Jonathan Turley has a nice article on the Prog war on the First Amendment--it's totally out in the open, and quite unabashed. The general thrust of this attitude is supported by recent polling that shows that conservatives are most concerned about various issues facing the nation, but Dems are most concerned about ... Trump supporters. People, not policy.
Turley, of course, focuses on recent targeting by Congresscritters of the Left who are trying to pressure networks like ATT into canceling FoxNews (Turley nows does commentary there, apparently). As usual, Turley ranges widely. What I'd like to draw attention to is simply his lead in, which touches nicely on some historical context. It isn't rocket science, it's just common sense, but it's context that we all need reminding of:
Increasingly, free speech in the United States is described as a danger that needs to be controlled, as opposed to the very value that defines us as a people. While I am viewed as a “free speech purist” by many, I maintain what once was a mainstream view of free speech. I believe free speech is the greatest protection against bad speech. That view is, admittedly, under fire and may even be a minority view today. But history has shown that public or private censorship does not produce better speech. It only produces more censorship and more controlled speech.
There is no disagreement that we face a torrent of false, hateful, extremist speech on social media and in other public forums. This speech is not without cost: It fuels those filled with rage, victimizes the gullible, and alienates the marginal in our society. It is a scourge, but not a new one.
The Constitution was written not only for times like these — it was written during times like these. Politics has always been something of a blood sport, literally. At the start of our Republic, the Republicans and Federalists were not trying to “cancel” one another in the contemporary sense; they were trying to kill each other in the actual sense, through measures like the Alien and Sedition Acts. There also were rampant false conspiracy theories about alliances with Great Britain, France, Spain, and other foreign powers. Newspapers and pamphleteers were highly biased and partisan.
Members of Congress are now pushing for public and private censorship on the internet and in other forums. They are being joined by an unprecedented alliance of academics, writers and activists calling for everything from censorship to incarceration to blacklists. For example, an article published in The Atlantic by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods called for Chinese-style censorship of the internet, stating that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”
Read the rest here.