Free Speech: The Left Moves In for the Kill
The Left is mounting an all-out assault against the freedom of speech, and is using Charlottesville as its Reichstag Fire moment to try to crush all dissent.
Several days ago, I received an email that set in motion a chain of events leading to my website, Jihad Watch, being dropped from PayPal. After an immense public outcry, the Jihad Watch PayPal account was restored -- not that I ever intend to use it again. But this episode illustrates the Left’s determination to silence all of its foes rather than debate them, and these fascists won’t rest until no one dares oppose their agenda.
The email that started this incident has ominous implications far beyond the incident itself. Far-Left journalist Lauren Kirchner sent similar emails to other counter-jihad sites as well -- here are her questions, along with the answers I sent her:
1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?
Yes, certainly I do. For years, Leftists and Muslim groups with numerous ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood have smeared as “hate” all attempts to speak honestly about the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism.
In reality, it is not hateful, racist or extremist to oppose jihad terror, and the claim that it is [is] not only libelous but insidious: the intent has clearly been to intimidate people into thinking it wrong to oppose jihad terror, and it has worked, as illustrated by the neighbors of the San Bernardino jihad murderers, who saw suspicious activity at their home but didn’t report them for fear of being “racist.”
2) We identified several tech companies on your website: PayPal, Amazon, Newsmax, and Revcontent. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?
The intent of your questions, and no doubt of your forthcoming article, will be to try to compel these sites to cut off any connection with us based on our opposition to jihad terror. Are you comfortable with what you’re enabling?
Not only are you inhibiting honest analysis of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, but you’re aiding the attempt to deny people a platform based on their political views. This could come back to bite you if your own views ever fall out of favor.
Have you ever lived in a totalitarian state, where the powerful determine the parameters of the public discourse and cut off all voice from the powerless? Do you really want to live in one now? You might find, once you get there, that it isn’t as wonderful as you thought it would be.
3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?
No. This is a new thing.
First came the ridiculous claim that opposing jihad terror was “hate,” and now comes the other shoe dropping: the attempt to cut out the ground from under the feet of those who “hate.” You can only hope that you aren’t similarly defamed one day; perhaps if that does happen, you will realize (too late) why the freedom of speech is an indispensable element of a free society.
4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them -- what is your view of this campaign? Why?
Nazis will be Nazis. Fascists will be fascists. Today they call themselves “Antifa” and the like, but they’re acting just like Hitler’s Brownshirts did, when they shouted down and assaulted anti-Nazi speakers. Now the violent thugs work in a more genteel fashion: they just pull the Internet plug on those they hate. You, Lauren Kirchner, are aiding and abetting a quintessentially fascist enterprise. Authoritarianism in service of any cause leads to a slave society despite the best intentions of those who helped usher it in.
I was trying to appeal to any residual sense of decency and fair play that Lauren Kirchner may have had, but it was to no avail. Last Saturday at 1:45 p.m., ProPublica published its hit piece, and it led off with me:
Because of its “extreme hostility toward Muslims,” the website Jihadwatch.org is considered an active hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. The views of the site’s director, Robert Spencer, on Islam led the British Home Office to ban him from entering the country in 2013.
But its designation as a hate site hasn’t stopped tech companies -- including PayPal, Amazon and Newsmax -- from maintaining partnerships with Jihad Watch that help to sustain it financially. PayPal facilitates donations to the site. Newsmax -- the online news network run by President Donald Trump’s close friend Chris Ruddy -- pays Jihad Watch in return for users clicking on its headlines. Until recently, Amazon allowed Jihad Watch to participate in a program that promised a cut of any book sales that the site generated. All three companies have policies that say they don’t do business with hate groups.
Within hours, PayPal bowed to this defamation. At 6:02 p.m., I got an email from PayPal saying:
[D]ue to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with PayPal’s User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account.
Inside my PayPal account was a further notice:
When you signed up for your PayPal account, you agreed to our User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy. Because some of your recent transactions violated this policy, we've had to permanently limit your account … This limitation cannot be appealed.
These vague messages illustrated the Kafkaesque nature of this Leftist enterprise: PayPal, like the SPLC itself, was acting as judge, jury and executioner. No discussion, no debate, no opposing view, no appeal was possible.
The SPLC never contacts its targets to ask them to respond to charges that they are “hate groups”; it simply hands down its ruling, which the establishment media uncritically accepts. And that’s that.
William A. Jacobson notes at Legal Insurrection:
SPLC, presumably ADL, and ProPublica just don’t like Robert Spencer’s opinions about the practice of Islamism and Jihad. Yet as we have seen in other contexts, rather than winning the war of ideas, they seek to stifle free speech and, in this case, dry up sources of revenue for their political opponents.
They failed this time. PayPal restored my account Monday night after being inundated with emails from people canceling their accounts over PayPal’s fascism.
But this is no time for complacency: PayPal hasn’t suddenly become hospitable to conservative views. The Left’s anti-free speech initiative is not going to stop.
They won’t stop until Jihad Watch is shut down, my books are not offered for sale on Amazon or anywhere else, and no one will dare host a speech by me or anyone else who dares to break with their ideological lockstep.
These fascists -- who call themselves “anti-fascists” -- are totalitarian: they are determined not to allow their opponents to murmur the slightest whisper of dissent.
Therefore I may be out of action before too long. This initiative is advancing very rapidly, and those who should be standing up to it -- the establishment Republicans and the Trump administration -- don’t show any sign of even being aware it is happening.
Of course, if I am silenced, and if all other foes of jihad terror are silenced, the jihad will not go away. If there are any among the SPLC and ADL and Pro Publica and the rest who are not outright fascists and actually think they’re doing a good thing in standing against “hate,” they will eventually discover they have been on the wrong side, and have aided and abetted nothing less than the destruction of free society.
But by then it will be too late.