The Free Speech Doctrine

Free Speech for All: A Pragmatic Policy to Save the World From Totalitarianism

First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution | Photo by Newseum

Free speech is essential to democracy.

As Ruth Bader’s Ginsburg said, “The right to speak my mind out, that’s America!” Her frenemy Anton Scalia agreed, “If you had to pick one freedom that is the most essential to the functioning of a democracy it has to be freedom of speech.”

We must protect each other’s right to call each other “fat, stupid, and lazy,” but globalization could strip us of this fundamental right because free speech threatened anywhere is threatened everywhere!

This is because corporations are competing with each other to make money. For example, if Apple can make their smartphones in China for 50% less money and then more importantly sell those smartphones to China’s massive consumer market without having to pay a tariff then what choice will Google have but to relocate there too in order to stay price competitive with Apple? This gives enormous power to the Chinese government. The Chinese Communist Party can then tell these big tech giants that if they want to continue to have access to their consumer workers then they need to play by their totalitarian rules.

Free speech lovers should find this graph horrifying…

IMF and World Bank Graph | Graph by Statista

Most sources however point to the U.S. as still having a larger economy, but no matter how we slice it, the U.S. and China are neck-in-neck…

Wikipedia List of countries by GDP screenshot

As China’s market grows in size its ability to pressure global corporations to relocate within their borders will also grow. Once these tech giants are within arms reach of the CCP then how much freedom will the rest of us have on these platforms? What influencers and stories will they ban for spreading Anti-Chinese conspiracy theories and “hate speech” while boosting content that puts China in the most positive light? The mechanisms are already in place to make this a reality.

To prevent this global dystopia the President of the United States should commit to what I call: The Free Speech Doctrine.

How it works is we’d categorize countries based on three tiers of free speech: free, restricted, suppressed. We could use the 2020 World Press Freedom Index as a guide…

2020 World Press Freedom Index

Countries in Tier 1 (yellow) would face a 0% tariff. Tier 2 (orange-red) would face a 5% tariff and Tier 3 (black) would face a 10% tariff. This free speech tariff would be in addition to existing tariffs. We would also work closely with other free speech countries to encourage them to also implement the Free Speech Doctrine so we can leverage our combined economies for maximum pressure!

Once it becomes more profitable to be free then these authoritarian states will be in a conundrum: watch their economy shrink or expand free speech rights. Some nations as evidenced by North Korea will double-down on their censorship as they’re slowly forced out of the global economy and some nations will expand free speech rights as evidenced by the Soviet Union when General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev implemented Glasnot (“openness”).

Why is free speech so effective against tyranny?

You see, tyrants and elitists believe “the masses” are too stupid to tell fact from fiction or reach correct conclusions after weighing all the evidence, which admittedly isn’t easy to do, so, therefore, they in all their wisdom take it upon themselves to suppress evidence and information that deem “false” and may lead us to the “wrong” conclusion. Even if these tyrants and elitists logic was well-supported because, after all, some populations are less educated and therefore more prone to conspiracy theories they’d now be in control of an information system where they hold all the keys. How long is it before suppressing information isn’t so much about guiding the herd to greener pastures and instead toward guiding them to the slaughterhouse, especially when the latter will make the shepherd more money? Always remember the proverb, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Democracy and free speech are messy. Evolution and innovation are messy. Just because they’re messy doesn’t mean they need to be cleaned up. It’s because of their messiness that humanity has progressed from the swamp to the stars.

Free speech permits people to complain. By complaining, we pressure those in power to fix it. Take any community, protect their speech, and over time the community will improve. We’ve seen this in our global community where as free speech has expanded so has the global economy via unprecedented rises in global wealth, longevity, and peace.

Suppressed speech rewards obedient citizens therefore slowing progress whereas free speech rewards smart, hard-working, problem-solving citizens therefore speeding progress! Each type of speech has its pros and cons, but what type of world would you rather live in?

Time is running out for us to decide. It was once thought that the internet would be the ultimate free speech spreader, but now it’s becoming the ultimate censorship and surveillance tool. There are billions of people living in low-tech authoritarian states where it’s just a matter of time before their government gets their hands on more advanced surveillance. Once their governments do then people in those countries who currently enjoy some semblance of freedom because the internet is still largely the Wild West and the West still dictates much of the global economic rules will over time lose their last breath of free speech as China takes greater control over our global economy.

China will slowly drain the world of its money and minds as it applies more economic pressure on the 1%. Pressure must be met with pressure because as their economic power grows so will their political power at which point we may all find ourselves being watched 24/7 by a little red dot in the room.