Progressive undermining of conservative speech now by DHS
By Bill Connor
At the end of April, we witnessed something ominous in the continued censorship efforts by the Progressive left. On April 27, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the creation of a “Disinformation Governance Board.” This announcement comes shortly after the February threat bulletin by DHS claiming the department plans to work with partners such as Big Tech companies to fight the “proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in United States government institutions.” This bulletin warns that pushing alleged false or misleading narratives was associated with terrorism and would be handled accordingly.
The new Disinformation Board is being led by 33-year-old progressive Nina Jankowicz, who previously pushed the false narrative of the Hunter Biden laptop story being Russian disinformation. That’s among a number of her progressive “disinformation” positions. The use of DHS law enforcement tools to enforce “correct” information is something we have previously seen in places like China and Russia, but it’s now here.
First, it’s important to understand how the term “disinformation” is framed by the left to justify suppression by the power of government. The Washington Examiner presciently opined, “The conception of disinformation has become a controversial and polarizing matter. Liberals say disinformation, meaning false information spread deliberately and covertly, is a threat to democracy. Conservatives, though, increasingly say that the threat of disinformation is wrongly used as a cover to censor them.”
Fearmongering about white supremacy has been a successful method for the left to justify this breach of American freedom. As Breitbart contributor Zachary Leeman put it, “They constantly slam the opposition as white supremacists, misogynists, fascists, etc. Even someone like rapper Ice Cube simply admitting to working with the administration on legislation to help black communities was enough to get him called a racist and labeled a Trump supporter.” Joe Biden has consistently argued the greatest terror threat facing America is white supremacy. The February DHS bulletin about the danger of conservative narratives is predicated on the alleged terror threat of white supremacy. Conservative speech is quickly twisted into dangerous white supremacist ideology with the corresponding demand of censorship to prevent violence.
Senator Josh Hawley brilliantly summarized the conservative view of the danger of criminalizing conservative speech in his letter to the DHS Secretary: “It can only be assumed that the sole purpose of this new Disinformation Governance Board will be to marshal the power of the federal government to censor conservative and dissenting speech.” Rep. Ken Buck also said of the Board, “Homeland security should focus on securing the homeland and protecting Americans, not on trying to create the embryo of a Ministry of Truth.” Of relevance to this issue, the mainstream media has finally admitted the Hunter Biden laptop scandal was true, after more than a year of calling it “disinformation” (helped along by 50 Obama-connected intelligence leaders calling it Russian disinformation). That story would have been permanently suppressed as disinformation if the board existed previously.
While the Department of Homeland Security is lending authority to the voices of censorship, academia is working with media to further censorship. From The Atlantic about University of North Carolina (February 2020): 68 percent of conservative students admitted self-censoring their conservative views due to fear of retribution. Liberal students were more than six times more likely than Conservative students to agree with shutting down objectionable speech. Liberals were more than eight times more likely than Conservative students to refuse to be friends with someone across the political aisle. Across the nation’s universities, particularly in Ivy Leagues, demands to censor conservative speech grow.
Dr. Ryszard Legutko, a Polish university professor who suffered under the crushing censorship of communism during the Cold War, has written: “The grand design [progressivism], its supporters say, should be implementation at all costs because it is believed to bring with itself freedom, autonomy, tolerance, pluralism and all other liberal-democratic treasures. Therefore, all barriers that block its coming can and must be broken down, also for the benefit of those who put up these barriers. If political correctness is a necessity of life in liberal-democratic society, then imposing it is, after all, nothing else but a measure of its emancipation for all.” Ironically, according to Dr. Legutko, the anti-communists who had endured persecution of totalitarianism became an enemy of Western liberalism. It’s been the same in America for those who have supported the conservative agenda to end communism.
As our Lord told us, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” and yet we know that we find the truth only when freedom reigns and speech is not censored. It’s time to demand we remain true to the Constitution, including freedom of speech. Our children deserve nothing less.
Bill Connor is a 1990 Citadel graduate, 30-year Army infantry colonel (ret.) and combat veteran. He is a writer and attorney and lives in the Charleston area.