The Ongoing Death of Free Speech: Prominent ACLU Lawyer Cheers Suppression of a New Book

New essay by Glenn Greenwald on the threat to free speech:

He seems to think the ACLU is in danger of becoming just another group campaigning for liberal causes.

But for numerous reasons, the ACLU — still with some noble and steadfast dissenters — is fast transforming into a standard liberal activist group at the expense of the free speech and due process principles it once existed to defend. Those reasons include changing cultural mores, an abandonment by millennials and Gen Z activists of the long-standing leftist belief in free speech and replaced by demands that views they dislike be silenced (which in turn causes Gen X and Boomer managers and editors fearful of losing their jobs or being vilified to succumb to this authoritarianism); and a massive influx of #Resistance cash donated to the ACLU not in the name of civil liberties but stopping Trump and the Republicans, much of which was used for political rather than legal staff-building.

And he brings up the straw man so beloved of posters here:

Note that what is being discussed here are not efforts to criticize or protest Shrier and her book. Nobody disputes such criticisms would be appropriate. It is much more extreme than that: an effort to prevent others from hearing her views in her book — i.e. , censorship: not state censorship, but corporate censorship.

And what I’ve been trying to say, that government censorship is not the only kind of censorship:

Those who doubt the existence of private-sector censorship should imagine a scenario in which Facebook, Google and Twitter all unite tomorrow to announce:

Henceforth, no criticisms of the Republican Party or GOP politicians shall be permitted on our platforms; criticisms of Democrats will still be permitted and spread through heightened algorithms, no matter how harsh or angry .

Few would doubt that free speech values would be severely implicated by such a united policy change from tech giants — regardless of whether one agrees with the recent report from the Democratic-led House Subcommittee concluding that Facebook and Google are classic monopolies.

That censorship occurs not only by state action but also cultural and societal coercion has often been explicitly stated by the ACLU itself. That’s why the civil liberties group has referred to Facebook’s banning of offensive speech as “censorship” (“If Facebook gives itself broader censorship powers , it will inevitably take down important speech and silence already marginalized voices,” the ACLU warned). That censorship includes private-actor suppression is also prominently emphasized on its page aptly entitled “What is Censorship”?

It is relevant to this thread that the good, smart Glenn Greenwald has died, and been replaced by a rather insane one. The one who exists now would probably not become a famous civil rights attorney, journalist and scholar, on account of the irrational hatred he has developed for pretty much everyone and everything.

In particular, one should view his perspective on “censorship” in light of his recent departure from the journalistic outlet he created, on the grounds that literally being edited was censorship.

Looking at his history, I don’t believe he’s any more insane now that he ever was, or any less good and smart (a statement that can go either way :wink: ). For better or worse, Greenwald is very consistent. It’s so-called liberals who have come to see censorship as a good thing, to believe certain views are dangerous and must be suppressed.

Private sector censorship and “free speech” have nothing to do with each other.

Yes, but who cares? Corporate censorship IS free speech.

War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength?

NASCAR made a decision to ban the rebel flag for $ reasons. Do you think that the freedom of speech of the flag fliers has been violated?

Does NASCAR have as much power as Facebook, Google and Twitter to promote or stop the spread of ideas?

Hey, you answered my question with a question. Later.

I’m not sure what exactly you’re point is. You are completely free to not use any of those media to promote your ideas.

I think there needs to be a second version of Godwin’s law: As any online argument continues, the probably of someone quoting 1984 approaches 1. Corollary: The person doing the quoting has lost the argument.

Seriously? You don’t understand that if newspapers and magazines refuse to review your book, Amazon won’t allow adverts for your book, and major retailers won’t stock your book, you’re going to have a problem getting your message out? And you don’t understand that all those companies are susceptible to government pressure? They don’t need to ban your speech if they can make sure practically no one ever hears it.

My parents run a publishing company. I’m well aware of those “issues”. Would you have the feds demand they publish garbage batshittery that would cost them their reputation and their livelihood?

Edit: nobody is stopping anyone from self publishing. If you want Amazon’s help, you gotta play by their rules.

I am reminded of something I read this morning that said that publishers are leery of publishing Trump’s “memoirs”. Such a book would be very profitable but the publisher would lose most of their authors and many of their staff.

For myself, I wish Trump would disappear without a trace, but should he be silenced? I guess that as long as it is not the government doing the censoring, I don’t object.

Free speech was always limited to those with a soapbox or with a press. And Citizens United cast in stone that money is speech.

Why is it that the only solution anyone can think of is more laws? It’s attitudes that need to change. If your parents decide to publish something and journalists want to review it, they should be allowed to do so. If they disagree, they can critique it. But we should not be afraid to have the conversation.

You first.

They ARE allowed to do so. Again, what is your point? That journalist should review something they DON’T want to review?

So, journalists shouldn’t be allowed to not review or critique it?

Why do you think it matters whether it’s the government silencing him? The result is the same either way. Is murder also only bad if the government does it?

Did either of you read the article? Journalists did want to review the book but media outlets would not agree to publish reviews.