In 1737 Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.”
Are we on the brink of tyranny?
We saw a terrible thing happen in the assault on Congress in Washington, DC on January 6th, 2021, yet the adverse reaction can be worse than the crime. History teaches us that when something troubling happens in a society, we make two wrong moves. We overreact or under-react. No one denies that the people who committed these crimes need to be held accountable, yet people made some troubling reactions and suggestions in its aftermath.
Big tech, which controls the flow of information in our country, is de-platforming people with whom they disagree politically. Voices from Germany and Mexico have warned us of the danger of these actions. Members of Congress are proposing a commission to discuss reigning in the freedom of the press. Be careful about what you seek. When the other party or political persuasion is in power, and the shoe is on the other foot, people may silence you.
Franklin finishes his statement with these words, “An evil magistrate intrusted with power to punish for words, would be armed with a weapon the most destructive and terrible. Under pretence of pruning off the exuberant branches, he would be apt to destroy the tree.”
Are we undermining free speech and destroying democracy?