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Free speech is under attack all over!

From nutty defamation verdicts to federal warnings about "misinformation," from French efforts to criminalize vaccine criticism to Germany's political crackdown, democracies no longer want debate.

In 1941, as the United States neared war with Germany and Japan, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt listed the “Four Freedoms” vital to life - and offered “freedom of speech” as the first freedom, even before “freedom of fear.”

Roosevelt’s stirring words were part of a centuries-long American tradition of protecting free speech - a tradition the United States spread globally. Free speech became a core value, a way for democracies to set themselves apart from dictatorships.

No more.

Democratic societies suddenly seem to have forgotten the value of speech and debate. Elites inside and outside government lash out against “misinformation” — a word they can rarely if ever define — and demand measures against it. Most stunningly, the media itself now regularly demands that speech be suppressed.

The reasons why are complex, but the heart of the crisis seems to be that the elite institutions have lost confidence in their ability not just to win arguments but to set the underlying rules for them.


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