The fact that Bill Russo, a deputy communications director for the Biden campaign, is calling for increased internet censorship isn’t making much news. However, his assertions that free speech is destroying democracy aren’t just laughable — they’re downright dangerous.
“If you thought disinformation on Facebook was a problem during our election, just wait until you see how it is shredding the fabric of our democracy in the days after,” he tweeted. “We pleaded with Facebook for over a year to be serious about these problems. They have not. Our democracy is on the line. We need answers.”
While Russo is currently targeting political speech that he doesn’t like, particularly President Donald Trump’s comments about mail-in voting, controversial political views aren’t the only ones that will face even greater restrictions under a Biden presidency.
Far-left Democrats aren’t just looking at how to limit speech online. The entire concept of free speech is up for discussion according to Richard Stengel, who currently heads former VP Joe Biden’s transition team. In a little-noticed op-ed penned last year, Stengel talked of adding “guardrails” and restricting speech that incites hate. His definition of “hate speech” is particularly broad, as it encompasses any speech that insults or attacks people based on their race, religion, ethnic origin, and/or sexual orientation.
That would actually mean that liberal attacks on conservative Christians would be classified as “hate speech” under Stengel’s definition, but it’s hard to believe that such a rule would be enforced in this way. It’s more likely that any restrictions on freedom of speech would target those who don’t agree with Democrats.
The First Amendment is the cornerstone of American freedoms. Bill Russo, Richard Stengel, and their ilk seem to think that it’s fine for people to think the “wrong” thoughts as long as they don’t voice them aloud, but that’s not the way freedom works.
Freedom of speech, press, association, and belief means that people can not only think what they like, but also share their thoughts and ideas with others in a public setting. Some of these views might be extreme, ridiculous, controversial, or only believed by a minority of people, but it doesn’t matter. The First Amendment is clear that this is protected speech.