Hey, my friends. I am huge free speech advocate. It’s long been my belief that the freedom to think and to express those thoughts is a foundational principle for all other human freedoms.
In our modern age, the means of protecting that speech must change with the means available to us to express it. We’ve seen, in recent years, a dramatic shift the balance of power between public speech governed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution and privatized speech that is governed by the “terms of service” of private social media companies.
When the US Constitution was crafted, the greatest threat to free speech was the government literally pulling you out of the town square. Today it’s Silicon Valley executives arbitrarily deciding whose speech is protected and whose speech is not without any due process of law. To me and I hope to you, that is unacceptable.
I realize I have readers all over the world and what I’m proposing will not affect you in your country, but I have drafted legislation I plan to submit to my members of the US Congress. I’m sharing the draft of it here and I’d love your feedback.
Here is the proposed verbiage.
- Because the freedom of speech is a sacred and foundational principle of a free society.
- Because, as a practical matter, the “public square” has shifted from a physical place or the printed page to a digital world.
- Because there is ample evidence that our freedom of speech is not in safe hands when it can be arbitrarily denied by private social media and search engine companies.
- Because a very few companies hold massive monopolies in this space.
- Because these companies have demonstrated a willingness to collude to deny free speech to American citizens without due process of law.
- Because any legitimate measure of free speech in our modern world must include the freedom to express oneself on these platforms.
- Because the modern definition of press has expanded to include citizen journalists which means these events threaten both individual freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
- Because elected officials have “unofficially” used their regulatory power to threaten these companies into censorship, violating the spirit and the principle of the Constitutional guarantee that government shall not abridge free speech.
- Because we cannot leave these freedoms up to the political whims of the moment.
Be it enacted by The Congress of The United States of America, that the protections on free speech in the public arena, guaranteed by the First Amendment, are hereby permanently expanded to include social media companies and search engine companies. Be it further enacted that these companies shall not abridge the free speech of any American citizen or citizen journalist without the due process of law subject existing US law and court precedents. Be it further enacted that online free speech, even on private digital platforms provided by private companies in the business of providing a means for information to be shared or disseminated, shall be indistinguishable in law to the free speech granted in the offline world.
I’d love to hear your feedback below. To me, this is of critical importance. Our ancestors fought – literally bled and died – for centuries to gain these rights. It would be, in my estimation, shameful for our generation to give them all back.
Stay inspired, my friends!