Kirsten Powers’ new book, “The Silencing,” nails it by showing just how bad things have gotten for free speech in America. It’s going to get a whole lot worse, and I’ll explain why.
Powers has dubbed today’s intolerant purveyors of leftist causes the “the illiberal left” because, as a liberal herself, she sees them as anything but liberal about allowing a voice to those who don’t toe their rigid line. Her book catalogues and analyzes the dehumanization and demonization techniques the illiberal Left applies towards anyone who dares to veer from their rigid narratives. Their sacred cows include abortion, climate change, same-sex marriage, and second-wave feminism. Dissenters are systematically smeared and destroyed.
There is no small irony in the fact that the crazed reaction from the illiberal Left to Powers’ book demonstrates the very behaviors and attitudes she critiques. Social media immediately erupted with a hate-fest and swarmed Powers on Twitter, in exactly the manner described in her book. It’s yet another exercise in promoting groupthink and suppressing freedom of expression by those who want to tell us all what we must think.
But I would add that most of this is coming straight out of the Left’s holy of holies: the LGBT lobby (whose agenda Powers happens to support.) Because next up on the LGBT hit parade is the literal silencing of America—with the force of the federal government behind it.
Political Censorship in the LGBT Agenda
The American Unity Fund is a heavily funded new super-PAC looking to blanket the country with LGBT anti-discrimination laws. In effect, those laws aim to wipe out any alternative voice to the LGBT agenda. The effort is being spearheaded by billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer and another wealthy hedge fund manager, Tim Gill. Gill’s operations—the Gill Foundation and Gill Action—have been dedicated to “nonpartisan” gains for the LGBT lobby on the legislative and judicial fronts.
But with an expected federal win for gay marriage from the Supreme Court, the LGBT movement is poised to shift its focus to policing speech in the workplace, schools, businesses, and public squares across America.
Of course, they can’t call their campaign “Three Cheers for Thought Policing in America” or “Gag Orders for All Americans.” So, instead, they’ve adopted the Orwellian slogan “Freedom for All Americans.” The intent of the slogan and campaign is to stir up the idea that we need a lot more anti-discrimination laws in America because there is so much bigotry and hate throughout this land of ours.
The ultimate goal of the campaign, according to The New York Times, is passage of a national LGBT anti-discrimination law. In the meantime, Singer and Gill, et al. will be pushing for ever more and ever stricter “anti-discrimination” and “anti-hate” laws in state legislatures.
The “Freedom for All Americans” rollout has been accompanied by other articles that champion the case for more anti-discrimination laws in the wake of an expected Supreme Court decision that would, for all practical purposes, federally ban recognition of marriage as a male-female institution.
Republicans and Conservatives are the Prime Targets
Since the Democrats, academia, Hollywood, and the media are already arms of the LGBT lobby, the basic thrust of the American Unity Fund’s “Freedom for All Americans” campaign/slogan/meme is to persuade those darned Republicans and pesky conservatives to set aside their principles and get with the program.
On the surface, this “Freedom for All” slogan sounds innocuous, almost like motherhood (to borrow a quaint notion). Who would ever support discrimination? But this is not your grandfather’s (another quaint notion) Civil Rights Act. Because that old notion of civil rights was back in the days when the First Amendment remained intact for all to enjoy.
The LGBT lobby has always known that it needs to get Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals on board—through their leaders—because they still command a wide swath of America, and, worse, some people might not be intimidated enough to refrain from saying things not in line with the lobby’s agenda.
Hence, there are infiltration efforts like “Log Cabin Republicans,” whose sole purpose has been to promote the LGBT lobby while claiming to be conservative. Hence also, there have been unprecedented late night arm-twisting and back room deals with Democrat governors Andrew Cuomo in New York (2011) and Martin O’Malley in Maryland (2012) to get three Republican legislators each in their respective legislatures to cause—voila!—“bipartisan” passage of same-sex marriage. That was just the beginning. The LGBT lobby is now poised to go for the jugular.
Luring Dissenters, Then Gagging Them
The LGBT lobby has ways of making Americans talk. Or not talk. It has already been a significant catalyst for the silencing that is blanketing America.
The coordinated strategy to coerce public opinion compliance with the LGBT agenda probably has its seeds in a manifesto-style 1989 book, “After the Ball,” by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. Of course, there’s a lot of social psychology behind it, like coaxing out availability cascades and spirals of silence. (Republicans are scandalously tuned out to these methods of persuasion. In fact, nary a single conservative social psychologist exists.)
Suffice it to say that the LGBT movement and its narrative have all of the push-and-pull ingredients for a bandwagon effect. These include the promise of sexual freedom, a libertarian veneer of promoting autonomy, the well-coordinated public smearing of dissenters, and the huge potential for emotional blackmail of LGBT family and friends. Look no further than the ninth edition of GLAAD’s media “guidebook” to understand media obedience to regulation of speech and press demanded by the LGBT lobby.
Paving a Path to Coercive Thought Reform
That, in very abbreviated form, is the history. Where is the “Freedom for All Americans” effort going?
One of the coordinators of the project, hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, told The New York Times that pushing for these laws is “critical in order to change understanding against gays.” In other words, the laws themselves are supposed to lead to a change in the public attitudes. Can laws really do this?
Notwithstanding the awkward construction, Loeb’s statement is loaded. To claim that more anti-discrimination laws are “critical in order to change understanding against gays” basically reveals that the professed purpose of these laws is coercive thought reform.
Laws intended to change how individuals think—about anything—require enforced silencing. If the “Freedom for All Americans” meme is about freedom (which it’s not), then it’s only about negative freedom. That is, freedom from “discrimination.” Freedom from “hate.” Which basically gives carte blanche to those holding power (ultimately, the state) to define and cherry pick whatever “discrimination” and “hate” may mean before granting whatever due process is left over for the accused.
So laws of this sort, hiding under the fig leaf of “anti-discrimination,” will give the state the power to police speech and behaviors.
Paving a Path to Coercive Collectivism
Coercive “unity” of the sort proposed by Singer, Gill, et al. in their “American Unity” means a collectivist type of unity that is not voluntary, but enforced in law. The actual enforcement mechanism for anti-discrimination measures might still be up in the air, but likely involves the creation of a host of new “human rights” commissions—basically hate tribunals set up on the local, state, and federal levels. This has already been done in Canada.
Powers has written a whole book that shows how our free-speech rights are being restricted. We already see the policing of private, personal conversations in places like Marquette University, where staff have been trained to inform authorities “right away” if they hear of any employee who does not support the LGBT agenda, even if it occurs in an overheard private conversation.
But if you continue to harbor doubts about what’s in store, let’s take a virtual trip up Canada way and see how it’s been working so far up there.
Canada’s Hate Tribunals Likely Reflect America’s Future
Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005. Once that was a done deal, “human rights commissions” were quickly set up. They operate municipally, provincially, and federally to surveil individuals and businesses for compliance. This is likely the sort of thing Singer, Gill, and their companions have in mind for the United States.
Canadian Dawn Stefanowicz recently published an article in Public Discourse: “A Warning from Canada: Same Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights.” She describes the utter surveillance society that is entrenched up there. It’s not just the wedding business that cannot legally be served by any conscientious objectors to participation in LGBT ceremonies. Every type of business is subject to the behavior modification that these laws push for.
Same-sex marriage also put Canada on the path to legally separate children from their biological parents across the board. So the silencing goes beyond public speech. Stefanowicz explains:
When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, parenting was immediately redefined. Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term ‘natural parent’ and replace it across the board with gender-neutral ‘legal parent’ in federal law. Now all children only have ‘legal parents,’ as defined by the state. . . it is considered discriminatory to say that marriage is between a man and a woman or that every child should know and be raised by his or her biological married parents. It is not just politically incorrect in Canada to say so; you can be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, fined, and forced to take sensitivity training.
Such anti-discrimination laws serve to cultivate surveillance societies. And they are doing so in Canada:
Anyone who is offended by something you have said or written can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. In Canada, these organizations police speech, penalizing citizens for any expression deemed in opposition to particular sexual behaviors or protected groups identified under ‘sexual orientation.’ It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.
Stefanowicz goes on to explain how Canada’s bureaucracy is now set up to meddle freely in children’s relationships with their parents and to silence teachers in their private lives, all in the name of anti-discrimination. In fact, the pall is cast even in church in Canada, since informants are free to report anything they deem “hate speech” that comes from the pulpit or even congregants. So, according to Stefanowicz, “Most faith communities have become ‘politically correct’ to avoid fines and loss of charitable status.”
In the end, per Stefanowicz:
Americans need to prepare for the same sort of surveillance-society in America if the Supreme Court rules to ban marriage as a male-female institution. It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience. Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.
The Brewing Storm
Since the Eich episode, we’ve seen a virtual Kristallnacht campaign on wedding business owners who don’t get with the program. An amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court that lists hundreds of big companies that promote gay marriage showcases itself like a monolithic battering ram aimed at all other businesses.
All of this should serve as a dead giveaway that the same-sex marriage meme is not about marriage. It’s not about equality. It’s not about civil rights. It’s about something else, something that involves rigid conformity. And we’re not supposed to talk about it.
Free Speech Is a Use-it-Or-Lose-It Proposition
Assuming the Supreme Court signs on to the same-sex marriage meme come June, we can expect to see a noose tightening around both public and private speech, including spontaneous conversation, in America. The ultimate effect of the “Freedom for All Americans” campaign will be to criminalize the expression of conservative as well as traditional religious thought on issues of marriage and family. In doing so, it will further stunt independent thought or debate in the wider political context.
Sadly, the LGBT lobby has served as a prime catalyst for mindless smearing. Charges of “homophobia” and “transphobia” in identity politics easily give way to other seemingly unrelated phobias diagnosed by the PC crowd, including poverty phobia and “Islamophobia.”
So we shouldn’t be surprised when folks like CNN host Chris Cuomo proclaim that “hate speech” should not be protected by the First Amendment. And the spectacle of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia hosting a “debate” on the state of free speech in America shouldn’t surprise us, either.
There’s so much to unpack here, but if pressed to dissect this vat of worms, I’d say that the Orwellian “Freedom for All Americans” meme boils down to the ancient urge to centralize power. That always begins with controlling people, which, in turn, requires the control of human relationships. To control relationships, central planners need to divide and conquer people by restricting their ability to communicate with one another.
The bottom line is that free speech is a use it or lose it proposition. That means speak now, or forever hold your peace.