Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chilling Free Speech

Andrew P. Napolitano

Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science —encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities— announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The NSF dubbed the project Truthy, a reference to comedian Stephen Colbert’s invention and hilarious use of the word“truthiness.”…….We already know the National Security Agency has the digital versions of all telephone conversations and emails sent to, from or within the U.S. since 2005. Edward Snowden’s revelations of all this are credible and substantiated, and the government’s denials are weak and unavailing — so weak and unavailing that many NSA agents disbelieve them. But the government’s unbridled passion to monitor us has become insatiable. Just two months ago, the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses broadcasters, threatened to place federal agents in cable television newsrooms so they can see how stories are generated and produced. The FCC doesn’t even regulate cable, yet it threatened to enhance its own authority by monitoring cable companies from the inside.   What’s going on here?......The government is worried about speech.  Big deal. Speech is none of the government’s business. History teaches that the remedy for tasteless speech is not government repression — it is more speech. In a free society, when the marketplace of ideas is open and unfettered, the truth is obvious. But in a repressive society, the truth becomes a casualty. Which society did the Framers give us?

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