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  • Writer's pictureJG .

Book Burning

LeBron James knelt during the National Anthem before last night game, protesting oppression in this country, while some members of his team and the opposing team wore one of the 29 league-approved “social justice” messages on the backs of their jersey. The hypocrisy of this is astounding. Do not let this fool you, the NBA approving 29 messages to be worn by the players is not a statement for free speech or against oppression. It is oppression under the guise of free speech. This is what totalitarians do. They allow “free speech”, but only the speech they allow you to say. They have “free elections” but you’re only allowed to vote for them. Would any players have been allowed to wear a message standing up against the oppression in China? Of course not.

Civil Rights and Woman’s Rights activist said Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “no one is free until everyone is free.” That is absolutely true. Likewise, no speech is free until all speech is free. And no one can be free until all speech is free.

Which brings us to what is happening with our tech giants, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the censorship campaign they are conducting. They have been regularly taking down posts of speech they do not “approve” of. They present themselves as champions of free speech, but they are not acting as facilitators of speech and information, but arbiters of that speech and information. They have been de-platforming people and websites that express political views that go against their own political philosophies. This is what fascist, totalitarians do. All of the totalitarian dictators burned books and had strict control over the information the people could see. This level of power is ripe for corruption. Social media censorship and de-platforming is the modern-day book burning.

I realize that these are “private” companies that are not bound by the constitutional provisions of free speech, but shouldn’t they, due to their immense power and reach, bind themselves to the spirit of the Constitution and the First Amendment? Do we only believe the government should uphold the First Amendment because they are bound legally to do so, or we believe it because it is what is best for the country?

The American people are fully capable of handling all types of information. We can take in a multitude of perspectives on an issue, some more fact based than others, process all that information, and come to the conclusions that we believe are right. We are not little children, needing Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey to tell us how to think.

All the social media platforms took down a 45-minute video of a group of emergency room physicians advocating for the use of the “controversial” drug hydroxychloroquine. These are well-trained board-certified doctors who have been working on the front line fighting Covid-19 for the last 4 months, and we are shutting down their views because they are not in lock step with what the WHO’s stated position is, or what some government bureaucrat believes in? I want to hear what these doctors have to say. That does not mean, I will automatically agree with them, but their views are worthwhile, and need to be part of the debate. We, the people, are capable of making decisions for ourselves.

This is what China did which turned Covid-19 into a world-wide pandemic. They shut down doctors and people in the media from speaking out and trying to warn the world about this virus. The people who spoke out were imprisoned or "disappeared". If the word was allowed to get out when these people were speaking up, we would not be in this worldwide crisis we are in today, hundreds of thousands of more people would still be alive, and there would be a lot less suffering in the world. Really bad things happen when free speech is denied, or when powerful entities control the information.

Free speech is one of the most fundamental freedoms and rights that we have. There is a reason why it is in the First Amendment. When free speech is denied, oppression all of our other rights will soon follow, and atrocities will happen. Denying free speech is a danger to us all, and must be stopped regardless of whether it’s the Federal Government or social media platforms doing it. Unless we are allowed to speak out against all of the oppression in the world, what we are allowed to speak against becomes meaningless.

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Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach and executive. He is a frequent contributer to the website Real Clear Politics, and has recently published his first novel, No Wind

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