A Big Win in a Long War

In the darkest days of World War II, after three arduous years of fighting for their very survival, Britain and the allies finally began to turn the tide. As recorded in the archives of the International Churchill Society, upon the victory over German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel at El Alamein, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was urged to ring out the bells to herald their victory in “The Battle of Egypt.” 

Churchill demurred: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

So, too, is it with Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter in the censorious Left’s war on free speech.

Musk intends to bring changes to the platform, reports Ryan Saavedra at the Daily Wire.com, including “loosening up the platform’s content moderators, making the platform’s algorithms open-sourced, eliminating bots, and authenticating real humans on the platform.” 

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO explained his reasons for the purchase: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated . . . Twitter has tremendous potential—I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

The Left was swift in averring that the protection and promotion of free speech is one of the few changes they don’t support. Typifying their apoplectic response is former governor of Vermont and past Democratic National Committee chairman, Dr. Howard Dean, who tweeted

Hi Twitterverse. Many thanks for the knowledge and sharing over the past ten years or so. If Musk takes over Twitter I will be off within a few hours. Might be just as well for my well being but I’ve learned a lot of valuable stuff from many of you. Thank you all. Howard

While Dean’s and others’ parting is sweet sorrow, this is by no means the Left’s “farewell. Adieu!” in their lust for censorship. Yes, Musk’s purchase of Twitter is (ostensibly) a major victory for free speech. But it is merely a victory in a battle. The Left’s war on free speech continues and, in the wake of Musk’s victory, will only intensify.

Consider this letter from former intelligence officials advocating the continuation of the collusion between government and Big Tech corporations to monitor and censor online speech. Barack Obama, whose administration fostered the collusion between government and Big Tech to stifle dissent, demanded more be done to censor online speech. And, of course, there is the Biden Administration’s establishment of the “Disinformation Governance Board” (a.k.a. “Ministry of Truth”) within the Department of Homeland Security to chill free speech and silence dissent. Refusing to be left out of this fetid morass of elitism, hypocrisy, and deceit, the corporate media, too, is all in on the censorship bandwagon.

Representative of the corporate media mindset is Martin Baron, who delivered the annual Compton Lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As reported in the MIT News, Baron’s obliviousness to irony and abject lack of self-awareness, indeed, epitomize an industry with a cratering public approval rating. 

The path we are on today is an invitation to ruin . . . Verifiable fact, objective reality, is now under determined, deliberate, cynical, and malevolent assault. I can think of no greater threat to our system of governance, or to the public good.

He is right, of course. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize the road to ruin is his beloved censorship. Because, in Baron’s mind, the problem is that you are too stupid to make your own decisions. Hold your nose and take in this patronizing passage that reeks of Baron’s elitist condescension: 

To get us back to a society firmly rooted in objective reality, I believe we will have to come up with answers to some urgent questions. Here are a few. What makes the human mind susceptible to falsehoods from nonexperts and resistant to evidence-based facts from people with expertise? How can we better signal to the public that knowledge is not static? . . . How can we get the public to better understand and weigh the risks they face in daily life? How do we better signal that there is a distinction between scientific facts and policy decisions? . . . How can reality-based professionals disseminate information in a manner that is more persuasive to more people?

Could one rationally expect better from Baron, who “has been one of America’s highest-profile newsroom leaders for the last two decades,” serving at the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Boston Globe, and the Washington Post?

Nope.

What happens when the underpinnings of that democracy are eroded? What happens when instead of debating policies, we find ourselves debating the most basic facts? What happens when we can’t even agree on what constitutes a fact? What happens when all those elements we rely upon for determining what is a fact—expertise, education, experience, and evidence—are routinely devalued, dismissed, and denied?

What Baron is asking on behalf of himself and the corporate media is “what happens to elitists like me when you peons won’t listen?” Odd, isn’t it, how the morally relative Left that believes truth is subjective now wants to determine objective verities? Odd, too, how their latest siren song is that we must make the world safe for elitism to save our democracy? 

Baron, Biden, Obama, and the (oxymoronically named) intelligence community’s recent expressions in support of censorship are all part of a coordinated campaign to stifle free speech and dissent to advance the Left’s agenda. Why? The Left loathes free speech because they cannot win an honest debate. Really, who in their right mind can defend policies that have failed for generations? Ironically, then, its war on free speech is lamentably one of the few instances where the Left has confronted and accepted reality. And, as they proclaim, the Left seeks to fundamentally and coercively transform not only America, but reality, itself.

Hence, as noted by Drew Allen in an exceptional American Greatness essay, “The Ruling Class’ Pantheon of Lies”: “Would-be totalitarians like Obama don’t want to prevent the flooding of the public square with raw sewage. They want the exclusive ability to flood the public square with sewage and prevent its cleanup.”

So, again, Musk’s battle with Twitter was a major victory; but it is only part of the eternal war between self-anointed elitists and the people over free speech. It is “the end of the beginning” in cleansing the public square from the Left’s sewage. Yet, as history instructs, any lapse in a free people’s commitment to the struggle for free speech—indeed, for all their God-given, constitutionally recognized, enumerated, and protected individual rights—will spur a recrudescence of the Left’s deceitful sludge into the public square and our private lives.

For, as the abolitionist Wendell Phillips warned Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1852: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.”

About Thaddeus G. McCotter

The Hon. Thaddeus McCotter is the former chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, current itinerant guitarist, American Greatness contributor, and Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show."

Photo: Martin Baron, former executive editor, The Washington Post. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images

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