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“I Can’t Hear You!”… The Left and Freedom of Speech

Anyone who’s been blessed with siblings or multiple children has heard the dialogue, and it generally happens between the ages of six and ten. The conversation normally goes something like this:

Big Sister –           “You know, you’re not really my brother. Mom got you in a trade with the gypsies.”

Little Brother –   “That’s not true, stop it!”

Big Sister –           “Yes, it is. Mom gave them a frying pan and a flower pot, and the gypsies gave her you.”

Little Brother –   “That’s a lie, shut up!”

Big Sister –           “It’s true. And the gypsies said they found you under a rock.”

Little Brother –   puts his fingers in his ears and shouts, “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you! Lalalalalalala!”

The modern left’s level of tolerance for opposing viewpoints has progressed into the mindset of the six-year old little brother. What their opponents have to say is so hurtful to their fragile psyches, they can’t bear to listen. The difference is, they’re not forcing themselves not to hear you by putting their fingers in their ears, they’re actively seeking to silence us. “Shut up!” And the information they’re trying to hush is not the provocative falsehoods of a sinister nine-year old, but rather logic and truth.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the effort to eliminate speech taken to new levels in the past few weeks, and the situation promises to get even worse. Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have evicted scores of rightwing figures for purportedly promoting violence and disinformation, most notable of which is Donald J. Trump, yet they continue to allow genuine murderers and dictators such as Vladimir Putin, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Xi Jinping to continue unobstructed. Big Tech companies and Apple, Google and Amazon have conspired to de-platform upstart social media outlet Parler for allegedly failing to censor disinformation and incitement of violence, while not only ignoring the violent nature of the recent Black Lives Matter/Antifa protests, but actively supporting them. Additionally, the estimable Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pulled no punches recently, when she suggested it’s time to “rein in our media.”

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They’re not simply putting their fingers in their ears or calling on Mommy to make us be quiet, they’ve evolved into some child character from a horror movie. They’ve got baseball bats, rope and duct tape ready to go, and they will do everything they can to ensure we’re not heard from – whatever it takes. This threat is real; do not doubt it. They cite the Capitol riots of January 6th (in which five people in total died, one-fifth of the amount killed in the BLM/Antifa riots) as the rationale behind their latest efforts, but don’t believe it. This has been their strategy all along and we’ve seen evidence of their tactics for years; now they just have an excuse to move forward, and their next step is to perfect that strategy.

Two years ago, conservative commentator Michael Knowles was invited to speak at the University of Missouri-Kansas City by the Young Americans Foundation, and protesters became violent, with one attendee being arrested for assaulting Knowles. So, what was Knowles’ transgression? What vicious, evil topic was he discussing? Knowles had been expected to cover the transgender debate, with a speech titled “Men are not women.” And that position is unacceptable, you see; offensive, hateful. If someone disagrees with the left’s warped worldview, that opinion cannot be expressed and the person must be silenced.

Last summer, in the midst of the aforementioned BLM/Antifa riots, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) wrote an OpEd in the New York Times suggesting it was time for President Trump to send in the military to quell the violence in various American cities. An view different from many on the left certainly, but a reasonable opinion, one would think; particularly when we consider the level of security and the military presence at the recent inauguration of President Joe Biden. But no, Cotton’s opinion was not reasonable; far from it, in fact. Outrage erupted from numerous employees and others on the left. That type of opinion cannot be expressed, they screamed, and they meant it. The decision to run the OpEd ultimately cost Editor James Bennett his job, as he was forced to resign only four days later. Shut up, or else.

The most egregious example of suppression of speech, of course, is undoubtedly the coordinated effort by social and mainstream media outlets in the lead up to Election Day to shutdown any efforts to expose the Hunter Biden scandal. They didn’t want to hear about it, and more importantly, they didn’t want you to hear about it. The story broke thanks to the New York Post, but Twitter and Facebook were having none of it. Facebook took actions within their network algorithm to vastly reduce the amount of exposure the story would receive, and Twitter went so far as to suspend the New York Post’s account and to ban any mention of the story from the platform. Meanwhile, the mainstream media obeyed the call to arms by actively seeking to discredit the story as “Russian disinformation,” even after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe made it clear that was not the case.

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Only weeks after the election, once it was clear that Joe Biden had won the election and it was safe to allow people to tell the truth again, Hunter Biden himself released a statement explaining that there was indeed an investigation being conducted on him. The New York Post was vindicated, as the key points of their original piece were confirmed to be true. But the damage was done and the left and their media had succeeded in gagging Americans intent on informing each other of facts. Conservatives were silenced, Biden was elected, mission accomplished.

The attitudes toward free speech may be the single-most significant differentiator between the left and right in America. Those of us who are conservatives are bombarded with the left’s perspectives at every turn; we can’t get away from it. But we don’t try to silence them or put our fingers in our ears. If we’re watching NBC News or some inane sitcom telling us that men actually are women, we tend to merely yawn, perhaps listen for a minute or two, and then change the channel if they’re too annoying. The reality is, conservatives generally encourage each other to observe and listen to the left; doing so actually helps prove conservatives’ points. If possible, try to avoid providing them with any financial gain as you access them – paying to get behind the Washington Post’s pay wall, for instance – but by all means, hear what they have to say. Because when you do, their ridiculousness will inevitably be on display, and the un-brainwashed will recognize that conservatives’ have it right: these people are nuts.

The left, contrarily, lose their minds if subjected to opinions they don’t like. Until recently, their conniptions have been bearable, if only because we still had access to information. But now the left’s intolerance is a position we can no longer accept. We must resist it, and call it out for what it is: tyranny.

What we truly need is for some adults on the left to stand up and be heard; enough. It’s one thing for children to stick their fingers in their ears when they don’t want to hear unpleasant opinions and information, but it’s quite another for supposedly grown-up billionaires to force silence on those with whom they disagree. The ongoing culture war has now turned red-hot, and easily-offended snowflakes have weaseled their way into positions of power and influence. We all must recognize this predicament, and confront it head on. Our friends on the left need to hear what we have to say, like it or not; because they need to hear reality.

PF Whalen