The Washington Post, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is famous for the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Prominent public figures on the left are in full meltdown mode over Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, because they know lies die when exposed by the truth.
This is why right-of-center Twitter users were happy to hear Musk pledge to make the platform a place where people can respectfully engage in public debate in the digital town square. Those debates used to be about tax rates and the minimum wage. Over the past few years, however, the stakes have been raised considerably. Now our public debates are about foundational issues of biology and identity.
The Babylon Bee, a Christian satire site, was suspended from Twitter for naming Dr. Rachel Levine “Man of the Year.” This came after Levine, a man who identifies as a woman, was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year in March. Levine was also described by the New York Times last October as the first “female” four-star admiral in the history of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Two of the most prominent media companies in the country openly advocate the lie that a person with XY chromosomes and male reproductive organs can be a female. The only way they are allowed to sell this lie is if people who know the truth are bullied, coerced, or forced to remain silent.
You can’t have a free society without the ability to speak freely. The suppression of ideas that run afoul of leftist dogma is only one leg on the three-legged stool of deceit. Another is the unwillingness to use clear terms and logic to defend one’s positions.
This is why most of the left’s most controversial policy priorities rely heavily on euphemisms and clichés. It would be difficult to defend second-trimester abortions if Democrats were forced to tell voters that a doctor must dismember a baby’s body – literally tearing it limb from limb – and crush his skull to remove him from his mother. It’s much easier to run on “protecting a woman’s right to choose” or advancing the cause of “reproductive justice.”
The same goes for using the term “gender-affirming care” to describe attempts to socially, medicinally, and surgically change a person’s sex. The public seems supportive because the media launders these ideas on behalf of the people bent on completely reshaping our society for ideological and political purposes.
Shining the light of truth on these issues typically leads to a loss of public support and a quick pivot away from approved talking points. In the case of the “defund the police” movement, the activists in the Democratic Party were completely refuted when President Biden boldly declared that we must “fund the police” three times during his most recent State of the Union address.
The final leg that props up approved lies is the unwillingness to debate controversial issues publicly. Sometimes this is expressed by people who believe speaking directly to certain people – or simply being at the same event – equals the endorsement of their ideas. Often it is the institutional decision to take one position on an issue and allow no dissenting voices.
The way corporate media outlets like ESPN cover Penn swimmer Lia Thomas and other transgender athletes is the most glaring example. The network spent years having discussions about Colin Kaepernick’s protest and using sports to bring attention to issues of race, policing, and social justice. There were no such debates or panel discussions when female athletes around the country started speaking up about the unfairness of having to compete against boys on the track or in the pool.
Free speech and public debate used to be hallmarks of classical liberalism. Now anyone to the political right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a hard time getting through speeches on college campuses without being subjected to the heckler’s veto.
Jeffrey Younger is a candidate for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives who wants to ban puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and “sex-change surgeries” for minors. Younger’s ex-wife believes their son is transgender and makes him go by the name “Luna” when the child is in her care. Younger lost custody of his son but must grant his permission before his son can receive puberty blockers or undergo genital surgery.
Younger wanted to discuss these issues with students at the University of North Texas. They preferred to chant “f*cking fascist” through surgical masks. That behavior is not unusual on college campuses today, where the “mental health and safety” of students has become a higher priority than the free exchange of ideas.
Conservatives may not realize it, but this uneven playing field is a long-term strategic advantage. The average people on the right have had to examine their underlying worldview assumptions, define their terms, and work out their arguments in an environment that is often very hostile.
Liberals don’t have to think very deeply about their ideas because they tend to stay in ideological bubbles where probing questions are not allowed. Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is an existential crisis for people who have become accustomed to asserting opinions as facts to an audience with the same beliefs.
The people who are afraid of having their ideas challenged feel that way for a reason. They may still play word games and avoid debates, but they can no longer depend on Twitter executives and algorithms to silence their opposition. The Bible instructs Christians to expose the “fruitless deeds of darkness” and “destroy arguments” and opinions raised against the knowledge of God. It’s hard to be faithful to those duties when factual statements are labeled “disinformation” or described as hateful. This is why truth must live in the light.