Opinion: If You Want to Restore America — Bring Free Speech Back

We are losing our country to the Democrats’ extremist, radical, progressive ideology and their assault on free speech through government censorship of conservative voices on social media and the regulation of free speech on college campuses.

We must work to restore America. We, the people, must fight back to end government-sponsored censorship and restore free speech.

Free speech is essential to our freedom. The right is guaranteed to “we the people” by the First Amendment. It is a right that protects freedom of expression, regardless of the ideas, subject matter, message, or content.

President James Madison considered free speech essential to our constitutional government. “Our First Amendment freedoms give us the right to think what we like and say what we please. And if we the people are to govern ourselves, we must have these rights, even if a minority misuses them.”

Government Speech Control and Political Censorship

Appallingly, as described by Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law School, in his recent article regarding the House Judiciary Committee’s Report on the government’s censorship of online speech, this right of fundamental free speech “is in free fall…[due to the] emergence of a type of triumvirate of censorship, an alliance of government [principally the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the Department of Homeland Security], academic, and media corporations. Together, they have established the most comprehensive censorship system in the history of this country.”

Professor Turley emphasizes that this triumvirate targets libertarian and conservative sites as the most dangerous sources of disinformation, including social media sites like Reason, which ranks the most liberal sites in a conservative legal analysis as the most trustworthy for advertisers.

It is all funded by the federal government through Homeland Security grants, the State Department, the Justice Department, and other agencies.

As the committee’s report details, this censorship reportedly interfered with the 2020 election.

Conservative speech that is constitutionally protected was intentionally suppressed through direct cooperation by the federal government with third-party organizations, specifically universities and social media platforms.

Genuine information posted by conservatives and Republicans, including candidates, was falsely characterized as “misinformation” while leaving false information posted by liberals and Democrats largely untouched and unreported by the censors.

Congress must immediately defund this censorship apparatus, including any grant funding and appropriations, and enact legislation that prohibits any such type of program, whether operated through third parties or directly by an agency.

University suppression of free speech; mandate for ideological purity

The assault on conservative speech is rampant on college campuses, as universities push racist diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, a cancel culture that is focused on mandating woke ideology and the censoring of any contrary views. College campuses have been overwhelmed by this censorship and ideological orthodoxy.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the U.S.’s deep commitment to the “transcendent value” of “safeguarding academic freedom” and the “robust exchange of ideas” as “vital” to democracy and “essential” to freedom.

However, today, universities are mandating the progressive, woke ideology and DEI as dogma, establishing strict speech codes, suppressing academic freedom and political debate, imposing ideological litmus tests for outside speakers, discriminating in faculty hiring and student admissions, and executing punitive actions against professors and students who deviate from the mandated orthodoxy.

Almost always, targets are conservative perspectives.

This type of woke ideology is now on the attack. Recent speeches, or attempts at them, including Riley Gaines’ speech at San Francisco State University, Judge Stuart Duncan’s attempted speech at Stanford Law School, and Charlie Kirk’s speech at the University of California, Davis, violent, angry mobs seek to shout down, intimidate, and even physically threaten conservative speakers.

Colleges today have become the opposite of the previously revered diverse marketplace of ideas.

Worse, it is funded substantially by the federal government, using tax dollars. In effect, it is government-sponsored censorship, discrimination, and indoctrination as tens of billions of federal dollars are funneled to colleges through Pell Grants, research grants, recent Covid relief, and other programs.

Congress must end sponsoring this attack on free speech and academic freedom.

Free speech is a crucial constitutional right, and academic freedom is critical to education. Congress must eliminate the beast of intolerance, ideology, and violence on college campuses by ending federal funding for schools that don’t protect a free, robust, and open marketplace of ideas.

To restore America, Congress must act to protect and restore our First Amendment right of free speech by ending all government sponsorship — whether indirect or direct — of any form of censorship. We must restore the vision of the founders of individual rights and freedom.