Ever since the hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government last Thursday, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on it – which isn’t easy, as there are so many. I watched the whole proceeding and spent the entirety of it alternating between anger and bemusement. I’m certain I wasn’t alone in that – at least not the bemusement – as it was written all over the faces of witnesses Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger.
“So-called journalists” @mtaibbi pic.twitter.com/8ma8L8OZaX
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) March 9, 2023
Watching the reality sink in for both of them that not only were the First Amendment and journalistic ethics not the primary concern of the minority members, they were anathema to their cause, was bittersweet. It was gratifying to the extent it validated concerns I (and many on the right) have been raising regarding the alarmingly authoritarian and censorious lurch of our government in recent years; heartbreaking to see the realization washing over them that the core foundational principles underpinning our Constitution — and our republic — simply aren’t respected or valued by people they’d previously considered allies.
Neither Taibbi nor Shellenberger has been shy about sharing their dismay at the way things went down at the hearing — or at the very real threat presented by the “Censorhip-Industrial Complex.”
Congresswoman, how does badgering a non-MAGA, non-Republican journalist to give up a source constitute fighting “Extreme MAGA Republican lies”?
Can you please identify something @ShellenbergerMD or I said that is extreme, a lie, or a conspiracy theory? https://t.co/xLolSBFIsp
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) March 11, 2023
The Democrats' attitude toward civil liberties has sunk beneath that of Republicans in the Cheney/War on Terror years, which I would have thought impossible: https://t.co/N7IIcePuRu
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) March 12, 2023
Public: Power Grab Behind Democrats' War On Free Speech https://t.co/2TWewxuGkx
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) March 11, 2023
It bears repeating that Shellenberger and Taibbi are neither Republicans nor conservatives. Although, as indicated above, recent developments have likely severely diminished — if not outright extinguished — their affection for the Democratic Party.
As someone who had my own parting of ways with the Democrats in my mid-thirties, I empathize. Even now, nearly twenty years later, seeing the utter contempt with which so many on the left (including sitting members of Congress) view the ideals of free speech — ideals which I gladly embraced as a liberal Democrat and have continued to hold dear throughout my political conversion — is frustrating, almost painful, to watch.
I shared some of that frustration while co-hosting the Tim Jones & Chris Arps show Thursday afternoon on NewsTalkSTL. (That part of the discussion came near the end of the show — at roughly the 2:09:00 mark.)
Over and over recently, I’ve thought to myself (though I know I’m not alone in this) that free speech principles truly are the hill to die on. I had that in my mind as I began writing this column, then realized I’d, in fact, written just that not quite a year ago:
But there is a hill I’ll die on and it’s come into sharp focus this week with the announcement by the Biden administration that it was creating the “Disinformation Governance Board” – the DGB — through the Department of Homeland Security. Ostensibly, the aim is to combat “mis-, dis-, and mal-information.” Immediate and obvious comparisons to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth sprang up.
This trend of late by many on the left to look to the government to regulate (read: “control”) speech is beyond disturbing and is, in fact, the antithesis of liberal. It is illiberal – and this is where I will stand and fight.
The freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights aren’t just foundational — they are fundamental to our survival as a nation. We know that. So why are so many on the left — including the legacy media — seemingly so hellbent on chipping away at them? The obvious answer is that there is something they value over and above these essential liberties — they may cloak it in terms of “safety,” but the inescapable conclusion is that it comes back to power. And speech that counters — or even just questions — their narrative poses a threat to that. So it must be squelched.
And they’re not even subtle about it anymore. Big Government has formed an unholy alliance with Big Tech and they’re trying six ways from Sunday to silence any dissent.
RedState and other right-leaning media have been pushing back and will continue to do so. But these latest developments demonstrate that this isn’t just about resistance from the right against the party in power. Even some on the center-left are waking up to these dangers. If ever there were a time to make a stand, this is it.
That means it’s more important than ever to ensure that our voices are heard — and to amplify the sane voices of those like Taibbi, Shellenberger, and others who haven’t lost the plot. Speak now…or forever hold your peace.
This is why we need you, dear readers. Sites like RedState — with your support — play a critical role in amplifying those conservative (and rational non-progressive) voices and a vital role in reaching those persuadable hearts and minds. They’re out there, but they need to see and hear that they’re not alone and it’s not a losing battle.
We’ve gained some ground, but we still have to combat the digital might of Big Tech and its powerful allies and that means finding ways around the stranglehold they’re attempting to achieve on information. That’s why we created our VIP program — so we wouldn’t be left at the mercy of their infrastructure. Each RedState VIP and VIP Gold membership lessens our reliance on Big Tech and allows us to continue this critical work. We know that the Biden economy is affecting everyone’s bottom line, so with the promo code SAVEAMERICA you’ll get 40% off your VIP membership.
By becoming a RedState VIP member, you’ll not only directly support us in changing minds and winning those ideological battles, but you’ll also get exclusive columns and videos from Andrew Malcolm, Jeff Charles, Kira Davis, Brandon Morse, and more.
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So if you’ve been holding off on signing up, I urge you to do so now — and encourage others who view the world through a rational lens and value the bedrock freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights to do so now. Speak now.