John Milton, the celebrated 17th-century philosopher and poet, once authored the Areopagitica, a staunch defense of freedom of speech. The core of Milton's argument - letting truth and falsehood grapple freely - remains profoundly relevant today, nearly four centuries later.
Indeed, the mechanism of censorship poses a series of questions. Why should an external entity, the censor, hold the power to filter content, and decide what others can see or hear? Are the censors intrinsically superior, immune to the so-called 'corrupting' or 'misleading' truths? If so, who has awarded them such an elevated stature?
Censorship, in fact, endows the forbidden material with a heightened allure, an unintended effect. It becomes a symbolic representation of a fragile regime incapable of tolerating scrutiny. A parallel can be drawn with vaccines: numerous individuals, when provided the freedom of choice, might have consented to getting vaccinated. Forceful imposition, however, repels many who would have otherwise accepted it voluntarily.
If an administration is prepared to use coercion for vaccinations, it is not far-fetched to envision them enforcing silence on potential questioning. Enter Jimmy Dore, comedian turned social commentator, who has been vocal about such transgressions.
Yet, this intolerance towards discourse is not exclusive to the current US administration. Take, for example, the contentious topic of transgender rights in sports. Confronted with difficult questions, many tend to resort to silencing rather than engaging in a constructive debate.
The current investigation into the government's deployment of its power against political dissidents illustrates how deeply this issue is rooted. Led by Republican Jim Jordan, this inquiry has unveiled some unsettling connections between the government and social media giants.
The ongoing inquiry has raised concerns over possible First Amendment violations by the administration and potential claims against the implicated companies. It leaves us with the question, will these companies reclaim their freedom? Or do they prefer this entanglement?
Transparency and accountability are not simply American issues; they're universal.
We should all strive for such investigations, no matter where we are, to uphold the right to freedom of speech Milton so ardently defended centuries ago.
GUEST: Ezra interviews Franco Terrazzano, of the Tax Payer Federation on Trudeau's major cabinet shuffle.