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Censorship Industrial Complex

Now We Are Supposed to Cheer Government Surveillance?

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From the Brownstone Institute

BY Jeffrey A. TuckerJEFFREY A. TUCKER 

The powers that be are leading us from the Declaration of Internet Freedom from simpler times (2012), to the  Declaration on the Future of the Internet. Do we need to say more than the word “freedom” has been left out of the future?

They are wearing us down with shocking headlines and opinions. They come daily these days, with increasingly implausible claims that leave your jaw on the floor. The rest of the text is perfunctory. The headline is the takeaway, and the part designed to demoralize, deconstruct, and disorient.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times told us that “As It Turns Out, the Deep State Is Pretty Awesome.” These are the same people who claim that Trump is trying to get rid of democracy. The Deep State is the opposite of democracy, unelected and unaccountable in every way, impervious to elections and the will of the people. Now we have the NYT celebrating this.

And the latest bears notice too: “Government Surveillance Keeps Us Safe.” The authors are classic Deep Staters associated with Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush. They assure us that having an Orwellian state is good for us. You can trust them, promise. The rest of the content of the article doesn’t matter much. The message is in the headline.

Amazing isn’t it? You have to check your memory and your sanity. These are the people who have rightly warned about government infringements on privacy and free speech for many decades dating way back.

And now we have aggressive and open advocacy of exactly that, mainly because the Biden administration is in charge and has only months to put the final touches on the revolution in law and liberty that has come to America. They want to make it all permanent and are working furiously to make it so.

Along with routine warrantless surveillance, not only of possible bad guys but everyone, comes of course censorship. A few years ago, this seemed to be intermittent, like the biased and arbitrary actions of rogue executives. We objected and denounced but generally assumed that it was aberrant and going away over time.

Back then, we had no idea of the scale and the ambition of the censors. The more information that is coming out, the more the full goal is coming into view. The power elite want the Internet to operate like the controlled media of the 1970s. Any opinion that runs contrary to regime priorities will be blocked. Websites that distribute alternative outlooks will be lucky to survive at all.

To understand what’s going on, see the White House document called Declaration on the Future of the Internet. Freedom is barely a footnote, and free speech is not part of it. Instead it is to be a “rules-based digital economy” governed “through the multistakeholder approach, whereby governments and relevant authorities partner with academics, civil society, the private sector, technical community and others.”

This whole document is an Orwellian replacement of the Declaration of Internet Freedom from 2012, which was signed by Amnesty International, the ACLU, and major corporations and banks. The first principle of this Declaration was free speech: don’t censor the Internet. That was 12 years ago and the principle is long forgotten. Even the original website has been dead since 2018. It is now replaced with one word: “Forbidden.”

Yes, that’s chilling but it is also perfectly descriptive. In all mainline Internet venues, from search to shopping to social, freedom is no longer the practice. Censorship has been normalized. And it is taking place with the direct involvement of the federal government and third-party organizations and research centers paid for by tax dollars. This is very clearly a violation of the First Amendment but the new orthodoxy in elite circles is that the First Amendment simply does not apply to the Internet.

This issue is making its way through litigation. There was a time when the decision would not be in question. No more. Several or more Supreme Court Justices do not seem to understand even the meaning of free speech.

The Prime Minister of Australia made the new view clear in his statement in defense of fining Elon Musk. He said that social media has a “social responsibility.” In today’s parlance, this means they must obey the government, which is the only proper interpreter of the public interest. In this view, you simply cannot allow people to post and say things that are contrary to regime priorities.

If the regime cannot manage public culture, and manipulate the public mind, what’s it there for? If it cannot control the Internet, its managers believe, it will lose control of the whole of society.

The crackdown is intensifying by the day. Representative Thomas Massie shot a video after the Ukraine vote for a total foreign aid package of an astonishing $95 billion. Vast numbers of Democrats on the House floor waved Ukrainian flags, which you might suppose smacks of treason. The Sergeant-at-Arms wrote Massey directly to tell him to take down the video or get a $500 fine.

True, the rules say you cannot film in a way that “impairs decorum,” but he simply took out his phone. The decorum was disturbed by masses of lawmakers waving a foreign flag. So Massie refused. After all, the entire disgraceful scene was on C-SPAN but the presumption is that no one watches that but everyone reads X, which is probably true.

Clearly, GOP speaker Mike Johnson doesn’t want his perfidy this well-advertised. After all, it was he who shepherded the authorization of spying on the American people using Section 702 of FISA, which 99 percent of GOP voters opposed. Just who do these people think they are there to represent?

It’s actually astonishing to do a conjectural history in which Elon did not buy Twitter. The regime monopoly on social media today would be 99.5 percent. Then the handful of alternative venues could be shut down one by one, just as with Parler a few years ago. Under this scenario, closing the social end of the Internet would not be that difficult. The domains are another matter but those could be banned gradually over time.

But with X rising in a meteoric way since Elon’s takeover, that is now far more difficult. He has made it his mission to remind the world of core principles. This is why he told the boycotting advertisers to jump in a lake and why he refused to comply with every dictate by the despotic head of the Brazilian Supreme Court. Daily he is showing what it means to stand up for principle in extremely hard times.

Glenn Beck puts it well: “What Elon Musk is doing in both Brazil and Australia is this: He is simply standing where the Free world used to stand. They have moved, not him. They are the radicals not him. HAVE THE COURAGE to remain standing, unmovable in the truth that can never change and you will be targeted and eventually change the world.”

Censorship is not an end unto itself. The purpose is control of the people. That is also the purpose of surveillance. It is not, rather obviously, to protect the public. It is to protect the state and its industrial partners against the people. Of course, just as in every dystopian film, they always pretend otherwise.

Somehow – call me naive – I just didn’t expect the New York Times to be all-in on the immediate establishment of the surveillance state and universal censorship by the “awesome” Deep State. But think of this. If the NYT can be fully captured by this ideology, and probably captured by the money that goes with it, so can any other institution. You have probably noticed a similar editorial line being pushed by WiredMother JonesRolling StoneSalonSlate, and other venues, including the entire suite of publications owned by Conde Nast including Vogue and GQ magazine.

“Don’t bother me with your crazed conspiracy theory, Tucker.”

I get the point. What is your explanation?

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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International

Biden admin expands Title IX to include ‘gender identity,’ sparking conservative backlash

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From LifeSiteNews

By Louis Knuffke

“It will be the end of women’s sports, sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, sororities, and dorms – all vanquished by an administrative state fiat that almost no one supports”

The Biden administration published on Friday changes to the Title IX discrimination law to now include “gender identity, setting the stage for legal fights with nearly half the states, which have passed laws to protect women and children from the transgender ideology.

The newly published Title IX regulations expand the federal government’s prohibition against “discrimination” to now include under its umbrella “discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.” 

The move has drawn strong public criticism from conservatives, who have rallied behind the protection of women and children from transgender ideology in schools and public spaces, and the erosion of basic safeguards such as sex-exclusive locker rooms, restrooms, and sports. 

Rep. Julianne Young, member of the Idaho legislature who introduced the Gem State’s recent Definition of Sex law (which affirms that “there are only two sexes, male and female”) expressed her outrage at the administration’s abuse of a law originally meant to protect women so that it now does just the opposite. 

In comments to LifeSiteNews on Biden’s new changes to Title IX, Young stated, “It is outrageous and unconscionable that the Biden administration is now using civil rights law created to protect women to assault them, undermining their privacy, dignity, and safety!” 

Heritage Foundation conservative policymaker Jay Richards, who has worked extensively on legislation regarding transgender issues, told LifeSiteNews that, “The new rule interpreting title IX is, in fact, an assault on the point of the law itself. The law is intended to protect Americans against sex discrimination. But the new rule defines sex – the biological difference between male and female – to include ‘gender identity.’ Gender identity refers to a supposed internal subjective state. It is manifestly not the same as biological sex. This new rule is a paradigmatic example of using the rulemaking process to subvert a law duly passed by Congress. If applied, it will mean the destruction of women’s rights in particular.” 

Brandon Showalter, host of the Christian Post podcast Generation Indoctrination: Inside the Transgender Battle, and co-author of the book Exposing the Gender Lie, told LifeSiteNews: 

The spirit of the age, the great lie of our time, is rooted in a heinous, false anthropology – that an ineffable ‘gender identity’ known only to the person claiming to have one – defines a human being at the most basic, ontological level. When a material falsehood such as ‘you are whatever you say you feel’ is enshrined in government policy, as it has been in the recently revamped Title IX regulations, there are real-world consequences and women are girls almost always bear the cruelest brunt. Human beings are only ever always either male or female. No one has ever been born in the wrong sexed body and no one ever will be. All people of goodwill must continue to resist the abuse and degradation that gender ideology is wreaking on humanity.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, (R-NC) chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, also strongly condemned the new regulation saying, “This final rule dumps kerosene on the already raging fire that is Democrats’ contemptuous culture war that aims to radically redefine sex and gender.”  

Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who oversaw Trump administration reform of Title IX, which strengthened protections for women, told the Washington Examiner in February that Biden’s changes “may well be the most anti-woman regulation of all time.” 

“It will be the end of women’s sports, sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, sororities, and dorms – all vanquished by an administrative state fiat that almost no one supports, which is why the Biden administration advanced it in the dark of night,” she warned. “Every parent and child should be horrified this rule is moving forward.” 

DeVos said the new regulation “returns us to the untenable days where there is no due process on campus and instead radical gender ideologues call all the shots.” 

“The rule is sexist, illegal, and unpopular, but appeasing the far-left flank is more important to the Biden administration than doing what’s right for students,” she insisted. 

In a press release following the changes to Title IX, Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau said, “The Biden administration’s radical redefinition of sex turns back the clock on equal opportunity for women, threatens student safety and privacy, and undermines fairness in women’s sports. It is a slap in the face to women and girls who have fought long and hard for equal opportunities.”  

“The administration continues to ignore biological reality, science, and commonsense, and women are suffering as a result. The administration’s new regulation will have devastating consequences on the future of women’s sports, student privacy, and parental rights, which is why Alliance Defending Freedom plans to take action to defend female athletes, as well as school districts, teachers, and students who will be gravely harmed by this unlawful government overreach,” Rouleau stated. 

In May 2023, a group of 22 Republican senators led by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, called on the president to withdraw the proposed changes to Title IX, arguing they ran contrary to Congress’ clear intention in passing the law.  

“Congress made clear that its intention in passing Title IX was to prohibit discrimination against women participating fully in all aspects of athletic and academic opportunity at institutions that received federal financial assistance,” the senators wrote. “This proposed rule uses weakly-associated case law and polarizing social concepts to broaden the definition of women and girls to include individuals who identify as women, and in doing so, the intent of the law is destroyed and women are marginalized yet again.” 

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