Folks on the left are fond of calling folks on the right and Trump supporters “fascists.”
But as we’ve seen before and particularly over the past week, that’s a lot of projection.
Liberals are the ones fond of suppression and stomping on your rights. For your own good, of course.
One of the most troubling things we’ve seen in the past week has been an attempt by Democrats and media almost to criminalize and certainly suppress speech. The purpose seemingly not about public safety but about demonizing the speech of political opponents.
Here’s Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, coming up with a truly warped interpretation of freedom of speech, saying you don’t have a Constitutional right to say the election is rigged.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman: "This idea that saying that Pennsylvania was 'rigged' or that we were 'trying to steal the election' — that's a lie. And you do not have the right, that is not protected speech." pic.twitter.com/2f2ERSSLXy
— The Hill (@thehill) January 15, 2021
He claimed that “saying that Pennsylvania was ‘rigged’ or that we were ‘trying to steal the election’ — that’s a lie. And you do not have the right, that is not protected speech.”
How does someone get to be Lt. Governor of a state and not have this basic understanding of the Constitution? Of course it’s protected speech and yes, even lying is still protected speech. If it weren’t politicians would be in a great deal of trouble. Truthful troubling speech is also protected.
Fetterman is not talking about Twitter as a private forum, he’s blatantly and falsely claiming such speech isn’t constitutionally protected. All kinds of speech, even ugly and hateful speech is in fact protected, that’s sort of the whole point of the First Amendment. You, as the Lt. Governor don’t get the right to decide what is acceptable speech and ban it, just because you don’t like it. Frighteningly, he has a masters from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and doesn’t understand this. What are they teaching there?
Further, his example of “yelling fire in a crowded theater” fails. First saying an election is rigged is not the same thing as inciting violence which is the jump he’s trying to make. Second, while many people have heard that terminology about yelling fire in a crowded theater, the case it was used in, U.S. vs. Schenck, where it was just dictum and not binding authority. The case was in any event overturned, and they reiterated the importance of free speech in Brandenburg vs. Ohio. Just making such a comment isn’t inciting lawless action.
But if he wants to imply that standard, he could look to Democrats like Hillary Clinton questioning the 2016 election even into October of this year, calling President Donald Trump an “illegitimate” president and claiming the election was stolen by Russia. Did that make her responsible for the rioting at Donald Trump’s inauguration in D.C.? If that were true, then we’d have to yank a tremendous amount of the speech from Democrats and media over the past four years that were out and out lies designed to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election.
So now this claim by Fetterman is just demonstrably false. So should Twitter take it down? Where is Twitter to put a flag on it saying this is false information? If we don’t believe in freedom of speech even for our opponents and even for things we may not like, we don’t believe in it at all.
"This claim is determined to be ridiculously false."
(Will Twitter take it down? I'm not advocating it do so, just pointing out if they were "fact checking" and treating supposedly false claims fairly; they would.) https://t.co/1loj5tRcTw
— Sharyl Attkisson🕵️♂️ (@SharylAttkisson) January 15, 2021
If lies weren't protected speech, your entire profession would've been gulaged years ago. https://t.co/zPFVsjpQX8
— john jackson (@pvtjokerus) January 15, 2021
So what is 4 years of Russiagate? Should we have censored our entire media? They pushed those Putin’s puppet stories for years milking them for all they were worth.
— JPerkins (@perkyj12) January 15, 2021
How does someone like this get to be Lt. Gov. of anything? https://t.co/50cUSPUzyK
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) January 15, 2021