Trump Derangement Syndrome, Snobbery, and A Sophomoric View Of The Truth Behind Demands For Censorship
A new book, “Liar In A Crowded Theater,” makes a case for free speech, and helps explain why liberals turned against free speech
Free speech wasn’t an issue I paid much attention to until 2020. Then, Facebook censored accurate information I shared that June, and I suddenly became aware of the threat of censorship. My alarm had been dying down as the year ended, but then, in January 2021, when Twitter deplatformed President Donald Trump, I sensed something was very wrong with the state of free speech in America. My reporting on the Twitter Files starting in December 2022 further fueled my fears.
But it wasn’t until I testified before Congress, with Matt Taibbi, on the Twitter Files, in March of this year that I knew that free speech was an issue I would need to work on for the rest of my life. Elected Democrats impugned our motives, demanded to know our sources, and said openly, without embarrassment, that the social media platforms should censor more, not less. I honestly couldn’t believe I was hearing the things that were coming out of the mouths of supposed liberal Democrats, the party of free speech.
Since then, we have attacked censorship in the US and around the world. The good news is that we free speech advocates are on the front foot, and censorial Democrats and Republicans alike are on the defensive. Ireland’s hate speech censorship bill is stalled. The directors of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security furiously denied to Congress that they were ever demanding censorship. And, last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Missouri v. Biden, which could be one of the most consequential First Amendment cases in American history.
What’s more, two weeks ago, Johns Hopkins University Press published a robust defense of free speech, Liar in a Crowded Theater: Freedom of Speech in a World of Misinformation, by Jeff Kosseff, a law professor at the United States Naval Academy, which makes a strong case against expanded government censorship of speech online. Kosseff debunks the idea that government censorship is usually, or even often, justified when people’s speech causes harm, such as when someone cries “fire” in a crowded theater.