Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
In case you were in doubt — and if you were in doubt, that means you aren’t following what is happening in America to the most important freedom of all — Pew Research has confirmed that Democrats value free speech far less than Republicans do.
Read the following statistics and conclusions and weep for our country:
— “The share of U.S. adults who say the federal government should restrict false information has risen from 39% in 2018 to 55% in 2023.”
— “Just over half of Americans (55%) support the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online, even if it limits people from freely publishing or accessing information.”
— “Support for government intervention has steadily risen since the first time we asked this question in 2018. In fact, the balance of opinion has tilted: Five years ago, Americans were more inclined to prioritize freedom of information over restricting false information (58% vs. 39%).”
— “The partisan gap in support for restricting false information has grown substantially since 2018.”
— “Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online (70% vs. 39%). There was virtually no difference between the parties in 2018, but the share of Democrats who support government intervention has grown from 40% in 2018 to 70% in 2023.”
— “A large majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (81%) support technology companies taking such steps, while about half of Republicans (48%) say the same.”
Here are 10 conclusions:
No. 1: The most important human freedom is freedom of speech. Free speech is what makes the pursuit of truth possible. It is what makes the advancement of science possible. It constitutes the very definition of a free society. And free speech is what makes human dignity possible. People who cannot say what they believe are dehumanized. They ultimately become robotic beings exemplified by North Koreans.
No. 2: America has been the freest country in the world for all of its history. That is why the French gave America the Statue of Liberty. It is rapidly relinquishing that title.
No. 3: Free speech is seriously threatened for the first time in American history.
No. 4: The threat to free speech comes entirely from the Left.
No. 5: There is no example in history of the Left attaining power and allowing free speech. From the French Revolution to the Russian Revolution to the Maoist takeover of China to almost any university in America today, wherever the Left comes to power, it suppresses speech.
No. 6: The Left must suppress speech in order to retain power. If it were to allow dissent, it would lose its hold on power.
No. 7: That is why conservative speakers are rarely allowed to speak on college campuses. Left-wing professors, deans, and administrators know — consciously or subconsciously — that an effective conservative speaker can undo years of left-wing indoctrination in just 90 minutes.
No. 8: Given that “Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online (70% vs. 39%),” the often-stated claim that “there is little difference between the two parties” is false.
No. 9: All tyrannies label dissent “misinformation.” That is what Vladimir Putin’s government labels all dissent in Russia today.
The communist regime in the Soviet Union named its official newspaper “Pravda” — the Russian word for “truth” — because in a left-wing tyranny, the left-wing regime determines truth. Anything else is “misinformation” or “disinformation.”
That Western societies are moving toward Soviet-like suppression of speech is obvious in America and was made particularly clear in 2020, when the then-prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, told her country: “We will continue to be your single source of truth” and “If you do not hear it from the government, it is not true.” Fittingly, Ardern was awarded with two teaching fellowships at Harvard University — one of them at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, based at Harvard Law School, where she “will study ways to improve content standards and platform accountability for extremist content online.”
No. 10: Liberals are abandoning liberal values — in particular, their storied commitment to free speech. There are far more liberals than leftists, but over the past few years the liberals’ unswerving commitment to the Democratic Party, unswerving commitment to The New York Times, The Washington Post or virtually any other mainstream news source, and their unswerving opposition to conservatives and the Republican Party has led them to embrace and unswervingly vote for left-wing values.
As for the future, this is what Pew reported regarding young Americans: “The shares of younger adults who say they support tech companies and the government restricting false information online have increased substantially since 2018 (by 14 and 19 percentage points, respectively).”
But there is a better reaction than to weep.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His commentary on Deuteronomy, the third volume of “The Rational Bible,” his five-volume commentary on the first five books of the Bible, was published in October. He is the co-founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.
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