If you are going to defend free speech, don’t defend your own speech, don’t defend speech you agree with, don’t defend speech you find acceptable — if you are going to defend speech, be an American… go out there and find the most offensive and disgusting speech you can find and defend that because that is the most important speech in the world.
You see, if Louis Farrakhan’s speech is free, if Alex Jones’s speech is free, that means you and I are safe. They are the canaries in the coal mine, and now that those canaries are dead, none of us is safe because the Acceptable Free Speech Boundary has just moved a whole lot closer to us…
Yes, even you, Never Trump.
Over the past couple days, like Michael Corleone in the final minutes of The Godfather, the establishment made its move.
Silicon Valley’s tyrants blacklisted Farrakhan and Alex Jones, but also Laura Loomer and Paul Joseph Watson — who might drive you crazy but who are not racists. That move was an ideological one.
And what that means is that the Acceptable Free Speech Boundary now bumps right up against Breitbart News, Dennis Prager, Matt Drudge, and Zero Hedge.
Doesn’t that make the rest of you a little nervous?
Which brings me to NewsGuard, whose advertising blacklist is so sinister, it labels the establishment media’s fake news as accurate.
But here’s the real bad news: NewsGuard has already moved the Acceptable Free Speech Boundary over Breitbart News and Drudge and Zero Hedge because, among others, NewsGuard is openly calling for advertisers to blacklist all of us.
That means NewsGuard has moved the Acceptable Free Speech Boundary right next to the Daily Wire, the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, and the Daily Signal.
How nervous are you now?
Oh, but the news gets even worse… America’s media tyrants made another big move this week with the Poynter Institute’s open call to blacklist 515 news outlets, and this blacklist does include The Daily Wire, the Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, and The Daily Signal.
This means the Acceptable Free Speech Boundary now lies right next to National Review, the Washington Times, and The Bulwark.
Now ask me again why I’ve defended Woody Allen, Bryan Singer, Michael Jackson, and a host of other leftists from blacklists and scarlet letters.
I’m no hero. I promise you that. The motive is purely selfish.
I oppose all blacklists, all boycotts, and all corporate censorship for only one reason — to protect myself from blacklists, boycotts, and corporate censorship. I want the Acceptable Free Speech Boundary to be as far away from me as possible, but now it’s so close, I can smell it.
People need to understand that when you are reading something that appalls you, that disgusts and offends you, that this is a good thing because it’s a reminder that speech is still free.
And please don’t give me that shit about how it’s okay for private corporations and private individuals to blacklist people, to choose who they do and don’t do business with. We rightfully look back on the 1950s’ blacklist as a dark time in our country, but that, too, was private corporations (movie studios, advertising sponsors) and private individuals (studio moguls, producers) deciding who they did and did not want to do business with.
And this is a lesson we are all forgetting in ways big and small.
On the Big Front, we have establishment conservatives defending the crocodile that has promised to eat them last.
On the small front, on Thursday, The Daily Signal (I’m a fan) rightfully lashed out at Poynter for blacklisting its site. The Daily Signal’s editorial is an eloquent defense of itself, but then it champions the blacklisters at NewsGuard as credible because NewsGuard isn’t blacklisting The Daily Signal.
Listen, I’m not trying to single out The Daily Signal. Those are good people who do good work, but this is the kind of misguided thinking we see too often. If we are only defending our own speech or speech we agree with or the crocodiles who approve of us, we are doing the America thing wrong — horribly, terribly wrong.
If Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan disappear tomorrow because people get tired of their garbage, because the eyeballs disappear, I’ll throw the party, drinks on me. But to have them summarily executed by a handful of mega-corporations that we have allowed to seize control of our public square — the very place where politics is debated and decided — is un-American and a danger to everyone.
And just to be clear, I’m not defending the right of criminal free speech, those who call for or encourage violence (as CNN regularly does); I’m not defending criminal scams or child pornography or Islamic terrorism or organizing white supremacist riots. That’s not speech.
But am I defending the right of a left-wing racist and bigot like Farrakhan to make his case? You damn right I am because this is America, where we have a constitutional right to be a racist asshole.
Am I defending the right of Alex Jones to spread wild-eyed conspiracy theories? You damn right I am.
And if it ever came down to it, would I defend CNN’s right to firehose American with its conspiracy theories and fake news? You damn right I would.
Not just to defend myself, but because the last thing any sane person should want is to give anyone, much less Big Business, the power to decide what is and is not acceptable speech, what is and is not racism, what is and is not a conspiracy theory.
Here’s some homework for the weekend. Don’t worry; it’s fun.
The best movie ever made about how free speech works is Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt. Give it a look. We defend pigs like Larry Flynt as a means to defend ourselves, we defend pigs because no one should have the ultimate power to decide what is and is not piggish behavior — because once you give someone that power, they get drunk on the power, and as they decide to perfect society (the goal of every Bond villain), the Pig Line is always going to move closer to you and me.
The best movie ever made about the sinister connection between Big government and Big business is Francis Ford Coppola’s Tucker the Man and His Dream. Give it a look. Maybe it will help to explain how the government establishment is merely farming out censorship to Silicon Valley and media outlets like CNN and Poynter and NewsGuard.
Unless things change, unless we stop volunteering to be our own executioners, which is exactly what happens when we cheer or defend or remain silent as that other guy is blacklisted and un-personed, everyone to the right of the New York Times will eventually be booted from the public square forever.
Yes, that means you.