"Hell is other people"

The Arena of Free Speech

Liberty and free speech should be the principle criteria. Let the left and right and everyone else fight it out, but the fight needs to be in an arena of free speech.

Congressman Ro Khanna has become my favorite Democrat. He is way too left on many of the current political issues by my lights, but he gets the fundamentals exactly right, because his guide is the US Constitution and the welfare of the American people. He is a thinker, a keen observer, and a passionate advocate for the American people and our fundamental rights.

Rep Khanna sat down for a conversation with Bari Weiss late last year. All quotes are from the publication, The Free Press.

Khanna has developed the concept of a “new economic patriotism”

New economic patriotism means we made a colossal mistake in America. We took away people’s ability to make a living. We watched the decimation of factory towns. We watched the decimation of rural America. We watched the decimation of industry in black and brown communities. And what did we do? We gave them trade adjustment assistance. We gave them a check for a couple of months from a government program. We told them to move, and we lost production in America. We used to make the world’s steel. We used to make aluminum, we used to make textiles, and we used to make paper. It all went to the south of the border to Mexico and to China. That really hurt the working class. It allowed the wealth to continue to pile up in places like Silicon Valley and New York, but hollowed out the heartland, and a lot of the South. That has left us divided as a country and weaker as a country.

A new economic patriotism says we have to bring those new factories back. We’ve got to bring the new production back. We need an economic renaissance in America of production. We can do that partly because of new technology, which gives us a productivity advantage in new manufacturing processes.

Free Speech, even when you disagree with it

On the importance of the Twitter Files:

Here’s why I think the “nothingburger” argument is compounding the problem. Let’s stipulate that 60% of the country may not care about the Twitter Files. But if 40% of the country thinks they don’t have a fair shake on a modern platform, don’t you think you should listen? 

It’s like you’re doubly censoring. You’re censoring in the first place. And then you’re censoring the emotion of being upset about being censored. I think until we start to have a conversation where we’re understanding where each other are coming from there’s no hope for stitching the country together.

Missed opportunities for conversation

On the media blackout on the Twitter Files story:

I think it’s a mistake. But I think there is this fear in the media to say, well, are we buying into a conservative story? Instead, the question should be: what is the role of free expression and free speech on a social media platform? You could actually have a very interesting conversation with someone like Elizabeth Warren, who is concerned about the concentration of economic power making these decisions, and someone concerned about Twitter censoring or shadow-banning conservative points of view. It’s a missed opportunity to have that conversation. A missed opportunity in terms of how much the digital world matters and understanding how big a story this is among a significant part of the American public. What we need in this country is to just start listening to other people while suspending judgment. We’ve somehow lost that ability.

If Congressman Khanna’s reasoning from first principles bores you, ask yourself this:

What could a President Ron DeSantis or other aggressive Republicans do with all that government power and panopticon apparatus?


Honestly Podcast: The Twitter Files and the Future of the Democratic Party With Silicon Valley’s Congressman


Rep. Khanna on Twitter, Free Speech, and the Hunter Biden Story

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