By: Mark Glennon*

Forget James Madison’s warning that “gradual and silent encroachments” of freedom are a more common threat to freedom than “violent and sudden usurpations.”

Having been ignored by most of America for a number of years, the time for that warning is gone.

Last week marked the launch of a massive, overt, coordinated effort to suppress free speech and political dissent by silencing or entirely cancelling the half of America that is right of center.

It is anything but gradual and silent. It is now a five-alarm fire, burning in Illinois as elsewhere. It must be reversed here and everywhere.

The impetus for the new surge was twofold, the first being the Capitol Building incident, or whatever you think it should be properly called – an attack, riot, protest or whatever – it shouldn’t matter how you characterize it because no reasonable person should want to see the tragedy happen ever again.

To prevent its recurrence, what may matter most in the long run is preventing the expansion of the clampdown into generalized suppression of political dissent. Trump will be gone in nine days, but the clampdown’s supporters show no signs of backing off and are doubling down.

Unless they are stopped, legitimate political competition won’t be restored and, most regrettably, the number of Americans who see violence or insurrection as their only option will grow. Five Americans died at the Capitol, and the chapter must never be repeated.

Anybody right of center is now being painted as seditionist or fascist, especially active Trump supporters, even those who were appalled by the Capitol Building incident.

Particularly blatant and inexcusable is the recent attack, apparently coordinated, to destroy Parler, Twitter’s conservative alternative. Almost concurrently, Google and Apple banned Parler from their app stores and Amazon cut off its hosting services. The tech oligarchs went for a threefer by 1) kneecapping a competitor, 2) extending their censorship and 3) sending a warning shot to any others who dare challenge their dominance.

In Illinois, as across America, blame our political leadership, corporate media, big tech and a vicious mob of private citizens for the surge of suppression.

Our top representation in Washington, Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, had already said they were fine with political censorship by tech oligarchs. Durbin actually called for more of it and Duckworth, unbelievably, blamed concerns about tech censorship on a Russian plot.

This past weekend, Durbin said he will team up with Illinois Congressman Brad Schneider to reintroduce the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act. In 2019 it passed the House but was blocked by the Senate. With Durbin’s party now controlling the Senate he will have a freer hand to do what he wants with it.

That’s dangerous because the bill was already a threat to political dissent. None other than the ACLU, which is far left, said in 2019 that it will “result in the further unjustified and discriminatory surveillance, investigation, and prosecution of people of color and other marginalized communities, including those engaged in First Amendment-protected activities.” Count on Durbin and Schneider to fix the bill to assure that those abuses are more clearly directed at their political opponents.”

Who in Illinois’ Congressional delegation is fighting hard enough to assure that free speech and political dissent are protected while working to assure that the Capitol Building incident doesn’t occur again?

Nobody in either party that I have seen.

That change in Senate control is the second event that gave impetus to the new surge of autocratic repression. It’s no accident that the surge occurred almost immediately after the Georgia elections made control clear. Big tech oligarchs, especially, know that Congress now has their backs.

Illinois media have been complicit through silence. Our press is not as bad as the national media, most of which now distorts, suppresses and dissembles in the ordinary course, but it sure isn’t critical thereof. They’ve shirked their traditional commitment to free speech by failing to criticize the malpractice and propaganda that prevails in national journalism.

Some of the general public bears blame as well, comprising a ruthless mob intent on destroying the lives of political opponents. Our headlines this week carried multiple stories of people getting fired or ridiculed, irrespective of evidence on whether they were among the criminals who entered the Capitol Building. In social media, the mob published more pictures of those they don’t like with no indication whatsoever of their views about the Capitol Building.

Stephen Colbert might be America’s most famous former Illinoisan. He joined a number of others comparing the Capitol Building incident to the burning of the Reichstag in 1933. “After five years of coddling this president’s fascist rhetoric, guess whose followers want to burn down the Reichstag,” he said.

That’s way over the top. Comparisons to Hitler and Nazis are rarely appropriate. But if the Colberts and others want to go there they should keep going to find the Reichstag’s clearest lesson.

While historians disagree on who set the Reichstag fire — perhaps the Nazis themselves — there is broad agreement that the main historical significance of the fire was the swift torching of a wide array of civil rights by Hitler on the pretext that communists set the fire and threatened to overturn the government. Hitler convinced the German president to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree, which was the end of rights to freedom of expression, public assembly, privacy in communications, habeas corpus and more.

The Reichstag burning in 1933.

That’s the warning from the fire, and it is among history’s most important. Threatening events, whether real or conjured, can be used to justify the suspension of basic human rights.

Nobody here will use the Capitol Building event to attempt to suppress rights as cruelly as Hitler did. They won’t try and they wouldn’t succeed if they did try. That’s among the reasons why voices of dissent here won’t be silenced. Those Americans who fear for their basic rights aren’t going away, and those who think otherwise are dangerously mistaken.

Therein lies the most frightening potential consequence. If the current surge of authoritarian suppression persists, so too will violent opposition to it. That violence must end, and ending it requires assurance of robust, free expression of political opinion, but that is precisely what is under siege.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

This article was updated to correct the number of reported dead, changing it from six to five.

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NoHope4Illinois
6 days ago

Been watching Russian mini-series on Grigori Rasputin – the censorship, media propaganda and disinformation, cancel culture, and Democrat Leftism going on now in America is EXACTLY the same as when the Marxists overran Russia. It is scary.

Last edited 6 days ago by NoHope4Illinois
s & p 500
9 days ago

That #pelosilovestrump that’s trending on twitter is hilarious.

Riverbender
10 days ago

I have noticed how the various media outlets have eliminated the comment sections thereby eliminating anyone to dispute the pablum these outlets put out. Just another step in denying the public to have any opinion other that the editors. I once thought the Internet would bring out a freely available easy to use outlet for individual expression and opinion. I can forget that.

heyjude
10 days ago
Reply to  Riverbender

Yes, funny how things never turn out as expected once the leftists get involved.

s & p 500
9 days ago
Reply to  Riverbender

The Philadelphia Inquirer allows comments but they delete some of them. Go to the comments of some of the articles and there are a few “content disabled–why” red flags. Some comments get deleted for no apparent reason. I think that whether or not to allow comments is a financial decision–newspapers won’t eliminate comment sections if it reduces readership.

10 days ago

Wirepoints is probably next in line for cancellation. I wont be surprised to see this page gone.

M.H. Deal
10 days ago

Hmm! It’s been reported, accurately or not, that these offending websites were cancelled by the behemoths at approximately the same time. Collusion, perhaps? If memory serves me correctly, didn’t those five or more states counting votes on November 3rd & 4th each stop their counts at approximately the same time? Practice, as they say, makes perfect. Or, close enough for government work. Where’s the press when you need them?

M.H. Deal
10 days ago

The time is long past to “bell the cat,” that is to call these behemoths what each is – asocial media. There’s not a scintilla of “social” about any of them. They’ve never had an appeal for me. When I saw Facebook’s slogan was “follow me on Facebook”, I said “nope.” I don’t and won’t follow anybody. And I don’t want to be followed either. Converse, exchange ideas. O.K. Anything else is strictly unwanted. Isn’t it a curiosity that there are gobs of institutions professing to teach “leadership,” but there are no schools of “followership.” Without “followers,” however, these “leaders”… Read more »

Mitch, the actuary with a PhD in French history
10 days ago

The burning of the Reichstag is the wrong model to look at. It’s famous, but not really on point. The closer parallel is the attack on the French Chamber of Deputies on Feb 6 1934. Egged on by the French ultra-right wingers (see conservative German historian Ernst Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism), a mob surrounded the legislature to intimidate the Deputies. When their force overwhelmed the police protecting the building, the mob waited for their next move. But their leader did not direct them–he was a coward who stayed safely far away from the action.

Local Observer
10 days ago

It appears that Newsmax is not currently available too. I’m unable to open up the articles that are delivered in my email. I checked out their website and it won’t open.

Rick
10 days ago
Reply to  Local Observer

Newsmax works for me

Rick
10 days ago

Just reading that Amazon didn’t simply deplatform Parl$r by kicking them off the servers. They literally destroyed all their data as they were doing it, so Parl$r has no more company to even put on a different server, the user base data is gone apparently. It would be like if all the documents and research written by the Wirepoints team were destroyed by the web hosting service, poof, no more company. This has gone way beyond cancellation of apps and sites. It is outright destruction of data. Now the lawyers have something to bite on.

Dr Common Apathy
10 days ago
Reply to  Rick

Rick,

According to hackers, all Parler posts were dumped and preserved by them. Also, the free speech platform Gab backed up all replies to Trump’s tweets. The tech overlords have forgotten the first rule of online posts – the internet is forever.

Ex Illini
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

These are indeed dangerous times. Free speech has always been protected as one of our basic freedoms, regardless of the nature of that speech. One of the best examples was the protection afforded the Nazi group in Illinois. Of course they are reprehensible, but they were allowed to assemble and demonstrate. The were even protected by law enforcement. The liberal media has now appointed itself judge, jury and executioner, and have been embraced by the Democratic machine. These fools learn nothing from history, even recent history. The steps taken by Democrats during the Obama administration led directly to a conservative… Read more »

ProzacPlease
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Add in the obsession with identity politics, and you have another form of totalitarianism: National Socialism.

Last edited 10 days ago by ProzacPlease
debtsor
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

They wear communist as a badge of honor.

Rick
10 days ago
Reply to  Ex Illini

Courts and laws cannot stop the cancellation of web sites, and phone apps. Your phone is not a utility like electricity or gas. Your phone is a Google or Apple device and those are private companies, not utilities. Amazon hosts millions of web sites, again they are private company and can deny service to anyone. Like most things technological, the law is always a decade or more behind. Law is reactive, so there will be another decade before it fully reacts to correcting conservative speech cancellation now.

NB-Chicago
10 days ago
Reply to  Rick

Seem a lot articales i read discus fb & google are legally covered acting as private companies canceling web sites under–“section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which not only permits tech companies to censor constitutionally protected speech but immunizes them from liability if they do so”. Maybe im wrong, but thought i was reading trump admin was trying to get section 230 revoked?  https://www.wsj.com/articles/save-the-constitution-from-big-tech-11610387105?mod=flipboard

NB-Chicago
10 days ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

Hmmm…bit of dem hypocrisy, dems are happy to get behinde all their trial lawyer buddies gigantic multi billion/ multistate fb facial recognition lawsuit and other big tech lawsuits(which lawsuit friendly illinois is epicenter). And Kamala H and other dem presidential canidates railed against breaking up the big tech monopolies during the election. But now dems control everything and are happy to let Zuckerberg, Bezos & co do their dirty work and create some kind of wierd big tech/ progressive/ mccarthyism america under the cover of section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act? Frightening

NB-Chicago
10 days ago
Reply to  Ex Illini

Dont forget, even though the aclu found the chicago nazi’s repugnant they still fought for them to have the right to march in Skokie…todays aclu would never go there

Joey Zamboni
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Illinois is like the person that always shows up last to a function…

Freddy
10 days ago

Looks like Madigan is suspending his campaign for House speaker according to WGN

Rick
10 days ago
Reply to  Freddy

Too bad some poor middle management schmucks at ComEd don’t have the same privilege, they will be the ones wearing the orange jump suits, not Madigan. Apparently Madigan can just walk away, ok to solicit and take a bribe, but dont be the schmuck at ComEd who writes the check because your boss released the “expense”. Makes me wonder what exactly is the FBI doing on the ComEd side of this scandal, bribery takes two to tango.

Thomas D Berry
10 days ago
Reply to  Rick

The FBI is only interested in crimes committed by those with an “R” next to their names.

Windcrest
10 days ago

The phenomenon of cloud data centers is the mechanism for total cancellation of disliked groups on the Internet. Google, Amazon and Microsoft have built massive data centers so companies no longer have to buy millions in equipment to host their sites “on premises”. Companies being cancelled will have to build their own data centers or host on smaller service providers if they dont want to be cancelled at midnight like Amazon did. What is needed is to make cloud data services like Amazon operate as utilities. Is electricity and water being denied to conservatives yet? The second thing that needs… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Windcrest
Hank Scorpio
10 days ago
Reply to  Windcrest

That’s exactly what I was thinking. While Twitter may be in the legal clear, hosting providers and dns providers should be considered utilities. Otherwise, there is precedence for turning off someone’s electric, water, etc, based on their political beliefs. I think Parler has a legal case against AWS.

Susan
10 days ago
Reply to  Windcrest

blockchain technology (decentralized organizations) provide alternatives to the monopoly tech infrastructure to which you refer.
like a heart bypass.

Rick
10 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Yes we can only hope for distributed blockchain applications. But I fear its too late and its a few years off yet for the distributed app type of chains. Especially after Etheriums big testing failures with that distributed cat game. And leftist government fears blockchain as that would indeed put a monkey wrench in physical cancellation they are now doing. Yes blockchains do have the potential to restore internet free speech. But leftists will fight that tooth and nail in the courts of their truth. Even with distributed apps you still need the pedabyte level data stores, at that point… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Rick
Susan
10 days ago
Reply to  Rick

Filecoin, siacoin,storj, golem, nem/xem, cryptyk…
there are vast quantities of ‘cloud’ space and computer power lying fallow. The projects named above are rapidly nearing capability to provide veins and arteries around the diseased parts of the heart.

Pat
11 days ago

“Free speech” starting a downhill slide when PC became the standard and a word, a single “n” word, became the purview of an ethnic group. Then all the rest of this nonsense piled on and we are erasing history, not learning from it, are being deigned gender-less and now the powers that be want us all in lockstep. 1984: Plot Overview | SparkNotes As the novel opens, Winston feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which prohibits free thought, sex, and any expression of individuality … Unfortunately it appears that George Orwell was prescient. We live in… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
11 days ago
Reply to  Pat

By design or not, any generation at least after 1990 seems to generally not understand or does not want to understand what free speech really is.

They believe that discomfort at hearing another’s ideas is equivalent to being “unsafe.”

We have many teachers and administrators at all level of schooling who have propagated this mentality.

We are now harvesting the fruits of this malfeasance.

Joey Zamboni
10 days ago

This preoccupation with *safety* is troubling…

But only safety from *certain* things…

And that list grows longer each day…

At the expense of more & more of our liberty…

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. “

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

debtsor
10 days ago

Free speech is about power. That’s why they deny you free speech. There’s still plenty of free speech for conservatives. Talk radio is dominated by conservatives, as are conservative websites, and even youtube is still a lot of conservatives because if they kicked them all off it would be nothing more than a glorified music video channel and cat videos. Parler was shut down because the tech oligarchs are big bullies. Parler was collateral damage in teh Game of Thrones fight been Republicans and Democrats. We won many of the previous battles – the supreme court, we had the presidency… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by debtsor
Thee Jabroni
10 days ago

They dont care about free speech or the constitution,all they care about is how much “free” stuff the govmnt will give them!

11 days ago

I’m calling it “The Great Suppression.”

Freddy
11 days ago

Check out http://www.naturalnews.com today article entitled 25 insane,crazy agenda.#6 #9 and #16 are very possible. Not sure about the rest.

Thee Jabroni
11 days ago

The left-“we want all americans to have equality,all inclusive,equal rights for everyone,we want to stop the divisiveness,we’re all in this together”!…….unless youre a conservative with a differing viewpoint,then we want you blocked,censored,to lose your job,so on and so forth!!

Hock
11 days ago

The one and only way to play the game of Big Tech is to quit spending money with them. All these platforms are surviving on people using their services and buying from their advertisers. If people would just cancel Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and sold their stock if they are holding it there would be a substantial backlash.

Susan
11 days ago

“Denial of Service” is a double edge sword. One side seems to desire to deny service (monopoly internet infrastructure access) to those who dare question them. Side “D” let’s call them, desires to suppress Side “R” let’s call them. That is easily accomplished when infrastructure of utility is controlled, as a practical matter, by “Side D”. However at the same time, “Side D” requires (not desires, REQUIRES) provision of services by many Americans who might be classified under AI standards as “Side R” (for example: medical, police, military, independent farmers not exporting production). Now, “Side D” is presented with a… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
10 days ago
Reply to  Susan

I believe that you are quite an interesting person. I always enjoy reading your ideas, which, although they have an academic and theoretical “what if” nature to them, are fun to ponder.

Thanks for your contributions.

Susan
10 days ago

Thanks but I strive always to be practical. Theory may be considered impractical when exigencies are main drivers. We (the general set humans) need solutions to realproblems created by legitimate demands of other humans (some amount, let’s say A,B and C, subsets of humans). Subset A, let us generalize description as Political Class, have discovered that they can enrich subset A through subjugating subset B…however the subjugation is contingent upon agreement and participation by Subset C. (Subset A can achieve the same enrichment through subjugation of subset C with consent and participation of subset B). If we non-political class subsets… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
10 days ago
Reply to  Susan

May I ask what your background is?

Susan
10 days ago

not relevant. speak to he issues.

Edward Wezain
11 days ago

It has already started. The blog, Second City Cop has been taken down. This blog has been a thorn in the side of Chicago politicians and their cronies. Expect to see more of the same down the road.

ProzacPlease
11 days ago

Interesting that Colbert brought up the Reichstag fire, because we have seen this playbook before.

Incessantly promote the idea that one ethnic group is holding another group down, and has been plotting to do so for centuries? Check.

Use an attack on the legislature a few weeks after winning an election as the justification for shutting down opposition? Check.

A criminal deified as a martyr to the cause? Check.

An elderly placeholder in office? Check.

A group of thugs as enforcers in the streets? Check.

All the kumbaya-ers need to wake up and understand what they have been supporting.

M.H. Deal
11 days ago

Every morning without fail my first stop is Second City Cop. As others have remarked, its site has been Google-ized. For being sarcastic? That’s a Chicago trait. When you deal with anyone who’s not sarcastic and ironic, you know you’re not dealing with a Chicago native. As an “old Washington hand”, my first and enduring question about the Capitol police’s performance on Wednesday, January 6th, is “where were the dogs?” The Capitol police patrol the grounds on foot and often accompanied by K-9s. Where were they? Several German Shepherds would cause the bolder members of the “invasion”, which resembled an… Read more »

David F
11 days ago

If Trump is unfit to be president for inciting rioting add Kamala to that list she did the same thing.
I will delete my twitter today.

M
11 days ago

Looks like Second City Cop blog-site has disappeared, deplatformed? Not reachable today.

KJ
11 days ago

Both sides, right/left, are not being heard and they are resorting to violence. I expect they will unite at some point in the near future. There are only small differences between either extreme.

The best solution is a smaller government asked to do less.

Illinois Entrepreneur
11 days ago
Reply to  KJ

I beg to differ that the Left is not being heard. They control and use almost every institution in America to their ends. They have academia, corporate America, Big Tech, the media, government workers at the state and federal level, the intelligence apparatus (the Deep State, if you will), and broadcast media and Hollywood. I could go on. But to say they’re not being heard is false. If you had said they are not easily “getting their way” with their radical ideas, I might agree. Big Tech seems fully intent on squishing conservative voices to the point where we might… Read more »

Tom Paine's Ghost
10 days ago
Reply to  KJ

The left is mostly the only thing being heard. And they want to quash what sliver of information still being heard that isn’t from the left.Just check the Tribune headlines: all are massively biased and most are factually incorrect. Spend 30 minutes watching CNN and see 30 minutes of fabricated hate against conservatives. It was bad before Trump was elected. Once Trump was elected the spewing vile hatred of journalists was ‘tiggered’ and they abandoned all pretense of impartiality.

UrbanDam
10 days ago

100% agree with the Trib’s political positioning nowadays. They used to be an alternative to the heavy pro-union Sun Times but it’s like the former is the new SunTimes and the latter has become more like Pravda of the past (ironically, the slavic meaning is Truth).

Joey Zamboni
11 days ago

It appears the *Second City Cop Blog* has been shut down by google…

When I tried to go to it earlier I get the google account sign in page, when I sign in it says the page is by invite only…?

Seems this *insignificant* blog is not so insignificant after all….

I expect a domino effect as more sites are censored by big tech…

Illinois Entrepreneur
11 days ago
Reply to  Joey Zamboni

I just tried looking at it, and it says that “this blog is open to invited readers only.” You have to get the author to allow you to see it.

I never thought I’d see this day in America. But it’s clear that The Purge is underway, and it is blazingly fast.

RSB
11 days ago
Reply to  Joey Zamboni

I had the same issue this morning. Seems like blanket attack by google.

debtsor
10 days ago
Reply to  RSB

There are digital jihadists on the left that relentlessly doxx. In this environment its not safe to keep up an anonymous website of cops. I don’t blame them for making it invite only. Maybe they’re doing their own counterintel on bad actors who’ve tried to infiltrate the site. The irony is that totally free speech gives voice to a small minority of bad actors. Twitter seems its own bad actors as foot soldiers in the culture wars instead of the bad guys that should be removed. Doxxing is against their TOS but they never seem to do anything about it… Read more »

Susan
11 days ago

There is a technological solution to institutional oppression. That is decentralized autonomous organization provided by blockchain technology. There are several offerings in inchoate stages which provide “uncensorable” chat and video posting. Why uncensorable? Because users post directly to blockchain and blockchain is as a practical matter controlled by users. These ‘new twitter, new youtube’ sites are “hosted” by many many providers (decentralized ) rather than just one (AWS). Why is itnow possible to fractionalize tech utility infrastructure provision? ‘Tokenomics’ offers incentives for small businesses to store electronic files and share computing power. Governments can of course make anything illegal which… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
11 days ago

The next couple years are going to be an epic battle. Biden is not the “uniter” that he claims to be, and when President Harris assumes the role, you can bet that she will dump jugs of gasoline on the fire like the Joker did in Dark Knight. All she is missing is the smeared makeup. The Left has focused almost entirely on Donald Trump, with their maniacal obsession on the man. But they’re completely missing the fact that 74 million people did vote for him. Why? Is it because he is a cult of personality, as the Left likes… Read more »

Fed up neighbor
11 days ago

these are going to be some very rough times ahead, and i agree about capital hill, Washington better wake up another civil war is brewing and they (politicians) don’t even realize it. Washington new about this and they the politicians let it happen anything to discredit Trump, Pelosi is a very evil woman her own daughter did a interview several years ago.

Last edited 11 days ago by Fed up neighbor
Tom Paine's Ghost
11 days ago

Spot on. Soon I expect that websites like Wirepoints will be dumped by their internet providers and eliminated from all internet searches. Wirepoints, Brietbart, Red State and others will need to post to their own servers and access will be via word-of-mouth internet address information. Until the FBI shuts them down for ‘sedition’ and “domestic terrorism’. The left is on a Witch hunt and all dissent will be crushed. Their goal is destruction of the Republican party nationwide to ensure there is no Red Wave in 2022. They spent the past four years of “resistance” and labeling Trump supporters as… Read more »

Tom Paine's Ghost
10 days ago

Wow. A couple hours after I write this Second City Cop is kneecapped by Google. Email them at SCCMailList@yahoo.com for “invitation only” access until they find a new host.