Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is issuing a strong warning about the threats to free speech and Internet freedom.
“You know, the Obama FCC has invoked the Fairness Doctrine a number of times with sort of wistful glances to the past. Nostalgia,” he said. “You know if I had suggested years ago that the Obama administration would send government observers into the newsrooms of major media organizations, that claim would have been ridiculed. And yet that is exactly what the FCC did.”
“I think it is difficult to find an action that is beyond the pale of what this government would do when it comes to stifling free speech,” Cruz added.
The Texas firebrand contended that if the Democrats had the authority, the First Amendment could be in great peril.
“I think the threats to free speech, under big government statists, have never been greater,” he said. “You know, in Washington, D.C., when you drive down Pennsylvania Avenue you come to the Newseum. And carved into granite, some forty feet tall, are the words to the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. If the Democrats had their way, they’ll have to sandblast those words out of there. I think we cannot overstate these threats.”
In the interview with The Blaze, Cruz also denounced President Obama’s plan to hand Internet domain registration over to foreign bodies as “reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s idea to give away the Panama Canal,” warning it would imperil American interests and “undermine free speech.”
The presidential contender is correct on all counts, and it’s a pity the rest of the Republican field hesitates to address these issues with such verve. There is a lingering fear among GOP consultants that frank discussions of liberal philosophy and their not-so-hidden agenda will frighten away moderates, by making conservative candidates sound paranoid.
However, Democrats feel completely free to question the very humanity of even the most moderate Republicans, caricaturing their philosophy as heartless greed, or even active sadism. A Democrat thinks nothing of saying that conservatives who wish to reform the welfare state don’t care about poor people dying in the streets, Second Amendment supporters are trigger-happy psychopaths, and those who call for the repeal of ObamaCare secretly harbor a bloodthirsty desire to watch uninsured people drop dead in the streets.
The Left is perpetually claiming it has telepathic powers to see inside the minds and hearts of its opponents. It’s rare to hear a single speech from a prominent Democrat that doesn’t include some allegation about what their opponents are “really” thinking. They give not the slightest credit for goodwill; few on the Left will ever allow that the Loyal Opposition wants the best for everyone, but is mistaken in its methods. Come to think of it, they’re increasingly unwilling to concede the opposition is “loyal” at all, as the questioning of dissidents’ patriotism has become routine in the Obama era.
Ted Cruz, more than any other Republican presidential candidate, understands how to fight like a Democrat. (Donald Trump knows how to talk like one, but that’s only part of the formula.) He’s absolutely correct about the growing statist hostility to free speech, and it’s a topic on which the American Left is prepared to find common cause with repressive regimes and ideologies around the world.
Free speech means dissent, and dissent compromises power, especially in an Information Age society where ideas travel quickly, and the Big Media gatekeepers are losing their ability to control public thought. In everything from its “trigger warning” academic culture, to online hate mobs and stifling government regulation, the Left has abandoned even the pretense of a commitment to free speech. Such freedom is now a limited commodity to be weighed, measured, and distributed by the proper authorities. The campus thought-control culture in which our next generation of leaders are currently marinating is explicitly dedicated to the proposition that free speech for some requires the muzzling of others, based on political judgments about each party’s historical “power” and “privilege.”
When an international body begins regulating the Internet, most of the American Left will go along with speech controls, provided their priorities are given some consideration in the regulatory regime. We’ve already heard calls to criminalize skepticism of climate-change dogma, and watched “liberals” suddenly become sympathetic to suppressing speech that offends one particular religion. Across the Pacific, China is calling for an Internet more agreeable to its authoritarian philosophy. There is plenty of common ground for the most aggressive censors in every corner of the globe to meet upon, and forge regulations that will promote each of their interests, at the expense of those who support individual freedom and responsibility.
Cruz is right to lay this philosophy bare and warn that it might be only an election or two away from imposing restrictions that can never be rolled back. That’s why “progressives” always become interested in controlling speech. Nothing cements their “progress” like forbidding citizens to ask tough questions about it.