“We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.” —Thomas Paine (1777)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Leftists keep wrongly throwing around the “Nazi” label.
- What’s the solution to Big Tech censorship?
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
It’s nothing new for leftists to hurl the “ultimate” insult at conservative opponents — the inevitable comparison to Nazis generally or Adolf Hitler specifically. As we’ve noted before, they root this insult in decades of propaganda in American schools mislabeling the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) as “right wing.” Wikipedia’s definition is both typical and particularly hilarious for its incoherence: The Nazi party “was a far-right political party in Germany … that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism.”
Read that again.
The bottom line is that leftists don’t want to be associated with ideologues who murdered millions based on race/ethnicity. Never mind that National Socialism’s leftist ideological sibling, Marxist Socialism, resulted in the murder of tens of millions based on politics and power.
Thus, leftists accuse anti-totalitarian Republicans of being totalitarian Nazis. President Donald Trump has been slapped with this label more times than we can count, even though if he’s trying to be a Nazi, he’s doing it all wrong. This week brought several new comparisons.
It all started with the obnoxious and ignorant representative from the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who declared that the U.S. Border Patrol is “running concentration camps on our southern border.” For good measure, she added that Trump’s is “an authoritarian and fascist presidency.”
Likewise, CNN’s Don Lemon, while lecturing about Trump and race, said, “Think about the despicable people we’ve had in history. … Think about Hitler.” His argument was essentially that Trump and conservatives who say things he doesn’t like should be censored because they’re just like Hitler.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo — we can’t believe we’re saying this — got it right, firing back at Lemon, “Comparing anything to an extreme like a Hitler weakens the argument.” He added, “A guy who says things I don’t like … is not necessarily a step away from a genocidal maniac.”
As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she’s smart enough not to invoke the Nazis, but she did nearly everything but and didn’t exactly rebuke Ocasio-Cortez for her hateful hyperbole. Instead, Pelosi added to it, calling Trump’s plan to uphold the law by deporting illegal aliens “cruel,” “discriminatory,” “an act of utter malice and bigotry,” and “inflicting inhumanity.” She then had the gall to accuse Trump of “sabotaging good-faith efforts” to solve the immigration problem.
If it’s “good faith” to call Trump a Nazi — or even just the relatively mild epithets Pelosi hurled — we’d hate to see an ugly attack.
To tie this all together, it’s more than ironic that the Democratic Socialists are screaming that Trump’s enforcement of immigration law — never mind his agenda of deregulation and smaller government — represents totalitarianism, while it is their party advocating not just government control of our lives and redistribution of our income but censorship and punishment for all who dare disagree.
Who are the real totalitarians?
Big Tech has a censorship problem over which free-speech advocates particularly on the Right have been increasingly ringing alarm bells. But the solution to tackling this growing leftist threat to Liberty is hardly clear, nor is it easily agreed upon.
Free-market absolutists argue against any government action, suggesting that doing so only adds to an already oversized bureaucratic state when, given time, the market will eventually self-correct. While the concern over increased bureaucracy is valid, this argument naively contends that the problem is really a rather minor one if it’s one at all, and that what is happening in Silicon Valley is merely the free market at work. This presumes the market to be truly free from corrupt actors and practices if only left to itself.
However, what many conservatives have observed is the very real infringement on free speech through Big Tech’s increasingly active hostility — wrapped in the virtue-signaling guise of combating “hate speech.” As these Silicon Valley giants steadily have increased their market share in social media to virtual monopolies, they have in turn ratcheted up their efforts to censor conservative political speech.
In essence, the question is whether Google, Facebook, Twitter, et. al are carriers or publishers. If they are carriers, they shouldn’t be censoring content. If they are publishers, they should be liable for what they carry. But they’re trying to have it both ways, claiming they’re not liable (carriers) while censoring content (publishers).
As the cries over Big Tech’s speech-squelching practices have grown louder, lawmakers are increasingly taking notice and, unfortunately, taking advantage. The latest example comes from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who recently introduced a measure to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. His measure, as Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports, “prevents individual users of internet platforms and the companies that run them from being treated as legally indistinguishable from one another.” That’s huge, she says, because, “Without it, digital companies and the users of their products (i.e., all of us) could be sued in civil court or subject to state criminal prosecution over content and messages created and published by others.”
“State attorneys general have been howling about Section 230 for more than a decade because it means that only the federal government can criminally prosecute internet intermediaries,” Brown observes. “Thus, state prosecutors don’t have the opportunity to seize assets and bring in big financial settlements themselves.”
Brown further contends that Hawley’s bill would give the government control over speech online, meaning the “solution” would be worse than the problem. Hawley’s bill essentially would resurrect the infamous “Fairness Doctrine,” which conservatives rightly condemn for its negative effect on free speech and its promotion of the establishment media over and against non-mainstream voices. The fact of the matter is that this is a government power grab — one that makes the free-market absolutists’ argument for them.
The big problem is censorship of free speech, whether it comes from Big Tech monopolies or Big Government bureaucracy. The solution needs to be one that guards everyone’s freedom of speech, while at the same time avoiding overregulation. As we have suggested, the enforcement of anti-trust laws to break up these massive tech giants may be the best solution.
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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- IRAN PROVOKES: “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. drone on Thursday. … The U.S. military’s Central Command released a statement saying the drone, an RQ-4 Global Hawk, was downed in international airspace, describing it as an ‘unprovoked attack.’” (The Associated Press)
- BUDGETARY OBSTRUCTION: “Democrats on Wednesday muscled through a nearly $1 trillion spending bill that attempts to block President Trump’s policies on climate change, abortion and immigration,” according to The Hill. National Review adds that the spending bill incorporates the “repeal [of] the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which the Trump administration has appeared ready to cite justifying armed conflict with Iran should such a conflict arise.”
- BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU: Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 reveals, “A 21-year-old Pittsburgh resident and Syrian refugee accused of planning an attack on a Christian church on the city’s North Side and providing resources to ISIS has been arrested. … According to the complaint, [the man] was born in Daraa, Syria, and was admitted to the United States as a refugee on Aug. 1, 2016.” The Pittsburgh incident positively underscores the Trump administration’s emphasis on stronger vetting.
- THE FACES OF EVIL: “In a bid to show the horrific consequences of sanctuary laws, ICE on Monday released details of some of the criminals in Washington and Oregon custody who went on to evade ICE apprehension.” (The Daily Caller)
- PEACE CROSS UPHELD: “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Peace Cross war memorial on public land outside Washington, D.C., can stand, determining it does not violate the Constitution.” (Fox News)
- REPARATIONS FALLOUT: “A congressional hearing erupted when Quillette writer Coleman Hughes trashed a bill to study slavery reparations as a ‘moral and political mistake,’ forcing the chair of the hearing to tell the audience to ‘chill’ several times,” according to Mediaite. Hughes warned, “We would turn the relationship between black Americans and white Americans from a coalition into a transaction.” Meanwhile, the New York Post horrifyingly reports, “A black parolee arrested for raping and bashing a white woman on the roof of his Bronx apartment building allegedly told a witness that she ‘deserved’ the brutal attack because of slavery.”
- GAMING THE SYSTEM: “A Minnesota man applied for and then received government food stamps for well over a year, even though he is a millionaire, in an effort to prove his belief that the eligibility requirements for the benefits in his state were too loose.” (The Washington Free Beacon)
- TRADE WINDS: “Top Chinese and U.S. officials will resume trade talks in accordance with the wishes of their leaders. … Hopes for a revival of negotiations have been rekindled by a telephone call on Wednesday between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and confirmation they will meet next week in Japan at a G20 summit.” (Reuters)
- LAFFER COMMEMORATED: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer, whose theories on tax cuts have guided Republican policy since the 1980s.” (NBC News)
- POLICY: The problem with a 90% graduation rate (RealClearEducation)
- POLICY: Socialism will deprive you of what you need to survive (American Institute for Economic Research)
- HUMOR: San Francisco holds nation’s first plastic straw buyback event (IMAO)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Victor Davis Hanson: “If Iran starts sinking ships or attacking U.S. assets, Trump can simply replay the ISIS strategy of selective off-and-on bombing. The U.S. did not lose a single pilot to enemy action. Translated, that would mean disproportionately replying to each Iranian attack on a U.S. asset with a far more punishing air response against an Iranian base or port. The key would be to avoid the use of ground troops and yet not unleash a full-fledged air war. Rather, the U.S. would demonstrate to the world that Iranian aggression determines the degree to which Iran suffers blows from the U.S. Of course, Tehran may try to stir up trouble with Israel through its Syrian and Palestinian surrogates. Iran may in extremis also stage terrorist attacks in Europe and the U.S. And it may lie that it has already developed enough fissionable material to launch a nuclear missile. But the truth is that America has all the cards and Iran none in its game of chicken. Because Iran is losing friends and money, it will have to escalate. But the U.S. can respond without looking weak and without going to war — and without ensuring the return to power of the political party responsible for giving us the disastrous nuclear deal that had so empowered Iran in the first place.”
For the record: “Today’s woke culture demands not just tolerance but affirmation.” —Kaylee McGhee
“Free stuff”! “I think that everyone’s entitled to have total health care. And what I would do is make sure that every single person … in the United States has access to Medicaid right off the bat.” —Joe Biden
Come again? “I’m going to fire Jared Kushner on Day One, because he has no business being on the job of seeking a two-state solution or finding peace in the Middle East.” —Rep. Eric Swalwell (“That would suggest Kushner would have remained in the White House under a new administration.” —The Washington Free Beacon)
Projection: “While the Republicans have no interest in holding the president accountable for his words, they will misrepresent anything that you say just — if you have one word in a sentence they can exploit.” —Nancy Pelosi, sort of defending Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying the U.S. is running “concentration camps” on the border
This just in: “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years — for whom none of us currently living are responsible — is a good idea.” —Mitch McConnell
Reparations party: “I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found out the misery that that party brought to my race. I do believe in restitution. Let’s point to the party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40% of our black babies — 20 million of them. … How about the Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race.” —former NFL player Burgess Owens in a congressional hearing on reparations
Food for thought: “I think the conversation about reparations is really a conversation about affirmative action. As race based affirmative action falls out of legal favor, the saber rattling about reparations heats up. It’s all pandering and grifting to voters that won’t actually happen.” —Erick Erickson
And last… “On second thought I do favor reparations. If your ancestors were persecuted, you should get paid. If your ancestors persecuted others, you should pay. Seeing as how almost everyone belongs to both groups, we should all give each other 100 dollars. Even trade. Accounts settled.” —Matt Walsh
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Mark Alexander, Publisher