“[T]he best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system, I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919)
The great jurist wrote that in his famous dissenting opinion almost 104 years ago.
Commenting on the recent decision of Judge Doughty in Missouri et al vs. Biden, columnist Patrick Lawrence wrote recently,
“A lot more people now stand to see that a bitter war in defense of their constitutional rights has to be fought. And it will be evident to a lot of these newly aware people that this nation’s most powerful newspapers and broadcasters are complicit in a liberal authoritarian attack on the rights that reside in American law.”
But there’s nothing to suggest that people are waking up or actually see that. Judge Doughty’s opinion granting the preliminary injunction said: “the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” The 155 page opinion details what various Executive Branch agencies and high level government officials from the White House on down were doing not only to suppress Free Speech, but to punish anyone who had the temerity to speak out against Gummint policy and official narratives.
How many people even bothered to read even a few pages of the decision, much less the whole thing? https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/missouri-v-biden-ruling.pdf Not too many. The sad truth is that most people are not really very interested in the subject, the relative few who are interested are too lazy to make much of an effort to inform themselves, and even fewer still (if any) are willing to “pledge their lives, their fortunes or their sacred honor” to do anything about it.
That’s why what is happening is happening! “The most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history”? Who cares? The general reaction to it – or to the Fifth Circuit’s decision Friday is pretty much a big yawn.
On Monday, July 10th Judge Doughty denied the Government’s request for stay in which he concluded:
Plaintiffs are likely to prove that all of the enjoined Defendants (Biden et al.) coerced, significantly encouraged, and/or jointly participated social-media companies to suppress social-media posts by American citizens that expressed opinions that were anti-COVID-19 vaccines, anti-COVID-19 lockdowns, posts that delegitimized or questioned the results of the 2020 election, and other content not subject to any exception to the First Amendment. These items are protected free speech and were seemingly censored because of the viewpoints they expressed. Viewpoint discrimination is subject to strict scrutiny.
Although this Preliminary Injunction involves numerous agencies, it is not as broad as it appears. It only prohibits something the Defendants have no legal right to do—contacting social-media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner, the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms. It also contains numerous exceptions.
Therefore, for the reasons set forth herein, the Defendants’ Motion to Stay [Doc. No. 297] is DENIED.
But this injunction has now been suspended by a three Judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that reversed Judge Doughty’s denial of the stay pending appeal in a tersely worded one-page “Unpublished Order” without explanation.
Have you noticed all the “mostly peaceful” protests that have broken out in the streets all across this country? The burning barricades? The cars set on fire in major cities? The Federal Courthouses that have been attacked? The mass looting of stores and shopping centers? Once again – crickets from most of the citizens of the USA. “A bitter war in defense of their constitutional rights has to be fought”? Surely Patrick Lawrence jests.
The Washington Post and other MSM purveyors of the Gummint narrative attacked Judge Doughty’s July Fourth decision without any real discussion of the undisputed facts that were detailed in his 155 page memorandum, and subsequently saluted the Fifth Circuit’s decision to suspend the injunction without any discussion of why they reached that decision. The Court just suspended because they said so. “Hurray!” says The Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt from the WaPo:
“Civil rights groups, academics and tech industry insiderssay the order risks dismantling years of work to enhance coordination between the U.S. government and social media companies, as the federal government responded to rising election interference and voter suppression efforts after revelations that Russian actors had sowed disinformation on U.S. social sites during the 2016 election.”
Civil Rights groups??? What “civil rights” groups said that? “[T]he federal government responded to rising election interference and voter suppression efforts revelations that Russian actors had sowed disinformation on U.S. social sites during the 2016 election”?
I thought that all turned out to be totally false. And so what if it was not false? Under the First Amendment, on what basis does the federal government suppress people expressing their opinions on this or any other subject on social media? See Oliver Wendell Holmes quote above. The fact of the matter is that it means absolutely nothing.
So there’s the answer to Patrick Lawrence. As with Ukraine, most people are blissfully unaware of what is really going on and/or just do not care.
Much as it pains me to quote Harry Truman, Judge Doughty quoted from Truman’s Special Message to Congress in 1950 in the conclusion of his July 4th opinion. It’s worth repeating:
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one place to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
Later, in the same message, Truman concluded:
“We must, therefore, be on our guard against extremists who urge us to adopt police state measures. Such persons advocate breaking down the guarantees of the Bill of Rights in order to get at the communists. They forget that if the Bill of Rights were to be broken down, all groups, even the most conservative, would be in danger from the arbitrary power of government.”
[Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]
https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/library/public-papers/207/special-message-congress-internal-security-united-states And what would Oliver Wendell Holmes say? Maybe he’d say it is time to bring home our troops from Europe and start fighting right here at home for the Constitution of 1787 and the Bill of Rights. We won in 1783, maybe we could do it again.