By Michael Todd
Something everyone should consider is that free speech includes the speech of others with which you disagree. Now I am not talking about socially unacceptable language, such as yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. My point revolves around speech being restricted using constraints that are continuously changing due to political impulses that regularly modify unacceptable speech definitions. It destroys the boundaries set that already regulate inappropriate speech and creates fluid restrictions that can be decreed on a whim to restrict those speaking out against the government or views held by the majority. It effectively limits the opinions held by the minority and opponents to political figures. The push from democrats and big tech oligarchs does not help anyone but the politicians and their allies. It protects them by limiting the debate of their actions. That is why, regardless of political affiliation, we should not let politicians manipulate us into limiting our ability to disagree.
At what point does increased social tension between political factions lead to conflict and a nation’s downfall? Some believe the Constitution will always guarantee our freedoms’ longevity, making it impossible for the rights we enjoy to be removed while maintaining our nation’s success. Others believe that America is too big to fail, and our problems always work themselves out. But we live in a different America and a different time in history, where political greed has chosen to consolidate power at the expense of social cohesion—effectively pitting Americans against one another for political gain.
Currently, there is an upwelling of authoritarian sentiment taking hold, punishing anyone with conservative views, in order to obtain political retribution. This is not only dangerous but leaps over the boundaries set forth by the founding fathers to ensure the rights and liberties we enjoy as Americans. One of the major pillars America was built upon when envisioning the Constitution was the freedom to disagree with the government and protect the voice of the minority. That’s why the left, in conjunction with their big tech allies, push to restrict any platform allowing conservatives to speak, is not only dangerous but flies in the face of what this country stands for. If anyone thinks the changing of standards to restrict the speech of those they disagree with won’t affect them, you are sadly mistaken. It also desecrates the responsibility we have to ensure future generations enjoy the same freedoms that make this country great. Once altered, there is no going back.
One example of how the government manipulated Americans and took away rights while promising increased security was the Patriot Act. It was passed hastily with great secrecy and little debate by Congress on Oct. 26, 2001. Under the patriot act, unbeknownst to American citizens at the time, the FBI was given the ability to issue wiretaps and monitor citizens’ use of the Internet and public libraries without adhering to the probable cause standard set for warrants by the Fourth Amendment. According to the guidelines set by Section 215, the government need only meet the low, ill-defined standard of “relevancy” to justify such monitoring. The provision also violates the First Amendment, as it carries a gag order, criminalizing any discussion of FBI searches with the threat of prosecution. The Patriot Act has also been used to designate citizens as “enemy combatants,” detaining them without trial, without bail, and without access to an attorney. During its passing, Senator Russell Feingold (D), the lone Senate opposition vote to the PATRIOT Act, forewarned, “Preserving our freedom is one of the main reasons that we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.”
On the back of extraordinary events, extraordinarily terrible things can and will take place. Right now, the forced division of speech between political ideologies will be disastrous and carry many horrendous consequences. When a system is created that does not allow proper discourse, differences in opinion cannot be resolved, leading to increased ideological conflict. At this time in our history, we have a chance to become unified as a nation. Instead, politicians are forcing the complete opposite by pushing to stifle oppositional thought and supporting the restricting of access to social media and other forms of communication. This is establishing the formalization of a rift between philosophical differences and inflaming tensions. What the left is doing is destroying or threatening to destroy anyone that subscribes to conservative views. Rather than debate philosophical differences, leftism has chosen to ensure the eradication of conservative thought in every position of power in our society. In politics, sports, media, television, the workplace, schools, and technology, the right is being forced out of the mainstream and portrayed as terrorists. We have passed the point of simple criticism and entered into an age of vindictive confrontation. The political conflict that has characterized American life since it’s inception is now being twisted to punish anyone with conservative views. It has gone beyond political discord and is directly affecting everyone’s personal lives negatively. We are on the precipice of societal destruction, and I fear that we will never be able to reunite as a nation, leading to our eventual self-inflicted downfall.