What happens when the consensus for free speech evaporates and those with political power become willing to use any means necessary to silence people who hold unpopular views? We’ll probably soon receive the answer in California, as the state’s dominant Democrats set the stage for prosecutors to take action against climate-change “deniers.”
“A landmark California bill… would make it illegal to engage in climate-change dissent clearing the way for lawsuits against fossil-fuel companies, think tanks and others that have ‘deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change,’” explains a Washington Times report. The bill, S.B. 1161, passed through two committees but ultimately was shelved. But like most “landmark” bills, this one will keep coming back until it passes.
The bill even comes with an Orwellian name, “The California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act.”
“What are the defenders of free speech to do? The sad fact is that this fundamental freedom is on its heels across America. Politicians of both parties want to use the power of government to silence their foes. Some in the university community seek to drive it from their campuses. And an entire generation of Americans is being taught that free speech should be curtailed as soon as it makes someone else feel uncomfortable. On the current trajectory, our nation’s dynamic marketplace of ideas will soon be replaced by either disengaged intellectual silos or even a stagnant ideological conformity. Few things would be so disastrous for our nation and the well-being of our citizenry.”—William Ruger, “Free Speech Is Central to Our Dignity as Humans“
As a nation, we have a tendency to sentimentalize cultural icons in death in a way that renders them non-threatening, antiseptic and easily digested by a society with an acute intolerance for anything controversial, politically incorrect or marred by imperfection.
This revisionist history—a silent censorship of sorts—has proven to be a far more effective means of neutralizing radicals such as Martin Luther King Jr. than anything the NSA, CIA or FBI could dream up.