Et Tu, First Amendment?

  • Post category:Opinion

The Genius of the Founding Fathers

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The Founding Fathers were geniuses. Recently, socialists have ignored their greatness in favor of citing their imperfections. Certainly, all of us are imperfect, but none of us can match the Founding Fathers’ accomplishments. They created a system of self-government in which the people’s needs are prioritized over the government’s.

The First Amendment is an integral part of their design. It reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. Although the first amendment does not specify privacy, by 1923, the Supreme Court had ruled that the right to privacy applied to the first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments. It is common sense. We cannot speak freely if our conversations are monitored.

The Founding Fathers took these bold actions when the rest of the world bowed to kings. Americans do not bow to kings (except to President Obama). We speak our minds and worship as we see fit. Unfortunately, our right to assemble has been stripped, our right to worship limited, and our other freedom of speech has systematically disappeared. 

Freedom of the Press

The mainstream media (MSM) often claims the First Amendment affords it greater protection. It does not. The First Amendment says the government will not establish a press and it provides no additional protections. That criterion raises questions about the MSM’s political bias. Their willingness to betray the truth in pursuit of the Democrat Party’s socialist needs cancels the notion of independence from a government that is based on a two-party system. They do the government’s bidding for the Democrats.

The MSM is different from the rest of us. No individual, group, or cause has an equally loud voice. In comparison, even the so-called peaceful protestors burning Portland & Seattle are muted. If the MSM chose to ignore a riot, we might never hear of it. One has to wonder how much news is not heard as they selectively cull out those newsworthy items favorable to conservatives.

During the Tiananmen Square or June fourth incident, I was in the Soviet Union where I had access to their news. People would engage me in guarded political discourse. When I stopped in Helsinki on my way home, everyone was talking about Tiananmen Square. I had no idea what they were talking about. TASS chose not to report it.

How are we any different from those Soviets who did not know about Tiananmen Square. We are fed a steady diet of socialist riots characterized as peaceful protests while the truly peaceful protestors are described as dangerous white supremacists. TASS would be proud.

The Purpose of the Press

The purpose of journalism is to provide us with information to make decisions about our lives and our government. Information is essential for reasoned speech. While a majority of Americans agree that news is essential, most cannot name a single reliable news source. Speech’s dependency on reliable news was illustrated when I visited Moscow during the Tiananmen Square uprising. I could not talk about events I did not know about.

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The MSM has abdicated its responsibility to provide reliable information. While it seemed for a time that Fox News would fill this void, they are noticeably no longer reliable. These news agencies are impeding our speech by manipulating essential information. This is the same key tool of the ruthless Chinese and North Korean dictators. We cannot have meaningful freedom of speech without access to crucial information and that information is no longer available from the MSM. 

A Brave New World

The development of high-speed cable, internet search engines, and social platforms brought new opportunities for individuals to gather information. That same information is a basis for meaningful speech. Sadly, the technology has been abused, has failed to live up to its potential, and is used to violate our right to privacy. 

Cable not only provides high speed internet but it also allows for more news channels. CNN was the first. Every one of them seem to have sworn allegiance to a socialist form of government. Internet search engines provide information at our fingertips but in return for their service, we forgo our privacy. Google and the other tech giants know everything about us. There is nowhere to hide. 

If you value your privacy, Google costs you the most of it on the internet, and they have betrayed us. They manipulate our searches and Congress constantly investigates their corruption, yet without remediation. Like their counterparts in the news they, too, seem to have sworn allegiance to socialism, flouting the constituents and laws they are sworn to serve. 

Misinformation and Big Tech

Google regularly blacklists conservative websites. Freedom of speech in America is controlled by Google, Facebook, and Twitter. How is that possible when the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech? No, that Constitutional freedom only protects us from the government. 

Currently, social platforms are so crucial to our freedom of expression that Congress passed special legislation exempting them from liability in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Congress acted so that social media could serve as a public platform. That is what they claimed to be. And are not!

Under (Section) §230, Facebook and Twitter are not liable for what people say since they supposedly only provide a platform for speech. Congress wanted to protect companies from liability in order to facilitate free expression. They trusted the American people to evaluate what was said. Instead, social media companies have betrayed that trust and have taken advantage of the law that protects them as an excuse to squelch conservative speech.

More Betrayal

The tech companies, which socialists run, have no faith in the American people’s judgement. They believe they are smarter than the Founding Fathers and the public. They are neither. 

Facebook and Twitter, the two main platforms for individual expression, now censor opinion. Twitter’s arrogance in this regard seems boundless as they have censored President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Who do they think they are censoring the President before an election? 

Conservatives are banned for things they say off the platform as well and for their basic beliefs. Twitter recently banned QAnon for promulgating unproven conspiracy theories yet for five years conspiracy theories dominated the MSM. When the evidence pointed to the accusers, which in large part was well known in advance but intentionally ignored, those with alternative hypotheses were canceled.

The High Cost of Tech’s Failures

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey recently said that he is considering charging users a subscription fee because advertising revenues are dropping. Is he kidding? Those revenues are down because he creates so much controversy. I already pay Twitter with my privacy. I will not pay more to cover greed and stupidity. If they institute a user fee, I suspect they will lose a lot of users. That will, in turn, further erode advertising revenues. Did Jack not go to school? 

While tech giants are being investigated for skirting anti-trust laws they are also at grave risk of losing their §230 protection. We recently watched the press ignore facts that contradicted their narrative while maliciously attacking Nicholas Sandmann, a young high school student who was behaving honorably in the face of adversity. His family sued numerous news outlets and CNN settled first. On July 1, the Amazon Post settled a $250 million lawsuit. Like the news, tech giants are the storytellers: they include, delete, and prioritize our speech to fit their narrative.

We lost our privacy years ago while our right to freedom of speech eroded with the loss of information. More recently, the government stripped us of our right to assemble. Now it is complete. What good is the first amendment? We gave up our privacy, we cannot assemble, we are limited in our church attendance, our press promulgates socialists’ lies, and as a result of these things, we can no longer speak freely. With tech’s invasion into our lives and censorship of our speech, one must question whether our First Amendment still holds its rightful legal status. As Bob Dylan pined, “The pump don’t work because the vandals took the handles.” 

Dr. Jack Daniel, PhD
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