No, although it may sound like it, this is not the title of an inferior James Bond movie. But the warnings are justified, writes Gerald Baker in the WSJ.
Consider the State of Free Speech in Trump’s America
- Newspaper editors are forced to quit because of pieces they’ve run.
- Academics are removed from positions for daring to dissent from the dominant orthodoxy.
- Corporate executives have been fired for opinions written three decades ago that now fall outside the lines of acceptable public discourse.
- In classrooms, newsrooms and boardrooms across the country, you can almost hear the silence as people internally check what they say in the knowledge that if they cross the line they’ll be publicly denounced and very likely terminated.
Darkness Claims Democracy
But wait, Mr. Baker alerts readers: “It’s not Mr. Trump who silenced them.”
Can you name a single person in the media who has suffered materially for saying hostile things about the president in the past four years? In fact, there’s no surer way to advance your career in entertainment, news, sports, literature and even business circles than to issue some well-rehearsed bromide on social media about the monster in the White House.
Last week a few dozen writers of a liberal persuasion gained some attention when they finally mustered the nerve to take a position against “cancel culture.” They were among some 150 signatories of “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” published by Harper’s magazine.
It was nice to welcome these belated converts to the cause of free speech, though as others have noted only a handful of them spoke up when the mob was attempting to cancel conservative thinkers. Now that the vigilantes of ideological purity have come for them or their friends, the soft liberals have rediscovered the inviolable virtue of free speech.
Republicans Control 1-1/2 of Fed’s Political Branches
Imagine, offers Mr. Baker, what would happen if Democrats get control?
Will they resist demands from the canceling allies in their ranks to carry these new rules from campus and corporation to their logical endpoint, legislation, and executive authority?
Will democracy, real democracy, where people can still find a place to express dissent, survive the darkness that will fall then?