Ayn Rand-"Government by Intimidation"- Selected quotes

Jmaurone's picture
Submitted by Jmaurone on Tue, 2018-04-10 02:33

"No, the government would not establish any censorship; it would not need to." Ayn Rand, "Govenment by Intimidation"

There's been a lot of disturbing news, lately, regarding attempts in several countries to infringe on freedom of speech.

There's also a warning to be found in one of Ayn Rand's more obscure articles that needs to be given a closer look.

 In an article titled "Government by Intimidation" (reprinted in The Ayn Rand Column, while writing about anti-trust accusations against publishers, she makes a comment that applies, today. We all know that Rand made the argument that free speech doesn't oblige others to provide the platform, and that successful or large companies were not obliged to "level the playing field" for small or new competitors without the same resources. But here, while still making the point that large publishers were not obliged to not compete with small-town church bulletin or "The High School Bugle", she also noticed that attempts to break up large newspapers were an attempt to silence the opinions of the owners, to diminish their outreach:

"Doesn't this mean that the owner of a newspaper has no right to hold 'consistent' political convictions and that a newspaper is not entitled to a 'consistent' editorial policy? If the owner of one newspaper posses the right of free speech, does he lose it if he acquires two newspapers? Who determines what is 'slanted' and which political views are 'prejudice or idiosyncracies'? The government?"

According to current events, the governent is eager to do it.

"Here we see the essence of the antitrust doctrines...If it is right to sacrifice ability to imcompetence, or success to failure, or achievement to envy-then it is right to silence every man who has acquired a national audience and clear the field for those whose audience will never grown beyond the corner drugstore."

I submit that THAT is what the leftist social media platforms are trying to do, now, using government force. And that is what the goverment is trying to do, using the power of social media.

Rand, anticipating the arguments today: "Freedom of speech? 'Why, we don't deprive any man of his freedom of speech,' the trustbusters would chorus, 'provided he is not heard beyond the boundaries of his township or his city block.'"

That is what is happening, now, by attempting to shut out alternative voices from the big social media sites.

Ironically, the conclusion of Rand's article is nothing if not prescient regarding not the situation, but the ignorance of those Objectivists, who, in rushing to defend the rights of those rights-denying Leftists, while debunking claims of censorship, don't see or refuse to admit to the real danger:

"No, the government would not establish any censorship; it would not need to. The threat of antitrust prosecutions will be sufficient. We have seen what it did to the steel industry. Rule by hidden, unprovable intimidation relies on the victim's 'voluntary' self-enslavement. The result is worse than a censored press; it is a servile press."

 In seeming anticipation of the internet and social media, she continues to write the following:

 "Consider the signifance of a curious contradiction. On the one hand, the government hails the launching of Telstar as a means of uniting the whole world in a single network of global communication. On the other hand, the government proposes to distintegrate national communications into local atoms, forbidding any private individual to acquire the means of addressing the nation, and forbidding the separate atoms to know what the rest of the world is thinking.

" Do you grasp the possibilities?

"President Kennedy is to broadcast his news conferences via Telstar. Which one of us will obtain equal time on that global medium? And if we do not, how will we make ourselves heard? It is not by means of the 'High School Bugle' that one cant protect one's rights or compete with a monopoly of that kind.

"Gentleman of the press, if any, now is the time to speak up."

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