Supporters Of Free Speech Are On The Right Side Of History

There have always been supposedly ‘justified’ reasons for imposing censorship, but history doesn’t look kindly on those who sought to silence others. Elon Musk becoming the owner of Twitter represents a significant victory for free speech, and should be cheered by all who value the free exchange of ideas and open debate that has made Western civilization so successful.

Elon Musk is now set to own Twitter after the Board agreed to his offer of $52.40 per share:

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Musk in a statement. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

This news has triggered a range of reactions, with many proponents of statism expressing their outrage or fear over Musk’s impending control over the company.

Strangely however, the criticisms being directed at Musk are generally aimed at his support for freedom of speech, which is quite an odd thing to be criticizing.

To get a sense of how unhinged much of the criticism is, consider these comments from Sunny Hostin of the view:

I wish that was some sort of strange outlier remark, yet much of the statist left has become explicitly hostile to the ideas of free expression and open debate.

Is there always an anti-free speech faction?

It would appear that a significant feature of human history has been that there is always a faction advocating for more freedom of speech, and a faction advocating against it.

For example, the 20th century was a battle largely between Liberal Democracies (who to varying degrees promoted free expression), and the ideologies of Communism and Fascism, both of whom disdained free speech.

During the Cold War, freedom of expression was much more highly valued and defended in the NATO countries, while the Soviets retained stringent censorship and state-controlled media.

Following the end of the Cold War, the battle regarding free speech shifted, with religious fundamentalists often favouring more censorship and ‘decency laws’, while the libertarian right & many left-leaning people promoted free expression.

Now, things have shifted once again.

It is many on the right who are now opponents of censorship, and many on the left who demand the state intervene to determine what can and can’t be said.

This dramatic inversion has led to some very alliances and rivalries, with Elon Musk – a producer of electric vehicles, advocate for cleaner energy, and the foremost private innovator in space travel – criticized by those who claim to support a ‘progressive vision.’

And that shows how the meaning of the term ‘progressive’ has changed.

Whereas it was once really about human progress, it is now increasingly about control, based on a deep mistrust of individual freedom and a desire to set people on the ‘proper’ path, whether they freely choose so or not.

Free speech is a threat to that, because it gives people the chance to speak their minds, test ideas, debate the path forward, and honestly see what works best.

There’s always a ‘justification’

Advocates of censorship, whatever label they go by, always have a ‘justification’.

For communists, it was to ‘protect the revolution.’

For fascists, it was to ‘silence subversives & protect the nation.’

For religious fundamentalists, it was to ‘protect morality & decency.’

For the statist left, it’s about ‘safety & hurt feelings’.

But underlying all those ‘justifications’ is the desire to control others, to narrow the bounds of debate, and to ensure that ideological opponents can’t be heard.

That’s why history doesn’t look kindly on those who advocate for censorship.

Instead, with time, we see that those who support freedom of speech and freedom of expression are defending one of the core attributes of Western civilization, and are standing on the right side of history.

As a result, regardless of temporary criticism, Elon Musk will be regarded as playing a key role in the defense of freedom and open debate in our world.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube


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