Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

My Statement to Congress

Posted by M. C. on March 10, 2023

In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee about the Twitter Files, a few words about why state-funded “anti-disinformation” and free speech can’t coexist

Matt Taibbi

Editor’s note: at around 10 a.m. EST this morning, Michael Shellenberger and I will be testifying at the Hearing on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on the Twitter Files” for the House Judiciary Committee, in the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Just before, around 9:00 a.m., we’ll also be releasing a TwitterFiles “Statement to Congress” thread, which will be submitted to the record. It contains some surprises. My opening:

Chairman Jordan, ranking member Plaskett, members of the  Select Committee,

My name is Matt Taibbi. I’ve been a reporter for over 30 years, and an advocate for the First Amendment.  Much of that time was spent at Rolling Stone magazine. Over my career, I’ve had the good fortune to be recognized for the work I love.  I’ve won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone Award for independent journalism, and written ten books, including four New York Times bestsellers. I’m now the editor of the online magazine Racket, on the independent platform Substack.

I’m here today because of a series of events that began late last year, when I received a note from a source online.

It read: “Are you interested in doing a deep dive into what censorship and manipulation… was going on at Twitter?”

A week later, the first of what became known as the “Twitter Files” reports came out. To say these attracted intense public interest would be an understatement. My computer looked like a slot machine as just the first tweet about the blockage of the Hunter Biden laptop story registered 143 million impressions and 30 million engagements.

But it wasn’t until a week after the first report, after Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, and other researchers joined the search of the “Files,” that we started to grasp the significance of this story.

See the rest here

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New Article on Major Free Speech Threat

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2023

Many nations seem poised to abandon the core lesson of the Enlightenment: no human institution can or should be trusted to decree Absolute Truth and punish dissent from it

As we report, the implications for this law are serious and extend far beyond Brazil. Brazil is being used as a test case by both the EU and various sectors in the U.S. to see how far states can go in seizing new powers to censors the internet in the name of stopping what the state decrees is “fake news and disinformation.”

Glenn Greenwald

Two weeks ago, I wrote to you to inform you of several changes we had adopted with the primary purpose of creating more time for me to publish more written journalism and analysis, of the kind you have come to expect from my work at the Intercept and then at Substack. Launching our live nightly SYSTEM UPDATE program on Rumble has been very gratifying and a great success in terms of our ability to quickly build a large audience, but it left me with little time to work on the written journalism that I have always considered, and still do consider, to be the anchor of my work.

Those changes have indeed resulted in my having more time to write. We are happy to notify today of a new article we just published on a news story I regard as extremely important. Brazil, under its new government led President Lula da Silva, is poised to become the first nation in the democratic world to implement a law empowering the government to ban “fake news and disinformation,” and to punish those it claims are guilty of authoring and disseminating such “false” ideas.

As we report, the implications for this law are serious and extend far beyond Brazil. Brazil is being used as a test case by both the EU and various sectors in the U.S. to see how far states can go in seizing new powers to censors the internet in the name of stopping what the state decrees is “fake news and disinformation.”

The article is published here on our Locals platform. As was true for almost every article I wrote at Substack, it is free and publicly available to subscribers and non–subscribers alike. Your subscriptions is what enables us to make our journalism available to the widest possible audience, without having to hide it behind a paywall. There are exclusive benefits for Locals subscribers – including access to our twice-a-week interactive after-show, transcripts of each episode of our program in article form, and other community-based content – but we intend for my news articles and analysis to continue to be freely available to ensure the widest possible distribution and impact.

You can read the new article at this link.

Remember: Those who are paid Substack subscribers are entitled to free Locals membership. You simply go to our Locals page (here), enter the same email you used for your Substack membership, click “forgot password,” and Locals will then email you a password for full access.

For now, we hope you enjoy our new article, and we look forward to returning more or less to what had been our regular schedule of publishing new written reporting.

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Free Speech Is For Fighting The Empire: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2023

It sure is interesting how Russia is the only nation in the world that’s pushing Sweden to release its findings in its investigation into the Nord Stream bombing, while an American UN official is urging “restraint” about investigations into the incident.

Caitlin Johnstone

My research has led me to conclude that there’s an elite conspiracy to enslave us all and turn us all into brainwashed automatons mindlessly enacting the wishes of our rulers in a cruel dystopia built by the powerful, for the powerful.

Haha, just kidding. That already happened.

Step one is learning that the mainstream consensus worldview is a lie, and that we’ve been fed power-serving propaganda since we were children about our society, our nation, our government and our world. Most people haven’t even made it to step one yet.

Step two is getting clear on how we’ve been lied to. A lot of people who make it past step one get mixed up here. Many fall for dopey right-wing narratives about Jews ruling the world, globalist pedophile cabals, elite conspiracies to make all our kids transgendered or whatever, because their ideology prohibits them from clearly seeing the real underlying dynamics of capitalism and the empire-building of their own government. They place far too much emphasis on things like vaccines and the future of transhumanism being used to someday create an Orwellian dystopia, because their worldview prohibits them from recognizing that we’re already living in a power-serving mind-controlled dystopia.

Others simply don’t go far enough in extracting the mainstream worldview from their minds and don’t inquire deeply enough into what’s really true. Plenty of self-identified socialists and anarchists still buy into bogus mainstream narratives about empire-targeted governments, or still buy into to the power-serving dynamics of party politics. Step two takes a lot of hard, sincere, intellectually honest work sorting out fact from fiction.

Step three is learning what to do about all this, and beginning to take action. This means working to spread awareness of what’s really going on and helping others to make it through steps one and two, because the only thing that ever leads to lasting positive changes in human behavior is an expansion of consciousness. The more people make it to step three, the more people there are to help wake up everyone else.

Without the US military who would protect the world from hobby balloons and natural gas pipelines?

It sure is interesting how Russia is the only nation in the world that’s pushing Sweden to release its findings in its investigation into the Nord Stream bombing, while an American UN official is urging “restraint” about investigations into the incident.

Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz

I wonder why Russia is the only nation urging Sweden to release its findings in its investigation into the Nord Stream bombing while the American UN official urges “restraint” on investigations into the incident?





11:36 PM ∙ Feb 21, 20234,920Likes1,473Retweets

The US empire’s responsibility for the Nord Stream bombing is going to become one of those open secrets that everyone knows but nobody officially confirms, like Israel’s nuclear arsenal (which just as an aside Sy Hersh also helped expose).

Free speech is meaningless and worthless if you don’t use it to oppose real power. In western “democracies” the majority of people are so effectively propagandized into speaking in alignment with the interests of the western empire that they may as well be taking orders on what to say at gunpoint.

In totalitarian regimes you say what your rulers want you to say because they physically coerced you using the threat of violence. In “free democracies” you say what your rulers want you to say because they psychologically coerced you using propaganda. The end result is the same.

Reagan once joked about Soviets thinking they are free because they’re allowed to criticize the US government as much as they like, but really that was just projection. Westerners think they have free speech, but they never use that “free speech” to criticize the tyrannical empire they live under.

Free speech is held as an important human right because it helps the people put a check on power. If you’re not using it for that, you may as well not have it. Your speech is only free insofar as you can criticize real power, and insofar as you actually do so.

The reason I often use the phrase “the political/media class” is because it’s all one class, one social caste. They’re not actually separate in any meaningful way.

MSNBC Public Relations @MSNBCPR

JUST ANNOUNCED: @jrpsaki will debut “Inside with Jen Psaki” on Sunday, March 19 at 12 p.m. ET on @MSNBC. Psaki will also contribute a regular column for @MSNBCDaily and develop a new original streaming show set to launch this spring. MORE:


3:19 PM ∙ Feb 21, 2023


Whenever I talk about the hundreds of military bases the US empire is circling our planet with I always get people saying “We only have all those foreign bases because those foreign governments want us there for protection!”

Yes, yes I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with the fact that the US subverts, impoverishes and destroys any weaker nation that refuses to facilitate its military interests. 

Foreign US military bases are “protection” in the same way extortion payments to the Mafia are “protection”.

Foreign governments don’t allow US military bases on their territory to protect themselves from their neighbors, they do it to protect themselves from the US.

One of the strangest things the mainstream worldview asks us to accept is that the US government (A) should be the leader of the entire world and (B) wants to be the leader of the world solely for righteous and beneficent reasons.

Anyone else who wants to rule the world gets called a megalomaniac. We all grew up watching movies and shows about evil villains who want to rule the world. Yet the mainstream worldview asks us to accept that the US government wants to rule the world because they want to promote freedom and democracy.

It’s easy to see the flaws in other countries, cultures and societies. It’s much harder to see the flaws in our own.

It’s easy to see the problems with other political parties and ideological factions. It’s much harder to see the problems with our own.

It’s easy to see how other groups are propagandized. It’s much harder to see how our own group is propagandized.

It’s easy to see how others are misguided and delusional. It’s much harder to see how we ourselves are misguided and delusional.

The further away from ourselves we look, the easier it is for us to find fault. But it doesn’t benefit anyone for us to find problems in the distant other. The closer to home we look, the more good we can do with what we find.

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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).

See the rest here

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Musk’s Free Speech Moves On Twitter Have So Far Been Unimpressive

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2022

Caitlin Johnstone

When Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter was first announced this past April I said that the purchase likely wouldn’t go through if the empire thought it posed a threat to its information interests. I said that any reduction of censorship protocols which Musk implements on the platform would probably not be of the sort that make any difference to the powerful, but would instead just amplify vapid partisan culture war nonsense.

So far since Musk’s takeover, this does appear to be the case.

In recent days Twitter has reinstated the accounts of Donald Trump, Kanye West, Jordan Peterson, Project Veritas, Kathy Griffin, and the Babylon Bee. This to date is as close as Musk has come to honoring his stated intention of making Twitter a haven of free speech where people have a “digital town square” to debate and discuss ideas.

And it’s not enough. Un-banning a few famous people will drum up a lot of headlines and online chatter and make it look like you’re really doing something, but in the end all you’ve done is reinstate a handful of Twitter accounts. You haven’t done anything to meaningfully scale back the speech restrictions on your platform.

ye @kanyewest

Testing Testing Seeing if my Twitter is unblocked5:43 PM ∙ Nov 20, 20221,017,451Likes85,644Retweets

I can already hear the Elon simps falling all over themselves in a mad rush to tell me it’s only been a few weeks and I need to give Daddy more time, but they can go lick a Tesla battery. Nobody gains anything by giving the billionaire the benefit of the doubt and refraining from pointing out that he hasn’t done nearly enough at this point. The time to start criticizing and pushing is right now.

Twitter is currently full of discussions about which famous people Musk should un-ban next, but they’re completely missing the point. Reinstating a handful of celebrities has no meaningful effect on the free expression of normal people.

I don’t care that I can see tweets from Trump and Kanye again; I care that people are still banned from the platform for questioning western allegations of Russian war crimes and voicing unauthorized opinions about the war in Ukraine. I care that people are still banned for questioning vaccines and Covid policies which affect everyone. I care that media from governments the US doesn’t like are censored and suppressed while its reporters are made to carry “state-affiliated media” labels that media personnel from US-aligned states don’t have. I care that mass purges of accounts are virtually always directed at people from US-targeted nations.

Free speech is important first and foremost not because it feels nice to be able to say whatever you want, but because being able to freely criticize the powerful puts an important check on power. Letting celebrities say whatever they want about trans people or what have you is of the “feels nice to say whatever I want” variety. We’re not seeing any increase in the freedoms of speech which put a check on power.

In fact, we’re seeing Musk pledge to use shadowbanning to algorithmically censor tweets with unauthorized speech.

See the rest here

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Free Speech Freak Out: Censors Panic As Musk About To Purchase Twitter

Posted by M. C. on October 8, 2022

The on-again, off-again Elon Musk purchase of Twitter has occupied the minds on both sides of the free speech debate. Musk calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” sending mainstream media and pro-censorship commentators into a panicked frenzy. What are they afraid of? Also today: Oil production cuts have Biden Administration steaming mad and Berlin complains to Washington about high energy prices.

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Watch “Julian Assange: Free Speech Martyr? Featuring Stella Assange | #293” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on October 4, 2022

Stella Assange and Dr Jordan B Peterson discuss the freedom of information, the age of journalism on the internet, and the foremost political prisoner in the west: Julian Assange. Stella Assange is a lawyer with a degree in law and politics from the SOAS University in London, an MSC in refugee law from Oxford, and a masters degree in public International law from Madrid. Her husband, Julian Assange, is somewhat infamous not only for founding Wikileaks, but for publishing classified government documents that lead to his unlawful imprisonment. Today, Stella leads the charge for his freedom and for the freedom of information.

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Modern Information Control: State Intervention and Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by M. C. on August 23, 2022

A 1920–30s radio host, Bob Shuler, had exposed the Julian Petroleum Corporation’s defrauding of investors, and subsequently accused the district attorney and city prosecutor of negligence. Shuler also exposed the Los Angeles mayor’s ties to organized crime. The payment for Shuler’s deeds was the loss of his station. He became the first casualty of “public interest.”

Kelly Offield

A hundred years of the public interest standard has been applied to radio and television, with the explicit goal of protecting free speech. The very opposite was the case, as John Samples and Paul Matzko have clearly shown.

A 1920–30s radio host, Bob Shuler, had exposed the Julian Petroleum Corporation’s defrauding of investors, and subsequently accused the district attorney and city prosecutor of negligence. Shuler also exposed the Los Angeles mayor’s ties to organized crime. The payment for Shuler’s deeds was the loss of his station. He became the first casualty of “public interest.”

The public interest standard was enforced by the Federal Radio Commission (later the Federal Communications Commission). The FRC/FCC used legislation and intimidation to steer public discourses toward the interests of the current administration.

The New Deal–era FCC used its control of limited government licenses to cull anti–National Recovery Administration advertisements. The Yankee Network was one such example. The FCC also targeted their least regulated foe (newspapers) by limiting them to the weaker AM frequencies.

Subjective auditing also became a common tool:

During the election of 1964, the Democratic National Committee used Fairness Doctrine complaints to intimidate radio stations into dropping broadcasters who supported Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater and to secure free airtime for the Lyndon Johnson campaign, some 1,700 free broadcasts in the final weeks before the election. (Samples, Matzko)

Where Kennedy had targeted independent radio stations, Nixon rendered broadcast television inept and imposed ownership limits on newspapers.

The public interest standard appealed to “security” and “knowledge,” not unlike the control we see online today.

The Unspoken Public Interest of Today

Modern information control appears to stem from the “private sector”; and indeed, when the right-leaning expose censorship, the left-leaning respond: “They are private companies!” If only.

The Left’s seizure of social media and search engines led to preferential treatment of leftist news; discriminatory content moderation; user targeting and false psychology pages to politically indoctrinate; and unprecedented network control during the 2020 election. Reminiscent of the old standard, the Left cites justifications of “hate” and “extremism” that do not show up in objective analysis.

This new standard under the banner of leftism has government origins as well.

In an obscure process, the state tampered with the digital markets by (1) slandering competitors of the chosen platforms and created a market for information control by (2) promising large sums of money to developers and willing “researchers.”

Simply put, the state takes money from us, gives it to useful actors, and slanders the competition for not having those state-funded services. Their effort remained undetected due to the funding of charitable groups which are embedded into the search functions and other features of the platforms. These are not “organizations” but services; albeit manipulative services.

See the rest here

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A HUGE win for free speech

Posted by M. C. on July 22, 2022

Two new developments were not covered by any mainstream media, so I thought I’d let you know about them. You aren’t supposed to know this but …

This news article in the Epoch Times announcing that a free speech case brought by two state attorney generals is a big deal.

And today there is now this headline that subpoenas have been served and the officials (as well as Twitter, YouTube, Meta, Instagram and LinkedIn) have 30 days to respond:

You will not find either story in mainstream media because it is counter narrative. But for people like me, this is one of the biggest news items I’ve seen.

Alex Berenson tried to argue the state-action doctrine in his Twitter lawsuit, but Judge Alsup denied it. This was in Federal Court in San Francisco.

See this excellent article (and it’s short) describing the state-action doctrine. It notes that federal courts think Twitter is off the hook, but state courts can rule differently.

I’m looking at suing Twitter in California state court and if I win, Twitter has to pay my legal expenses and it also means they can’t silence free speech on their platform anymore, which will be a huge step forward for free speech.

This development is a big win because it means that a judge wasn’t convinced by the government’s attempts to dismiss the case. If the case succeeds, it could open up free speech on all these platforms. It would mean that people with vaccine injuries don’t have to hide anymore.

This win in court is more evidence that the narrative will be falling apart soon.

I now have nearly 100 reasons the safe and effective narrative is falling apart.


Free speech is key.

This ruling and the issuance of subpoenas is a solid step in restoring free speech rights on social media platforms.

The decision makers aren’t hearing the other side of the story because voices have been censored, including the voices of millions of vaccine injured people.

As I’ve said before, the key to ending the pandemic is for decision-makers to start listening to the people that are being censored.

So stopping censorship is an important step forward.

Once that happens, we can go back to normal almost instantly since COVID will no longer kill nearly as many people (we’ll use sensible treatment for in-patient and out-patients), the PCR and antigen tests will be properly specified to eliminate the false positives, and we can end all the stupid mitigation measures (like masks, lockdowns, isolation, etc). And we’ll start incentivizing hospitals to save lives instead of killing people. With a handful of changes, I think there’s an excellent chance we can cut the death rate from COVID to insignificant levels.

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Collectivists Don’t Believe in Free Speech Because They Don’t Believe in Individuals

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2022

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