In 2019, we must restore America's culture of free speech

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As we ring in the new year, there's an important lesson to remember in 2019. We need to be on guard against possible future infringements on free speech rights, as politicians from both sides of the aisle have given us ample cause for concern.

2018 has proved particularly unsettling for the future of free speech. President Trump repeatedly admonished the free press and continues to denounce the media as the "enemy of the people." The president, a man who is often lauded by supporters for speaking his mind, has a long track record of opposition to free expression. Trump has proposed closing parts of the internet in order to stop terrorists from supposedly using it to spread propaganda and recruit people to their cause. He has also argued that NFL players should be suspended without pay for kneeling during the national anthem in protest. Trump has even suggested loosening libel laws in order to make it easier to sue critical news organizations for defamation.

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But the president isn't alone in his disregard for the First Amendment, as his detractors have also attempted to curb free expression. Discussing the recent Congressional hearing on Google, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA, told CNN:

"I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so. "

While Lieu admitted that over the long run it's better that the government doesn't regulate the content of speech, his candid comments peeled back the curtain to reveal a disdain for free expression.

He isn't alone. Newly-reinstated Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, has said she plans to tackle campaign finance laws. Part of her plan includes passing a bill which would allocate taxpayer money to match small dollar campaign donations in a six to one match. Another aspect of the plan would require tax-exempt charity groups to disclose the identity of donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle. David Harsanyi, a senior editor at the Federalist, wrote an op-ed in Reason criticizing the proposed project as a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

"I have zero interest in financially supporting any politician, much less ones I find morally unpalatable," Harsanyi wrote. "Yet Democrats want to force me—and every other American taxpayer—to contribute, as a matter of public policy, to the campaigns of candidates we disagree with."

As Harsanyi explains, money is a form of speech and Pelosi's project would compel taxpayers to fund political speech they don't necessarily support. Additionally, requiring certain donors to reveal their identities could also chill political speech, and would violate the right to speak anonymously, which the Supreme Court protected in NAACP v. Alabama.

So it's clear that scorn for the First Amendment is a rare area of bipartisan agreement. Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike have an interest in regulating speech. Recently, their attention has turned to social media, where concerns over political bias and "fake news" have led to several high-profile congressional hearings. Lawmakers could hold social media companies accountable for the content that appears on their platforms by amending Section 230.

Thankfully, at least one branch of the government has diligently defended the First Amendment. In 2018, the Supreme Court handed down several rulings that protected the right to free speech. The Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that mandatory union fees for public sector employees run afoul of the First Amendment because they force workers to fund political organizations they might disagree with. And in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the Court struck down a suppressive law prohibiting individuals from wearing political apparel near or in a polling place. Still, there's cause for concern.

Culture is the foundation of law. As the culture of free speech is chipped away, the foundation weakens and is left vulnerable to those wishing to restrict or regulate speech. Rep. Lieu is right that the First Amendment stops him from regulating speech, but if people don't care about free expression anymore—if the culture of free speech is corroded—then lawmakers from both parties will find a way to circumvent the law, and it will eventually crumble. In 2019, Americans should strive to restore our culture of free speech, before it's too late.

Lindsay Marchello is an associate editor with The Carolina Journal and a contributor with Young Voices. Follow her on Twitter at @LynnMarch007.

Acclaimed environmentalist and author of "Apocalypse Never" Michael Shellenberger joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to warn us about the true goals and effects of climate alarmism: It's become a "secular religion" that lowers standards of living in developed countries, holds developing countries back, and has environmental progress "exactly wrong."

Michael is a Time "Hero of the Environment," Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He has been called a "environmental guru," "climate guru," "North America's leading public intellectual on clean energy," and "high priest" of the environmental humanist movement for his writings and TED talks, which have been viewed more than 5 million times. But when Michael penned a stunning article in Forbes saying, "On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize for the Climate Scare", the article was pulled just a few hours later. (Read more here.)

On the show, Micheal talked about how environmental alarmism has overtaken scientific fact, leading to a number of unfortunate consequences. He said one of the problems is that rich nations are blocking poor nations from being able to industrialize. Instead, they are seeking to make poverty sustainable, rather than to make poverty history.

"As a cultural anthropologist, I've been traveling to poorer countries and interviewing small farmers for over 30 years. And, obviously there are a lot of causes why countries are poor, but there's no reason we should be helping them to stay poor," Michael said. "A few years ago, there was a movement to make poverty history ... [but] it got taken over by the climate alarmist movement, which has been focused on depriving poor countries, not just of fossil fuels they need to develop, but also the large hydroelectric dams."

He offered the example of the Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Congo has been denied the resources needed to build large hydroelectric dams, which are absolutely essential to pull people out of poverty. And one of the main groups preventing poor countries from the gaining financing they need to to build dams is based in Berkeley, California — a city that gets its electricity from hydroelectric dams.

"It's just unconscionable ... there are major groups, including the Sierra Club, that support efforts to deprive poor countries of energy. And, honestly, they've taken over the World Bank [which] used to fund the basics of development: roads, electricity, sewage systems, flood control, dams," Micheal said.

"Environmentalism, apocalyptic environmentalism in particular, has become the dominant religion of supposedly secular people in the West. So, you know, it's people at the United Nations. It's people that are in very powerful positions who are trying to impose 'nature's order' on societies," he continued. "And, of course, the problem is that nobody can figure out what nature is, and what it's not. That's not a particular good basis for organizing your economy."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Dr. Voddie Baucham, Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to explain why he agrees with Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to say the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

Baucham, who recently drew national attention when his sermon titled "Ethnic Gnosticism" resurfaced online, said the phrase has been trademarked by a dangerous, violent, Marxist movement that doesn't care about black lives except to use them as political pawns.

"We have to separate this movement from the issues," Baucham warned. "I know that [Black Lives Matter] is a phrase that is part of an organization. It is a trademark phrase. And it's a phrase designed to use black people.

"That phrase dehumanizes black people, because it makes them pawns in a game that has nothing whatsoever to do with black people and their dignity. And has everything to do with a divisive agenda that is bigger than black people. That's why I'm not going to use that phrase, because I love black people. I love being black."

Baucham warned that Black Lives Matter -- a radical Marxist movement -- is using black people and communities to push a dangerous and divisive narrative. He encouraged Americans to educate themselves on the organization's agenda and belief statement.

"This movement is dangerous. This movement is vicious. And this movement uses black people," he emphasized. "And so if I'm really concerned about issues in the black community -- and I am -- then I have to refuse, and I have to repudiate that organization. Because they stand against that for which I am advocating."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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We're going to be doing an amazing broadcast on Thursday, July 2nd, and we will be broadcasting a really important moment. It is restoring truth. It is restoring our history. It is asking to you make a covenant with God. The covenant that was made by the Pilgrims. And it's giving you a road map of things that we can do, to be able to come back home, together.

All of us.

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On last week's Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck revealed where the Black Lives Matter organization really gets its funding, and the dark money trail leading to a cast of familiar characters. Shortly after the program aired, one of BLM's fiscal sponsors, Thousand Currents, took down its board of directors page, which featured one of these shady characters:

Ex-Marxist professor and author of "Beyond Woke," Michael Rectenwald, joined Glenn Beck on the TV show to fill us in on the suspicious change he discovered on the Thousand Currents webpage and the Communist terrorists who is now helping run the organization. (Fortunately, the internet is forever, so it is still possible to view the board of directors page by looking at a web archive from the WayBack Machine.)

Rectenwald revealed the shocking life history of Thousand Currents' vice chair of the board, Susan Rosenberg, who spent 16 years in federal prison for her part in a series of increasingly violent acts of terrorism, including bombing the U.S. Capitol building, bombing an FBI building, and targeting police for assassination.

"Their whole campaign was one of unbelievably vicious, murderous cop killings, assassinations, and bombings," explained Rectenwald of Rosenberg's terror group known as the May 19th Communist Organization or M19.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


Glenn's full investigation into the dark origins of the funding behind Black Lives Matter is available for BlazeTV subscribers. Not a subscriber? Use promo code GLENN to get $10 off your BlazeTV subscription or start your 30-day free trial today.

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