There are two potential antidotes to misinformation or disinformation: criminalization of speech or competitive speech.
We have officially adopted criminalization of speech, and have now broadened that concept to include criminalization of thought. This is not just a manifestation here in the States; we see it happening in Europe too.
Where China and the former Soviet Union had embraced such practices (with horrific consequences), we have now begun the inexorable march towards parity.
I have been very hesitant to comment about the Trump indictments for a couple of reasons… first and foremost, I was not sure I completely understood them.
The grand jury indictments relating to the documents at Mar-a-Lago seemed to have some merit, albeit the move to actually indict seemed… well… odd. The gravamen of the “crime” seemed tangential at best, political persecution at worst. While I am fundamentally distrustful of centralized power, the idea that the Department of Justice would morph into a political enforcement division seemed beyond the pale. There simply had to be more “there” that I was not seeing. The lawyers at DOJ are, by definition, educated people and surely they understood the implications of a weaponized DOJ?
The New York indictments I frankly dismissed. Alvin Bragg is a political reptile, and the timing, as well as the standards of the indictment, were so flimsy I basically ignored them. The fact he is a New York State prosecutor attempting to shoehorn in on a federal claim made the whole travesty that much more farcical. Yes… they were troubling… not that the claims have been made, but that they were made in the first place. Bragg could be, and should be, subject to the voters of New York removing him and replacing him with a more serious prosecutor.
Then there were the last four brought forth a couple of weeks ago.
These are the ones that have shaken my faith.
President Trump has now been formally indicted for promulgating an idea, and communicating that idea to his constituents.
The First Amendment has as its core purpose the protection of political speech. What Trump has been indicted on is the communication of political speech.
The AUSA has claimed, or at the very least implied, that political speech is in fact not protected unless the party uttering the line actually believes the line.
As the great George Costanza said to Jerry Seinfeld, “Jerry, it is not a lie if you believe it.”
So… apparently the acid test now is the belief of the individual?
This road gets remarkably dangerous.
This is where the term “Thought Police” comes into the fold.
In England a retired service member was arrested for standing in the general proximity of an abortion clinic and bowing his head in prayer. He has, in fact, admitted he was praying, but he could have also been just standing there looking at his shoes or trying to relieve the pressure of a migraine. There were no outward signs he was doing anything, other than simply standing in one place and looking down with his eyes closed. The police arrested him. His case is ultimately going to turn on what he was actually thinking in his head. Thoughts evidently have a criminal context.
Jack Smith has stated in his indictment that Trump knew, or should have known, he lost the election… after all… others advised him that he did.
What if he didn’t believe them?
Does this negate his criminal intent? Does a reasonableness standard now exist when it comes to third-party advisors?
The whole thing is absolute garbage.
If Trump wanted to stand behind the podium and bloviate about a “stolen election”, the proper remedy is argument with empirical evidence to support that argument.
But when a regime is inherently insecure, when it realizes its power is totally dependent on the population buying off on a contrived social construct, then contrarian viewpoints take on an existential threat.
This is why the Soviets were so utterly terrified of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. These are the people that publicly proclaim the “Emperor has no clothes”.
If the Emperor in fact is naked, then this proclamation might bring down the entire empire.
So… the easy way, the most “efficient” way… is to simply imprison, exile, or eliminate the proclaimed.
Who knows what “evil” lurks in the minds of men? Well… we have been told “The Shadow” does… what we didn’t realize was The Shadow has the force of the State behind him and will use the threat of force to compel “correct” thought… or at the very least…”correct” speech.