In Cato’s 15th letter, the writers who compiled the series of essays under a pen name inspired by the Roman senator who stood against the tyranny of Julius Caesar argued that “freedom of speech is the great bulwark of liberty; they prosper and die together.” Today, we are watching that death play out before us.
President Joe Biden, whose growing unpopularity is well-deserved, continued to carry on last week what has become a Democratic tradition: He asked the private sector to become partners in censorship with the federal government.
“I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets, please deal with disinformation and misinformation that’s on your shows,” he said during a virtual meeting from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “It has to stop.”
Of course, Big Tech and the legacy media have been happy to oblige.
“When the leader of the majority party in Washington, D.C., issues a demand, the largest corporations listen,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted in response to Biden’s “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” proposition.
“Again: so much of the censorship from Google and other tech monopolies is done not on their own accord but under pressure and threats from Democratic Party leaders.”
Nearly a year ago, Greenwald wrote in his Substack newsletter that “in their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.”
He was referring to “the third time in less than five months” that lawmakers had “summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms.”