Crying Wolf in a Crowded Theater
This week former Speaker of the House California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said, “The Constitution does not say that a person can yell wolf in a crowded theater.” For the first time, she said something with which I find no fault. I scoured the Constitution and there’s not a word about crying wolf in it. On the other hand, it does give primacy to the right of free speech. Americans still believe strongly in that right.
Americans agree freedom of speech is under assault but strongly insist that they are prepared to defend that freedom even at the cost of their lives if necessary.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that an overwhelming 85% of American Adults think giving people the right to free speech is more important than making sure no one is offended by what others say. Just eight percent (8%) think it’s more important to make sure no one gets offended.[snip] Eighty-three percent (83%) think it is more important for the United States to guarantee freedom of speech than it is to make sure nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures.
Seventy-three percent (73%) agree with the famous line by the 18th century French author Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Only 10% disagree with that statement, but 17% are undecided.
Among Americans who agree with Voltaire, 93% rate freedom of speech as more important than making sure no one is offended. That compares to just 69% of those who disagree with the French author's maxim.
And yet, thoughts are being manipulated by the media and internet giants are taking a greater role in what we can communicate to each other, the right to free speech is being eroded, particularly against those who depart from the leftist groupthink shared by most of the media. Perhaps it’s time for Congress to consider an Internet User’s Bill of Rights to stem this abuse.
Manipulating Your Thought
In the Federalist, Stella Morabito does a stellar job explaining exactly how media manipulated people into a “nervous breakdown“ over the events in Charlottesville, a breakdown that has created a feeling of alienation and hatred toward our fellow citizens.
While there are, she concedes a variety of factors contributing to America’s polarization, she concentrates on the role of the media, the entertainment industry, and academia. She explains the three potent weapons they utilized to this end: “the manipulation of our language; the deliberate use of such loaded language to cultivate extreme emotions in people, particularly anger and resentment; and the role of mass media as a nuclear device to impose those perceptions on a mass scale.” It’s a brilliant article which I urge you to read in its entirety. When you hear “alt-right” and “woke”, she notes, “the user is trying in the first instance to associate the right with the KKK of old” and when the user says “woke” he is using “a semantic device that promotes social distrust and even paranoia.” “Woke” she argues, is a piece of “anti-intellectual spaghetti” which actually means “programmed.”
The coordinated mob violence we see playing out essentially over the existence of historical monuments and free speech goes well beyond indoctrination and brainwashing. It is a cult mindset deliberately cultivated by elites in education, pop culture, and academia.
She continues, “The whole point of manipulating language is to obfuscate in order to control.” This manipulative language causes people to nurse grudges which grow into obsessions and obsessions lead to delusions, Watching kids pulling down Civil War statues is watching psychodrama, the kind of mob delusions we’ve seen over and again through history.
When minds become captive to the propagandist’s boogeymen, our survival mechanisms go into effect and we feel we must slay monsters, whether real or imaginary. This is especially true when a mob of supposedly like-minded folks come together to face off against their common enemy. Like in Charlottesville or any other place where a governor might abuse his power to promote riots by making sure there is no law enforcement present to maintain order. That was always the real point of promoting the riots in Charlottesville and so many other places by getting the police to stand down. The purpose of the media collusion is to get their movie running 24/7 in as many heads as possible.
Social media, she argues, further drives out perceptions of reality, by capturing our focus so that manipulators can more easily take advantage of our human vulnerabilities.
This human vulnerability has become magnified in the age of social media. False images and memes now flicker like strobe lights through our brains at breakneck speed. The only way to discern reality is to put down the devices and actively seek out what is real from what is perceived. And to ask some real questions, such as: Where exactly is the violence coming from? Are things really as they seem? Are we being hypnotized to echo the constant flickering of this imagery?
To avoid this alienation and angst, we must be aware of the efforts to divide us, and instead cultivate our personal ties of family friendship and community, and that depends on the exercise of our right to free speech.
I agree with her and that’s why I find so disturbing the efforts of the large Internet giants to regulate free speech on their sites. Also distressing is internet giants, movie stars, and commercial enterprises supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center, the money sucking partisan outfit intent on shutting down one side of all debate. It is so inimical to the right of free speech (even if it offends) with which 83% of us agree.
The SPLC are the Shock Troops of the Anti-Free Speech Cadre
As Morabito reminds us, the SPLC inspired the man who shot Congressman Steve Scalise and attempted to assassinate other Republican congressional leaders as well as the 2012 shooting at the Family Research Council. And yet outfits like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and PayPal are shutting down sites and posters, often on the basis of SPLC recommendations.
Aayan Hirsi Ali, a very brave woman who has made her mark decrying Islamic terrorism, was one of the SPLC victims. She replied to the targeting:
Since the violence in Charlottesville 10 days ago, when white supremacists left one young woman dead and 19 others injured, the Southern Poverty Law Center has hit the jackpot. The Alabama-based nonprofit is set to receive millions of dollars in donations from some of the nation’s deepest of pockets. Apple pledged $1 million. JP Morgan Chase & Co.: half a million. George and Amal Clooney even got in on the action, promising to donate another $1 million.
If Tim Cook and Jamie Dimon had done their due diligence, they would know that the S.P.L.C. is an organization that has lost its way, smearing people who are fighting for liberty and turning a blind eye to an ideology and political movement that has much in common with Nazism.
I am a black woman, a feminist and a former Muslim who has consistently opposed political violence. The price for expressing my beliefs has been high: I must travel with armed security at all times. My friend and collaborator Theo van Gogh was murdered in broad daylight.
Yet the S.P.L.C. has the audacity to label me an “extremist,” including my name in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” that it published on its website last October.
In that guide, the S.P.L.C. claims that I am a “propagandist far outside the political mainstream” and warns journalists to avoid my “damaging misinformation.” These groundless smears are deeply offensive, as I have dedicated much of my adult life to calling out the true extremists: organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. Yet you will look in vain for the S.P.L.C.’s “Field Guide to Muslim Extremists.” No such list exists.
That’s a shame, because Islamic extremism -- a movement that aims to impose a caliphate and Sharia law by violent means -- is as toxic as white supremacy. In the past two decades, it has certainly been responsible for many more deaths.
How bad is this one-sided anti free speech movement going? Hirsi Ali ‘s targeting is not unique: ESPN removed an announcer named Robert Lee for fear viewers might see this as a nod to Robert E Lee, the target of last week’s Orwellian hate mobs, Facebook deleted thousands of accounts in Germany prior to the election there.
Even one major law firm has manifested its hysteria as a Facebook friend notes:
I don't feel a need to publicly condemn the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and White Supremacists, because I am a northerner, descended from Unionists, secure in the knowledge that the FBI broke their power and numbers in the 1960s. There are an estimated 6,000 of them total now in the U.S., which is .000000185% of the population.
Further, my childhood babysitter was Mickey Schwerner, a Jewish New Yorker murdered by the Klan in Neshoba County, Mississippi in 1964 for registering black voters as a field worker for the Congress of Racial Equality, and the subject of the motion picture "Mississippi Burning".
As a young lawyer in Tennessee in the 1980s, a Tennessee judge appointed me receiver of the Grand Dragon of the KKK in Davidson County, Tennessee, meaning that I had to collect $5,000 from him on behalf of his creditors. I was warned repeatedly that I would be murdered for my troubles, but collected the money anyway. (I wrote my first will at the time to acknowledge the danger).
I am not afraid of the neo-Nazis, the KKK, or White Supremacists, and I also despise the Antifa commie thugs who are choosing violence as a first resort to destroy the First Amendment rights of everyone they don't agree with.
As to why anyone should feel insecure enough to circulate a memo to 10,000 lawyers confirming that they don't like neo-Nazis or the Klan in this heated political environment, as the managing partner of a major Manhattan law firm did after Charlottesville, I can only attribute it to mass hysteria and fear of a witchhunt. As an old friend of mine sagely observed, "People who flee in terror, or act guilty, when accused of being racists likely are racists.
Everyone who isn’t buying this baloney is being targeted. The NY Post reveals there is underway a deliberate effort to target Trump-supporting Jews.
This account prompted by friend Alex Bensky:
These voices were not raised when Obama blamed opposition to his Iran deal on "donors," "lobbyists," and "outside influences," and they didn't say anything when Al Sharpton -- you know, the fomenter of an honest to goodness pogrom -- was a frequent and honored guest at the WH and considered Obama's main adviser on race relations. For that matter, the left generally adores Bishop Tutu. He once said that the Jews are a "peculiar people" (his words) and cannot expect to be judged by the standards used for everyone else.
This is classic anti-Semitism, pure and simple, and go find me any leftist who thinks he should at least apologize for this.
With businesses like Google, PayPal, and Facebook allowing SPLC to declare who and what constitutes “hate” -- often because the management shares SPLC’s blinkered view -- perhaps Congress ought to consider a Bill of Rights for the internet if free speech is not to be unreasonably occluded and one side again being given the only voice in the marketplace of ideas, to our great detriment.