Premium

Democrats Are Not Joking Around About Coming for Your Free Speech

AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

Typically, after a mass shooting like the white supremacist terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, progressives will pounce on the tragedy to push for more gun restrictions on law-abiding Americans. This is what is happening currently. But there is something different about this particular atrocity. Democrats are using the shooting as a pretext for launching an attack against free speech.

So far, at least two left-leaning government officials have used the shooting to call for investigations and regulations on Big Tech platforms under the guise of preventing terrorists from planning their assaults.

In the wake of the attack, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul insisted the government should look into “social media” and algorithms to tamp down on “hate speech.” She indicated her administration would be communicating with social media companies to ensure they are making a concerted effort to address hate speech.

The governor then repeated the usual calls for further restrictions on guns. She criticized Congress for failing to pass legislation placing more restrictions on gun ownership. The Supreme Court also received some of her ire, as she claimed it was seeking to “roll back” gun laws. This was likely a reference to New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which targets onerous gun licensing schemes like the ones in the Empire State.

But Hochul wasn’t the only one calling for more government involvement with social media companies. During an appearance on “This Week” with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agreed with Hochul’s assertion and also used the tragedy to push for more restrictions. She said:

One thing — and I think the governor was right about the social media companies being — having some responsibility. But there has to be vigilance. Did no one know, any of his friends, school, work, where he purchased any of this? People have to alert other authorities if they think that someone is on a path to terror — domestic terrorism, to violence of any kind, especially when you combine this severe gun violence with the racism that is clearly a part of it.

Pelosi continued, suggesting that America must strike a “balance” between free speech and public safety. She said:

“Well, obviously, we have to balance the free speech issues, but you also have to be able to — when you see a prospect for violence, and it doesn’t just — it’s not just one thing. It’s communities of similar thinking who gravitate toward each other.

That’s what produced some other violence in our country as well, and America is a great country. Our freedom is so important to us, but that freedom also carries public safety with it, and we have to balance those.”

Members of the activist media parroted Pelosi and Hochul. Ahmed Baba, columnist for The Independent, tweeted:

Buffalo is yet another example of why we don’t need more unmoderated social media. The white supremacist terrorist was able to incubate his radicalization unchecked on 4chan. We don’t need a mainstream 4chan. We need more companies that will responsibly deplatform this garbage.

 

Barb McQuade, legal analyst for NBC News, blamed the attack on “unregulated social media” among other factors:

Mass shooting in Buffalo has killed 10 innocent people. When will we address our uniquely American problem? Too many guns, inadequate mental health resources, unregulated social media, and “leaders” willing to fuel rage all make for a deadly recipe.

Democrats and their comrades in the activist media are putting on quite a performance – pretending they only seek to address potential terrorist activity on social media. However, most of us who are familiar with their hijinks know better. Even if government regulated social media and applied the type of censorship practices favored by progressives, they would not be able to stop people like the Buffalo terrorist from communicating with other nutjobs. They simply cannot own the entire internet.

But there is something they can – and will — do if they are given the power.

They can use government power to tamp down on viewpoints with which they disagree just by referring to it as “hate speech.” The fact that the term is not definable makes it ambiguous enough that it can be applied to almost any type of speech. Progressives have deceptively referred to mainstream conservative opinions as hate speech as an excuse to advocate for censorship. They are already trying to blame Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the Buffalo shooting. To many of these folks, saying there are two genders or that the U.S. should do a better job policing the southern border is transphobia and xenophobia. They salivate over the prospect of suppressing this type of speech.

The far left will try to take advantage of the feelings of outrage and despair following the attack. It is their normal tactic – even though it has not worked well in the past. But this does not mean people who value the First Amendment should not remain vigilant in fighting back. It only takes a bit of ambivalence to let these people win.