You may have noticed in history, or even in the news today, that totalitarians really dislike freedom of speech and make it a top priority to attack and ban it. Take the Nazis, for example – and we’re talking about the real literally literal Nazis that once ruled Germany and started World War II, not whomever Antifa and company dislike today.
From the United States Holocaust Museum:
The Nazi Propaganda Ministry, directed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, took control of all forms of communication in Germany: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings, and rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Viewpoints in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime were censored or eliminated from all media.
And they did not waste much time about it. Hitler became Chancellor on January 30th, 1933. The Nazis celebrated the first Springtime for Hitler with some festive bonfires:
During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, and librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. Then, on the night of May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany. They marched by torchlight in nighttime parades, sang chants, and threw books into huge bonfires. On that night more than 25,000 books were burned. Some were works of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Most of the books were by non-Jewish writers, including such famous Americans as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, and Upton Sinclair.
They even burned books by Helen Keller.
But the Nazis did not wait to come to power before they attacked free expression. On December 5th, 1930, Goebbels led a gang of Nazis in disrupting the movie premier of “All Quiet on the Western Front.”
Nazi protestors threw smoke bombs and sneezing powder to halt the film. Members of the audience who protest the disruption are beaten. The novel had always been unpopular with the Nazis, who believed that its depiction of the cruelty and absurdity of war was “un-German.” Ultimately, the film will be banned.
That and other attacks were precursors of a lot getting banned – and worse.
I could say more and not just about the Nazis. Numerous Communist regimes have been brutal in attacking free speech, often more so than the Nazis. Try exercising free speech under Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot or in North Korea. Under whatever banners they take power, totalitarians demand control of speech and expression. And they have often revealed their intent by attacking free speech even before they take power.
But I don’t want to spend much time on this subject as it is mainly of historic interest. For such brazen attacks on free speech could never happen in America today thanks to our freedom loving public servants and benevolent corporate overlords.
Be sure to thank and praise them today!