“Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.”

John Adams
Photograph of Dean Lewis

For the past several years the American far left has been correctly called out for trying to limit free speech. If someone says something that appears outside the left orthodoxy, that person may well be labeled a racist, as sexist, or some other random sin. This has become so normalized that even Barack Obama has called for an end to wokeness, or at least its moderation.

As in all things common sense, Donald Trump took that good idea and turned it into a shit sandwich for Fox News viewers to have for lunch. I really don’t have enough space in this article to treat both sides equally so I’ll turn my venom on the MAGAs. Why? Because these are the people running around talking about free speech. They pretend to love the First Amendment and lie about wanting its equal application. Completely blind to the hypocrisy of their views, they preach the false Gospel of defending free speech.

Elon Musk

“Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.”

Elon Musk

When Mr. Musk talks about free speech, he means his free speech, not yours. 

  • He has fired employees at SpaceX who have critiqued him.
  • Twitter users who sell Bitcoin on his threads are spammers and will be removed.
  • All Tesla employees are forced to sign NDAs.
  • When fired, these employees are offered a separation package only if they promise not to disparage Tesla.
  • Musk forces any journalist interviewing him to submit their article for review before allowing it to be published. Negative articles are spiked.

This newly minted MAGA has no interest in your free speech.

Ron DeSantis

“We will fight the woke in the businesses. We will fight the woke and government agencies. We will fight the woke in our schools. We will never ever surrender to the woke agenda. Florida is the state where woke goes to die.”

Ron DeSantis
Burning Free Speech Sign

Seriously? Any third grader would know better than to rip-off Churchill. And how do you fight Wokeness on the beaches? How about banning books, not allowing certain topics to be discussed in schools, forcing University students to fill out forms giving their opinions on woke subjects, and going after Disney tax breaks because they didn’t parrot your hate speech. The Governor seems to believe freedom of speech means you muzzle any opinion that differs from yours.

Donald Trump

“We have fallen far down the ‘slippery slope’ of censorship in our country, and the topics that Americans are increasingly forbidden to debate are among the most important issues of our day.”

Donald Trump

No Sir, that’s not why you were kicked off all those Social Media platforms. You were kicked off for attempting to overthrow the United States. You were kicked off for getting people killed. You were kicked off for lies that you knew were lies when you wrote them on platforms that didn’t belong to you. You now sincerely expect others to assist you in spreading hate and when they don’t, you say they are anti-free speech. 

I’ll close where I opened: the far left is also guilty of attempting to stifle free speech in America. But they don’t talk about it while waving the Flag and praising free speech. Nasty bastards; both sides, one and all.

Freedom of speech in my country

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

It’s a joke. I mean freedom of speech in Russia. I was a journalism student at Moscow State University in the 90s and back then there was freedom of speech. Maybe even too much freedom as oligarchs owned their media that confronted each other and the Kremlin. 

With Putin’s arrival, freedom of speech was destroyed in a couple of years. Since around 2003, there were no truly opposition TV channels. Then they came after print media. Several journalists were killed, Anna Politkovskaya including, in some uncertain conditions, and no such crime has been properly investigated. 

Since 2010, it was an epoch of free internet with various YouTube channels and social media becoming true free voices in the kingdom of Putin’s authoritarian rule. Now you need a VPN to access Facebook and plenty of news websites. 

No Free Speech

Yes, you may call him the man who killed journalism in Russia because with the war in Ukraine the last free voices were silenced, like ‘The Echo of Moscow FM radio station or Dmitry Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta. Lots of online media had to relocate abroad or were simply banned. Let me remind you that Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his lifetime achievement in journalism and, even more importantly, his relentless fight for freedom of speech. 

Lots of journalists were forced to leave the country, and many of them were labeled as ‘foreign agents’. To me, this status is a sign of professional excellence and civic courage. 

In my Fulbright project of 2018, one of my interviewees, McKibben Jackinsky, a journalist herself, said, answering one of my questions: 

  • What is your version of the American dream?
  • – As an American and as a writer, one of the things in this country that’s most important to me is having the freedom to say what I wanna say or share it with somebody else. You know, to make sure that if I wanted them to be heard there is a way to have your voice be heard. I have been able and continue to be able to write what I want to write without a feeling that I have to be careful if I don’t want to be careful.

People may rightfully criticise the United States for lots of issues, but freedom of speech as a part of a lifestyle is the cornerstone of this country’s might, in my opinion. 

I will only say that Russia has hurt itself even more since February 24, 2022.

Freedom of Speech in my country

Roger Bara

I was somewhat surprised to learn of a recent YouGov poll that found nearly half the U.K’s population are not too bothered about losing some liberty; according to those who responded, the right to free speech was nowhere near as important as protecting people from offensive or hateful remarks.

Don’t get me wrong, there is never, ever, any room for hate on any platform, but if some people take offense easily, then that is their problem. “I completely dislike all extremist Christians/Muslims and what they stand for”, to me, is perfectly acceptable, while “I want to kill them all” is not.

Britain’s folk are now being asked to report any hate crimes, and at least one police force went round its area advertising that being offensive is an offence – all this while millions of other crimes go unsolved.

Spray Paint F You on a Free Speech Sign

My concern is that my country appears to have some of the most authoritarian restrictions on free speech in the whole of Europe. As the brilliant columnist Noel Yaxley wrote earlier this year, these laws had a noble intention to fight prejudice and discrimination against minority groups. The problem is, he says,  the protection of a select group of people in the name of “equality” has made equality under the law no longer tenable, and the Equality Act itself has wound up chilling freedom of speech. Engaging in whatever authorities may deem hate speech can bring police to your door.

By the way, this has not happened overnight, and this slow drip-drip of further legislating what may be construed as a hate crime has, I think, almost crept up unnoticed. It’s time all British people recognise that further restrictions will result in more and more censorship in the U.K.

What is at stake here is fundamental – the potential total loss of what all us Brits regarded  as absolutely sacrosanct; the privilege to speak freely. I wonder when we will wake up and realise what is happening in our country..