the left is not passionate about opposing this conflict. Figures like AOC and high ranking advisors in the Bernie Sanders campaign all attended the Zionist Dov Hikind’s march against black “anti-Semitism” yesterday, but not any of the anti-war rallies.
On the other side of the coin, Anne Marie Waters of the “For Britain” group has fully embraced an invasion of Iran. Waters, a remnant of the largely Jewish funded “counter-jihad” movement, does not bother to articulate what the West stands to gain from such a conflict. Her only argument is a neo-liberal desire to impose gay plutocracy on the unwilling Iranians so that Israel can safely continue its expansionist foreign policy.
Mike Cernovich, who made a name for himself in 2016 in part for his non-interventionist views on Syria, has been reduced to an Iraq-war era Toby Keith style jingo. He got so much pushback that he too was forced to “clarify” his opposition to war overnight.
Alex Jones of InfoWars has released a new conspiracy theory claiming that the Jews who control Donald Trump’s government had to set off a chain-reaction that will lead to a regional conflagration in order to prevent World War III. According to Jones, the Obama administration is responsible for tensions with Iran by engaging with diplomacy with the country instead of attacking it. His audience isn’t buying it. Over half of the reactions on his Bitchute video on the topic are negative.
Nick Fuentes of the Youtube show “America First” has also come under fire for recent statements on Telegram. While he prefaces his statements by saying he technically opposes a full war with Iran, he followed this by cheerleading threats by Zionists in Washington to bomb ancient Persian cultural sites, calls Iran a “degenerate Muslim shithole,” celebrates “America bullying ppl and throwing around missiles”, and comes to the defense of the “American-led” globalist military order, which Trump himself repeatedly criticized throughout his life and, as Tucker Carlson has said, won the presidency in large part by running against it.
The mealy-mouthed Charlie Kirk of TPUSA, a libertarian-Zionist think-tank Trump has recently adopted to engage in outreach for his 2020 campaign, tepidly approved of Washington’s hit on Soleimani, but has also come out in support of full military withdrawal from Iraq.
Any military entanglement with Iran polls very poorly in America.
The latest opinion research finds that almost 70% of Americans believe heightened tensions with Iran are entirely the fault of the Trump administration. Even after Trump and Mike Pompeo accused Iran of attacking the oil fields of “ally” Saudi Arabia on September 14th, 75% of Americans responded that a war with Iran was completely unwarranted.
While a vocal minority of people are eager to see explosions and dead Arabs at any cost, the majority of Americans understand that a war with Iran will not be like Afghanistan or Iraq. Public support is also not anywhere near where it was for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Such a conflict will be felt at home, either through Iranian sleeper cells attacking US targets, large numbers of dead American soldiers in the Middle East, or exploding food and gas prices. The argument that killing Soleimani has made Americans safer was widely mocked after the State Department put out a subsequent statement telling US citizens to get out of Iraq immediately.
White workers have no stake in this Israeli-dictated war. The current failure of the left and right to hold a full-throated line against the coming catastrophe is why a third position is needed now more than ever