New York City wants to kill free speech! Where are the classic liberals?

New York City wants to kill free speech! Where are the classic liberals?

NYC b&w with lightning
A storm brews over New York City. | Image: 27707/ Pixabay. Used with permission.

People think the United States of America is the freest country on earth. Yet, our freedoms have been quickly vanishing at an astonishingly alarming rate.

What is most disturbing is the overt and blatant attacks on such basic freedoms as those recognized by the First Amendment. Notice I didn’t say, “guaranteed”. Nothing is “guaranteed” in this life. You have to fight for it.

Tech giants have become dungeons for censorship. Most of these companies, I would argue, fall under the Constitution because they have military / intelligence contracts with the government and have therefore become extensions of the government. I don’t believe that the big tech companies all just woke up one day and decided to censor any anti-establishment viewpoint. Clearly, the censorship is coordinated and I believe serves as an end run around the First Amendment. Government cannot censor free speech; private corporations, working together, certainly can.

But the tech industry isn’t the only realm where free speech is being attacked. Governments are also taking part in putting the hammer down on basic freedoms.

Take New York City, as a perfect example. They have just passed an ordinance making it illegal for someone to use the phrase “illegal alien” in a derogatory manner, or to threaten to call ICE on them, or to tell them to go back to their home country. People violating it could be fined $250,000! This is an outrageous violation of the First Amendment free speech provisions and demands a court challenge. The Supreme Court has already opined on the issue of free speech exceptions on the basis of so-called hate or offensive speech.

It should be common sense that the First Amendment was meant to protect speech that was controversial or offensive. If everyone agrees with you, then your speech clearly needs no protection. Our system of government affords that you have the right to be controversial, contrary, and offensive. It’s your right to speak freely, no matter how wrong you might be. There are always those who will test boundaries. As my friend Dr. Tim Ball once stated, the role of extremists is to help define the normal. In that vein, if people are not free to explore new ideas, regardless of controversy, then how will society learn to grow?

Sadly, common sense doesn’t factor in to the big city governments that are largely run by liberal “social justice warrior” types. Not long ago, true liberals were known for standing up for free speech. Alas, those classic liberals seem to have been pushed to the back of the bus by the new extremists, and the center of normalcy pushes ever closer to authoritarian rule.