Hardcore leftists, at heart, are totalitarians. They really are.
They do not believe in liberal democracy or civil liberties or individual rights. They believe in controlling people. That should be obvious, of course, from the history of all hard left governments. But we tend to assume that it must be different with Americans.
To be sure, lots of Americans on the left do still believe in things like freedom of speech. I’m not talking about them. But in our new, more left-leaning political climate, the tendencies of the totalitarian left are coming out into the open.
Case in point: the calls to ban fox news. In fact, a number of journalists are now crusading against the freedom of the press.
Here are some of those voices, quoted in the National Review editorial The Absurd Calls to Shut Down Fox News:
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times writes, “I’d like to see pressure on advertisers to withdraw from Fox News so long as it functions as an extremist madrasa, and cable providers should be asked why they distribute channels that peddle lies.”
Max Boot of the Washington Post contends that “large cable companies such as Comcast and Charter Spectrum, which carry Fox News and provide much of its revenue in the form of user fees, need to step in and kick Fox News off. And if smaller competitors such as One America News and Newsmax continue to incite viewers, they, too, should be booted off.”
And Anand Giridharadas of MSNBC goes even further, asking, “Should Fox News be allowed to exist? Brain-mashing as a business model shouldn’t be legal.”
And more, from Rich Lowry, Free Speech for Me, but Not for Thee:
Steve Coll, who is no less than the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, said last December, “Those of us in journalism have to come to terms with the fact that free speech, a principle that we hold sacred, is being weaponized against the principles of journalism.” The former managing editor of Time magazine, Richard Stengel, has written: “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails.”
Yes, I know the argument that the Bill of Rights only applies to what the government may not do, so that the private sector is not obliged to honor civil liberties. Though it appears that these would-be commissars would be happy to use the power of the government against their ideological enemies, whose news enterprises “shouldn’t be legal.” And kicking off conservative channels from cable networks for political reasons would be in violation of court rulings and FCC regulations. But set that aside for a moment.
What is the mindset that wants to regulate speech and to control what views get to be expressed and what views citizens are allowed to hear? It doesn’t matter for the cause of liberty and the free exchange of ideas who is controlling speech, whether government or the private sector. The principle, honored by all advocates of liberty since the time of Milton’s Areopagitica, that societies benefit from the free exchange of ideas, is precisely what the left is opposing.
Of course, those who want to shut down Fox News as quoted here are not the usual kind of leftists. These are not grassroots, working-class revolutionaries but high-status functionaries of the upper echelons of the American press: The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, Time Magazine, the Columbia School of Journalism.
This is the voice of corporatism, that system of government in which business corporations run the country as opposed to political institutions. Some say–including many from the Old Left–that this is the de facto system we have today. In which case it wouldn’t matter if the government is limited by the Bill of Rights, since corporations are the ones that exercise the power and may rule as they please.
In that light, the efforts to ban Fox News, which is not even all that conservative any more, has more to do with the capitalist goal of getting rid of the competition. This new leftist ideology is not conventional socialism but “woke capitalism.” This may amount to something like the synthesis of communism, corporatism, and capitalism that we see in the “China Path,” which allows for both money-making and totalitarianism.