Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Why the Left Must Destroy Free Speech – or Be Destroyed – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 9, 2022

In totalitarian societies, wrote Hayek, truth is not something that is discovered by learning, education, self-study, research, and debate and discussion. Instead, it is “something to be laid down by authority . . .” 

It isn’t just the Left. I see John Bolton is rearing his ugly head.

By Thomas DiLorenzo

In Hayek’s famous 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, he warned that the intellectual and political classes of the democracies of that time were embracing some of the same ideas that inspired Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Stalin’s Russia:  comprehensive government planning, hyper regulation of industry,  nationalization, welfare statism, and collectivism in general.  He did not predict that these societies would end up “in serfdom,” however, as some have mistakenly claimed.  Quite the contrary.  In his first chapter he clearly stated that he hoped the ideas in the book would help these countries to avoid that disastrous fate.  He hoped the ideas of the book would be a roadblock on the road to serfdom.

The eleventh chapter of The Road to Serfdom is entitled “The End of Truth,” about the historical imperative in all totalitarian states throughout history to destroy freedom of speech so that the only true belief is “the social plan” imposed by the state, whatever that may be.  This is achieved by relentless institutionalized lying and propaganda, coupled with harsh censorship of all contrary ideas or even questions about the propriety of forcefully imposing one single “social plan.” This is American society today, in other words, in case you haven’t noticed.  (Socialism, Hayek said, has always been about substituting the plans of politicians for the plans that all of the citizens make for themselves.  It’s not a matter of planning versus no planning, but who is to do the planning).

The significance of propaganda in totalitarian countries, Hayek wrote, is that “If all the sources of current information are effectively under one single control, it is no longer a question of merely persuading people of this or that.  The skillful propagandist then has power to mold . . . minds in any direction he chooses . . .”  Jeff Deist, among others, has commented that America today has become a “post-persuasion society” and he is right, almost eighty years after Hayek issued this warning.  The Left is no longer willing to seriously debate anything – at least for the time being while they control the universities, all three branches of government, the media, (laughingly-named) “entertainment” industries, and more.  Even dopey Prince Harry publicly denounced the First Amendment in a pathetic attempt to ingratiate himself with Hollywood Leftists like his wife shortly after divorcing himself from his family and moving to Hollywood.  If you disagree with their latest version of socialist totalitarianism (“woke-ism” coupled with green hysteria and calls for worldwide central planning), then you can be canceled, smeared as a racist, a white supremacist, or even fired from your job and prevented from getting a new one.

The moral consequences of totalitarian propaganda are even more profound.  It is “destructive of all morals” because it “undermines one of the foundations of all morals:  the sense and respect for the truth.”  An avalanche of Official Lies has always been the tool of “various theoreticians of the totalitarian system,” wrote Hayek, citing Plato’s “noble lies” and “social myths” championed by the French philosopher Georges Sorel.  The ends justify the lying means to totalitarians everywhere.  When was the last time a “White House spokesperson” did not lie in public?  (See my 1992 book, Official Lies: How Washington Misleads Us, with James T. Bennett).

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