Free speech is dying under the Obama administration

( One of Americans’ most sacred constitutional protections – the right to say virtually anything we want – is withering away during the reign of Barack Obama, aided by a number of factors that have largely been manufactured out of whole cloth by the politically correct movement and via federal statutes.

That’s the conclusion of one of the Federal Communications Commission members, Ajit Pai, who told the Washington Examiner this week that the American traditions of free speech, expression and respectful discourse are slipping away, as evidenced by the environment on many college campuses and the actions of Twitter.

“I think that poses a special danger to a country that cherishes First Amendment speech, freedom of expression, even freedom of association,” he said. “I think it’s dangerous, frankly, that we don’t see more often people espousing the First Amendment view that we should have a robust marketplace of ideas where everybody should be willing and able to participate.”

“Largely what we’re seeing, especially on college campuses, is that if my view is in the majority and I don’t agree with your view, then I have the right to shout you down, disrupt your events, or otherwise suppress your ability to get your voice heard,” Pai continued.

“Private actors like Twitter have the freedom to operate their platform as they see fit,” he said, “[but] I would hope that everybody embraces the idea of the marketplace of ideas. The proverbial street corner of the 21st century, where people can gather to debate issues is increasingly social media, which serves as a platform for public discourse.”

Just last week Twitter announced last week it was setting up a “Trust and Safety” panel specifically to police speech, which is sure to make it a non-platform for a number of users who refuse to have their speech censored by the PC police.

As for Pai, he said that if voters and American institutions refuse to defend speech within their own zones of influence then it will eventually to more government regulations curtailing such freedoms.

“The text of the First Amendment is enshrined in our Constitution, but there are certain cultural values that undergird the amendment that are critical for its protections to have actual meaning,” Pai told the Washington Examiner. “If that culture starts to wither away, then so too will the freedom that it supports.”

Appointed to the FCC in 2012, Pai has been a stalwart advocate for less regulation of speech, despite the panel’s efforts to impose more. Last year the commission ruled that the First Amendment did not apply to Internet service providers, leaving open the possibility that political speech could be regulated in the future on Web sites like The Drudge Report and, of course, this one as well.

“It is conceivable to me to see the government saying, ‘We think the Drudge Report is having a disproportionate effect on our political discourse,” Pai said shortly after the ruling. “The FCC doesn’t have the ability to regulate anything he says, and we want to start tamping down on websites like that.”

“Is it unthinkable that some government agency would say the marketplace of ideas is too fraught with dissonance? That everything from the Drudge Report to Fox News … is playing unfairly in the online political speech sandbox? I don’t think so,” he added.

Speech is being severely limited on American college campuses, once bastions of dissent and free speech. We noted in October that “in 2015, college campuses have largely been transformed into zones of intolerance, where speech and expression is tightly regulated by Left-wing academics who push propaganda and progressive indoctrination upon impressionable young minds.”

Worse a recent survey demonstrated how successful they have been. As noted in the November issue of New Criterion and featured in The Wall Street Journal, more than half of students – 51 percent – favor some kind of speech code on campus, compared to just 36 percent who said there should be no limits on speech.

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