When the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi took over Congress, their all-out assault on constitutional freedoms got off to a fast start. We’ve known their progressive agenda for a long time. As Tom Steyer continues to wage his crusade to get Donald Trump impeached, the campaign promises of resistance by the Democrats are starting to take the form of actual bills. But who actually controls the strings? Who’s pushing this radical agenda?
One can scarcely overstate the symbolic importance of the first bill introduced in the 116th Congress. Democrats call H.R. 1 a “sweeping anti-corruption bill,” and it passed its House vote last Friday — 234-193 — along party lines. Indeed, it is sweeping, but their first bill would in fact further cement their own corruption. It would undermine the rights to free expression, gut election security measures, authorize public financing for political campaigns, introduce a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United, require PACs to disclose their donors, more deeply regulate political speech, and a whole host of other things. As Rich Lowry wrote this week at the New York Post, “What HR 1 makes abundantly clear is that the foremost threat to the First Amendment are the people who believe that there is something untoward about unregulated political speech and seek to bring it under control.”
This, of course, is nothing new. Long before they had the Bad Orange Man to resist, certain elements of the Left spent decades chipping away at the U.S. Constitution. The resistance began long before Donald Trump was inaugurated as our 45th president, and was planned by an exclusive cabal of billionaires and foundations hell-bent on making Trump toxic to average Americans. As a means to an end, the Left will stop at nothing short of criminalizing certain forms of expression. The European Union has already made such moves. In an October 2018 article, The Atlantic says, “In Europe, free speech is an alienable right.”
In my new book, Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy, I examine these wide-ranging efforts, and who really pushes the agenda. In Chapter 6, I write that the First Amendment stands in the way of the Left’s long-term effort to repeal and replace our constitutional republic.
Most Americans who support the concept of freedom of speech would say some variation of, “I may disagree with what you say, but I would fight to defend your right to say it.” On the other hand, many Americans might be swayed by the progressive argument that corporations aren’t people, and might even engage in some sort of civilized debate on limits to the rights to free speech.
The vast majority of Americans have no idea that campaign finance reform and Net Neutrality have their origins in the same far-left attempt to fundamentally limit the First Amendment. If they did have such a notion, most Americans would recoil at such a blatant assault on individual liberty. The progressive change agents driving the Left’s agenda have become experts on testing these messages to make them seem like common sense Americanism, instead of the subversive threats they actually are. They start with the easiest argument to make, like, “Corporations aren’t people,” and use the precedent to push for further and further encroachments on personal liberties.
Meet Robert McChesney, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Like most Marxists, McChesney detests the concept of private property and the profit motive. He also believes that in order to make society more equitable the government should be involved in regulating personal liberties. He writes:
These are radical ideas, far outside the existing range of debate inside political circles or even the academy. Unless ideas along the lines of what follow get “mainstreamed,” it will not just be the media reform movement but the broad political left that will be guaranteed irrelevance and failure.
McChesney goes on to describe the movement itself:
As former president Jimmy Carter said in 2013, the United States is no longer a “functioning democracy,”even by the weak standards of its own history. This means the chances of winning media policy battles of any great consequence inside the beltway with the existing array of forces are all but non-existent.
Of course, what McChesney (and President Carter, for that matter) fails to understand is that the inequitable system he criticizes was created not by capitalism, but rather by progressive governmental intervention with regulations leading to unintended consequences.
Conservative writer John Fund wrote a thorough breakdown of McChesney and his billionaire patrons for the Wall Street Journal a few years back. In his column, “The Net Neutrality Coup,” Fund draws a direct line between McChesney and the fight for Net Neutrality regulations, and the forces behind campaign finance reform. As Fund notes, both campaigns propose to place wide restrictions on the First Amendment. He writes:
The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney’s agenda? “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
The fight for Net Neutrality didn’t occupy the back burner for the billionaires on the radical left. No, they made a massive investment in this movement. The Media Research Center reported that between 2000 and 2013, the most radical donors on the left poured $196 million into the campaign to regulate the internet. These donations came from two major foundations on the progressive left: The Open Society Foundation, founded and funded by George Soros, and The Ford Foundation. Those two foundations plowed that money into an array of extreme groups on the left to engage in public pressure campaigns and lobbying.
When one realizes the unbroken chain between Net Neutrality and Campaign Finance Reform, the goal becomes obvious. The radical progressive billionaires want nothing less than to regulate natural rights inherent in each individual, as articulated in the United States Constitution. Most make it seem like they defend the First Amendment when in fact it stands in the way of their agenda. Unregulated freedom cannot coexist with a command economy and society run by anti-capitalist elites.
And now, they’re back at it again, despite most of McCain-Feingold having been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Pelosi leads the charge, but it’s not just in Congress. These same billionaires and foundations, operating out of the sunlight thanks to a compliant media that covers for them, continue to push for restrictions on political speech and spending in state houses all across the nation. The goal remains the same – to limit liberty so they can usher in an age of government control over a formerly free people.