Many people have made a case that the makeup of Supreme Court is the centerpiece for why the 2016 presidential election is so important – specifically, conservatives are pushing the case that Donald Trump is needed to prevent Hillary Clinton’s probable permanent shift of the Court to the extreme Left. I have no doubt that a Clinton presidency would go a long way toward that latter end, however I remain unconvinced that a Republican president would necessarily prevent such an outcome based on historical trends. After all, Republican presidents gave us Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, neither of whom are consistently small government-, individual freedom-oriented jurists. The former illegally gave us so-called “ObamaCare” and supports usurpation of the Fourth Amendment and the latter long swings the Court toward traditionally-understood leftist rulings, when otherwise divided.
So while Donald Trump is undeniably a wildcard candidate, the likes of which no one alive has comparatively seen since Barry Goldwater, I remain dubious as to his potential long-term impact on the Supreme Court’s ideological makeup (at least relative to how it looks today).
At any rate, one area of the federal government that is at least equally as worrisome – and perhaps more so, given that it is not making much news (shocking, I know) – is the ideological makeup and goals of both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Left’s explicit desire to use it to regulate free political speech on the internet. (The unconstitutionality of the FEC and FCC themselves are an important discussion point, but one for another time.)
If there are only two things that Donald Trump’s (and Bernie Sanders’ for that matter) candidacy success is bringing to full and unignorable light, it is that 1) the mainstream media (MSM) is completely bought and paid for, so to speak, by the Democrat political machine, to the detriment of its own credibility and survivability; and 2) in keeping with the latter point, consumers are fed up with MSM and have now turned to unregulated social media and other sources to proliferate information, news, and talking points that otherwise go ignored. Conservatives (or, at least, anti-liberals/anti-Hillary Clintonites) have finally caught up to this technological gap and Donald Trump has benefited significantly from this counterpoise to blatant MSM bias.
Thus, an unregulated hotbed for political free speech is a very serious threat to status quo policymakers and oligarchs, as their traditional mainstream media allies/puppets are simply not generating nearly the desired effect anymore – and this eroded impact is likely to grow stronger as technologies and infrastructures improve. What we are witnessing is the modern reincarnation of the printing press and its subsequent spurring of information availability, exchange, and exploratory thought. Democrats – insofar as they are “in charge” presently – understand this, fear this, and now appear to be playing a “long game” to retard this outcome.
The internet is the single most important innovation in human history with respect to information access, the free exchange thereof, education, etc. Never in history has information been more easily accessible, and control of information flow has always been a hallmark of institutional state power over the masses, from Catholic prohibitions on translating (and as a de facto consequence – reading for one’s self) the Bible to modern states’ purposeful censorship of the internet1. Free thinking is almost always in direct conflict with vested political interests, particularly when those interests are themselves in direct conflict with the truth.
If Democrats on the FEC/FCC get their way2, sources of information that do not fit the now undeniably politically-tailored narrative will be harder and harder to find, if not outright eliminated altogether. This is perhaps a far greater threat to society as a whole not only because of the internet’s elevated importance to our abilities to communicate and learn, but also due to the very nature of a relatively unknown bureaucratic committee. The FEC and FCC, unlike the Supreme Court, are almost never in the public spotlight, and coupled with the aforementioned MSM collusion their goings-on will likely not be known by the masses until it is well too late. Unlike the Congress, they can effectively “pass” regulations that work with the de facto force of law, without ever being held electorally accountable to the public constituency. Internet censorship by its very nature is passive and extremely difficult to detect/prove: one typically cannot know what one does not know.
People who profess to be critical thinkers and supporters of free expression cannot ignore this reality, regardless of their own political leanings. One thing is certain in politics: specific impacts are fleeting, but power, once initiated and legitimized, is long-lived. What benefits one ideology or party today will be their bane tomorrow and only people who see and understand this reality can rise above petty political differences to respect all individual rights.
- This includes de facto “soft” censorship, as catalyzed through known and pervasive privacy violation and surveillance.
- To be fair, if the partisan shoe were on the other foot I have no doubt Republicans would look to similar approaches to stifle intellectual opposition to their ends. However, as conservatism appears to be the minority perspective nowadays, at least electorally, Democrats are the practicable aggressors in the here and now. As with all freedoms, this is not likely to be a one-time fight, so to speak; we must always be vigilant and ready to resist infringements on liberty regardless of what particular ideological colors they come cloaked in.