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Op-Ed: Champions of Conformity, Enemies of Free Speech

 freedom of speech
They call themselves “woke,” because they believe they’re somehow attuned to various social injustices infesting our society. But they’re not woke.  They’re delusional – committed left-wing ideologues, bent on fundamentally transforming America. Photo credit: Peter Lemiska

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The visionaries who crafted our founding documents foresaw a land of liberty, free from government oppression. They knew then that no society can ever be free where dissent is silenced and the free exchange of ideas is suppressed. So they guaranteed that our freedom of speech would forever be protected. They wrote that guarantee, and others, into the First Amendment to our Constitution.  

Some of our First Amendment rights, like the right to assemble peacefully and to worship as we see fit were unceremoniously suspended recently. Politicians tell us it was necessary because of a global pandemic. But the justification for the suspension of our most basic civil rights is highly questionable and will be debated for years to come.

Still, our freedom of speech has come under direct attack today, not by our government, but by elements within our society. The assault comes from the cancel culture. They call themselves “woke,” because they believe they’re somehow attuned to various social injustices infesting our society. But they’re not woke.  They’re delusional – committed left-wing ideologues, bent on fundamentally transforming America. 

They see a country where racial equality is not a goal, but where whites are penalized for their skin color, where they are condemned to pay, in perpetuity, for the sins of America’s past.

And in their vision of America, there’s no need for a moral compass. They’re long past the argument that what happens between two consenting adults is nobody’s business. Now they’re pushing for sexual liberation for children. They’re arguing that school administrators and state bureaucrats – not parents – should be responsible for shaping the character of our youth. They’re working hard to substitute the innocence of children with a Pandora’s box of carnal knowledge even before kids learn to read or write.  They’re encouraging kindergarteners to pursue whatever lifestyle they may choose, and even to reevaluate their own gender identity. Long before children develop decision-making skills, they’re told they can choose to live their lives as whatever gender they choose. 

No, woke warriors are not about justice, fairness, or tolerance. They’re about keeping racism alive. They’re about eradicating the social conscience that has guided our country for more than 200 years. They’re also about globalism, secularism, groupthink, and a host of other anti-American ideas. And they’re using censorship, and fear of censorship, to foist their ideology onto mainstream America.

It’s no secret that left-wing ideology is deeply imbedded in the vast majority of social media outlets.  Under the pretense of fairness and equity, these champions of conformity have had great success imposing their radical vision of social norms. One way they do it is by applying the nebulous label of “hate speech” to anything that contradicts their ideology and then censoring it.

A company of woke warriors – more than 100 students at Yale Law School disrupted a bipartisan panel planning a discussion on civil liberties and free speech recently. Using stereotypical tactics of the woke, they identified it as an attack on the LGBT community and tried to shut it down, chanting “protect trans kids” and “shame, shame.” That quickly evolved into threats and obscenities, and the agitators were eventually removed to the hallway, where they continued the ruckus. Conservative invitees had to be escorted out by police. Incredible as it may seem, those Yale students argued that their disruptive behavior, intending to silence conservative participants and open discussion, was an exercise of their free speech. It’s a recurring scene at colleges and universities across the country.

It’s not just college campuses and social media.

Our founders also understood the power of the press. They knew that the government can never be allowed to influence the news media, so freedom of the press was also guaranteed in our First Amendment. But what if the news media becomes biased – tainted – not by government influence, but by left-wing ideology? According to a 2020 Gallup/Knight survey, as of December 2019, 86 percent of Americans perceived either a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of political bias in the news media. A press corrupted by bias doesn’t protect our freedom. It corrodes freedom.  

Perhaps the most egregious example of media bias – abject censorship – occurred during the 2020 presidential campaign, when the national press and social media allied to suppress the shocking and credible allegations of influence peddling by the Biden family, dismissing the reports as “Russian disinformation.” Some surveys indicate that a full 17 percent of Democrats would not have voted for Joe Biden, had they known about the scandals. Working together, the news and social media likely altered the outcome of a presidential election and gave us the chaos we’re witnessing today. 

Censorship imposed by the state is totalitarianism. When we allow others to impose it, it’s cowardice and ignorance. In either case, censorship subverts the will of the majority and is antithetical to a free society.

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