The New York Times published a piece yesterday with the telling title “Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him.” And then, crazy grandpa went nuclear on Twitter to his over 58 million followers, writing “The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
And from the [initiate heavy sarcasm font] staunch defenders of freedom speech [end sarcasm font] there is naught but crickets and tumbleweeds.
Does anyone remember Milo? The last we heard of that alt-Reich fuckstick was a giant schadenfreude party when we learned of the crushing debt he was under. That’s because de-platforming works. He got permanently kicked off Twitter for a campaign of racist abuse, and lost his book deal with Simon and Schuster for borderline promotion of pedophilia (and because his book was shit). Then, due to his financial troubles, he begged for funds via the crowdfunding site Patreon, which punted him after a single day, stating, “we don’t allow association with or supporting hate groups on Patreon.”
Boo fucking hoo.
And his alt-right fans and supporters did indeed boo and hoo, because their hero was having his free speech violated. Or so they thought. But, because they’re hypocritical dipshits, they thought wrong. They have no concept of what free speech truly is.
Freedom of speech is only protected from government restrictions, not restrictions imposed by private individuals or corporations. The actual First Amendment begins with the words “Congress shall make no law …” The government can’t make a law that says, “Brits named Milo cannot speak on American campuses,” as an example.
Milo pretends to be a champion of free speech, but what he really does is whine about being criticized for his poorly thought out, unsubstantiated and hateful rhetoric. News flash: If the only time you trot out freedom of speech is to complain about how people call you out for being a bigoted asshole, then what you really care about is being able to spew racism and sexism consequence free.
And it’s not just Milo. There is also Mike Cernovich, who was executive producer on a 2016 “documentary” titled Silenced: Our War On Free Speech. The movie included interviews with Trump-loving far right douchebag “defenders” of free speech including Scott Adams, Vox Day, and Gavin McInnes. And now Cernovich has a new film out titled Hoaxed, which is about how everything in the mainstream media is “fake news.” The tagline is “Everything they told us is a lie.” Scott Adams and Gavin McInnes make return appearances, and it also includes Alex Jones from Infowars, Stefan Molyneux, Lauren Southern, Anthony Scaramucci, and Jordan Fucking Peterson. (Note: Peterson said he was going to launch an alternative to Patreon after they booted Milo, because the alt right has to stick together, or something.)
Feel free to google some of those names. They are not good people. It’s all a big circle jerk of “I want to say horribly bigoted things and not suffer any consequences.”
What type of speech is Cernovich interested in defending? There are some examples at this link. He’s a guy who thinks “diversity is code for white genocide.” He has also stated “The hotter the sex, the more closely it resembles rape.” And, “Have you guys ever tried ‘raping’ a girl without using force? Try it. It’s basically impossible. Date rape does not exist.”
He also pushed the whole “Pizzagate” conspiracy—alleging Hillary Clinton was connected to a supposed pedophilia ring operating out of DC pizza place—which prompted one man to go on a shooting spree at the restaurant. (Fortunately, no one was injured.)
Alex Jones, one of the aforementioned far-right trolls who allege to be a champion of free speech, has paid the price for his misdeeds with being banned from Twitter, PayPal, and YouTube. And that’s what these bigoted fucksticks are really pissed about: consequences. They want to spew their hate and strictly be lauded for it, not lambasted. Corporations are not the government. When a social media or payment platform kicks some shitstain off their site for violating the terms of service, they have the absolute right to do so. Remember, the First Amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law …” Not, “You have a right to a platform no matter big of a piece of shit you are.”
But now there is a real threat to the First Amendment to the constitution, and Trump is it. He’s been complaining endlessly about the free press, which is the cornerstone of any functioning democracy.
Last year there was a mass shooting at the Annapolis newspaper The Capital, and five employees were killed. It’s been alleged that Trump’s rhetoric played a role leading up to the shooting, as two days prior he referred to the press as “the enemy of the people.”
Just a few days ago Trump suggested there be “retribution” against Saturday Night Live for their portrayal of him, causing actor Alec Baldwin to fear for the safety of his family. And this morning, with the New York Times writing about his alleged obstruction of justice, he is back to referring to the press as the enemy of the people.
No, the free press is the enemy of those who would destroy democracy, which is why they are an important thorn in the side of a would-be dictator like Trump. And just yesterday the New York Times reported that Justice Clarence Thomas wants to make it easier for public officials to sue the media for libel, which would be a significant blow to the first amendment. This is THE GOVERNMENT attacking freedom of speech via threats and promoting actual changes to the law. This is a real attack on the First Amendment.
And where are the self-styled free speech defenders in all of this?
Milo’s Facebook is silent. Cernovich has had a busy morning on Twitter, but there has not been a peep about Trump’s New York Times tweet or Clarence Thomas. Alex Jones’s Infowars has the lead story as the MAGA hat teen suing the Washington Post, but nothing about Trump or Thomas anywhere to be seen. Stefan Molyneux? Lauren Southern? Jordan Peterson? Scott Adams? Tomi Lahren? Not a fucking word about these very real threats to the First Amendment.
Because they don’t care about real freedom of speech. They’re hypocrites who only worry over not being punished for spewing hatred. And they’ll not dare contradict Lord Trump, because he wants the same thing: the ability to spread hatred and do despicable and criminal things without fear of being exposed.
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James S. Fell, MA, MBA, has bylines in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, TIME Magazine, and many other publications. His blog has millions of readers and he is the author of two books: The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant (St. Martin’s Press, 2019), and Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind (Random House Canada, 2014). Order them here.