by Steve Levy
The term “liberal” was once meant to be a representation of open-minded thought that coincided with the Renaissance, the rise of democracies and the advent of free thought as espoused by Locke, Rousseau, and other philosophers of the era. https://www.britannica.com/topic/liberalism/Classical-liberalism
Those true liberals would have been appalled at the prospect of a highly rated news channel such as Newsmax being dropped by its host company DIRECTV, apparently because the company folded to the pressure of the left-leaning mob seeking cancellation of the station’s conservative content.
Unfortunately, too many liberals today have morphed into a quasi-Marxist following that justifies the suppression of free speech against political opponents if it furthers their idealistic goals. Thus, they yawn, and even cheer, the de-platforming of a highly popular conservative outlet.
It is the ultimate example of “the ends justify the means.” Sure, they may be suppressing the speech of others, but those others are deplorable, evil people. And, in the end, the suppression of this “harmful” speech will serve to further the push toward their utopia.
Mao, Stalin and the other mass murderers of the 20th century thought it was perfectly appropriate to outlaw opposition to the Communist Party, ban a free press, and keep tabs on their citizens’ words and movements.
It was all done for the greater good, they said. Those opposing the Communist perspective are evil, so what harm can there be in stifling the spreading of hatred from the evildoers?
That’s always been the basic tenet of Marxism. It is a paternalistic, condescending oligarchy. It is a philosophy predicated on the supposed moral superiority of its leaders over the unwashed who require a benevolent guiding hand.
Shut up, do as you are told, never question our authority and you and mankind will be better off for it.
The left’s “ends justify the means” mentality came to a crescendo during the Trump years, as their fear and loathing of this unorthodox, non-politician led them to take previously unthinkable measures.
To the liberals, Trump wasn’t just another wealthy, cold-hearted Republican. No, he was something entirely different. He was the modern-day Hitler.
Some have called it “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” This column termed it “The Valkyrie Effect.”
Politics is a rough sport. Nevertheless, there are supposed to be limits. Ah, but not when the opposition is Hitler. Defining your enemy as such gives you license to do things that in any other time or universe would be forbidden. Consequently, if the original Project Valkyrie, which was designed by Nazi generals to assassinate Hitler, was justified, why wouldn’t doing illegal acts to rid us of the modern-day Hitler be justified as well?
Thus, acentury of journalistic standards calling for balance and fairness in coverage is tossed and replaced with a virtuous new activism on the part of the media.
Censoring a story about Hunter’s laptop just before the 2020 election is justified if it means preventing the “bad orange man” from being re-elected. Having deep-state Justice Department lawyers lying on warrant applications to illegally spy on the Trump campaign becomes justified. Accepting and leaking the fabricated Steele Dossier when knowing it to be false becomes justified.
But the liberals’ fear and loathing didn’t cease after Trump left office. There were other unprecedented dangers that the left had to counter. There were moms and dads fighting the injection of Critical Race Theory into their schools. They must be stopped, so let’s label them domestic terrorists and sic the Justice Department on them. Even if they aren’t jailed, they’ll become so frightened they’ll just self-censor.
There were evil folks protesting the genital mutilation of twelve-year-olds by the gender reassignment cottage industry. Let’s label them transphobic haters and get them fired.
But the best way the left believes it can defeat evil in the world is to shut down the few remaining safe spaces for open thought…one being Newsmax. So they pressured the corporate boardrooms they now control to do their dirty work.
And spare me the nuance that this isn’t a First Amendment issue because DIRECTV’s owner AT&T is a private company. While this isn’t a constitutional issue, the company’s actions are without question anathema to free expression as espoused by the aforementioned founders of western civilization.
Today’s liberals supporting DIRECTV’s canceling of Newsmax would be well-served to look back at one of the most significant Supreme Court cases in America’s history: National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie (1977).
Younger progressives may be surprised to learn that it was the ultra-liberal ACLU, which led the fight to allow a group of neo-Nazis to obtain a permit to march down Main Street in Skokie, Illinois. https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/rights-protesters/skokie-case-how-i-came-represent-free-speech-rights-nazis.
They were wise enough to know that acquiescing to the banning of a group, even as vile as the neo-Nazis, could one day lead to the quelching of their own speech.
So today’s liberals shouldn’t support Newsmax because they agree with its programming. They should support Newsmax because to do otherwise may one day make their own freedom of expression less viable.
Steve Levy is President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of “The Steve Levy Radio Show.” He is the author of “Solutions to America’s Problems” and “Bias in the Media.” www.SteveLevy.info, Twitter @SteveLevyNY, firstname.lastname@example.org