“The Good Sense of the People”

On this Independence Day, we celebrate America—248 years old today and counting—the most important living experiment in individual liberty and self-governance in human history. For all our mistakes along the way, and the never-ending encroachments on our liberties by politicians, bureaucrats, and all manner of wannabe dictators, the very word—America—still invokes the beautiful idea that you and I are free to live our lives as we see fit, as long as we don’t hurt people or take their stuff.

The core of self-governance is free speech, a free press, and our freedom to openly debate the things that government does for us, or, perhaps more accurately, to us. It’s enshrined *first* in the First Amendment for a reason. Our voice, our independent pursuit of truth, and our freedom to dissent against the government’s official narrative are fundamental to self-governance and our pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson had plenty to say on this subject, but writing in 1787, he is succinct and prescient:

“I am persuaded that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors, and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty.”

The freedom to think for yourself, and to speak out against tyranny is fundamental to the American project. Which is why the government-created and controlled Censorship Industrial Complex that kicked into full throttle during the pandemic is such a fundamental threat. White House officials and their Agencies actively bullied social media companies into censoring anyone (at a shockingly granular level) who dared to question government policies. We now know that the dissidents who were censored got it right all along, and that the suppression of their speech was designed to cover up more than just the failures of government lockdowns.

One of those voices purposely singled out and censored by the Biden Administration (most notably by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci) was Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford epidemiologist and vocal critic of the government’s response to Covid. As you probably know, Jay’s heroic battle against the Censorship Industrial Complex resulted in him serving as a plaintiff in an important First Amendment court case, Murthy v. Missouri. The far-reaching implications of what government censors did to Jay are also the subject of the first episode of Free the People’s new docuseries, The Coverup, now streaming on BlazeTV. Here is a clip from The Coverup that details the extent to which free speech and the First Amendment were trampled on during Covid, and the mysterious web of government-funded censorship centers at leading American universities that aided and abetted the government’s ambitions.

The good news is that the Orwellian-sounding Stanford Internet Observatory that targeted Jay has been shut down for good. As for Murthy v. Missouri, only three Supreme Court Justices—Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—stood with Jay and your constitutional right to free speech. Justice Alito, writing the dissent, was blunt about the failures of the majority, led by Amy Coney Barrett: “For months, high-ranking Government officials placed unrelenting pressure on Facebook to suppress Americans’ free speech. Because the Court unjustifiably refuses to address this serious threat to the First Amendment, I respectfully dissent.”

A disappointment? To say the very least. A setback? Certainly. But the battle is never over. The Man himself, George Washington, told us as much in his Farewell Address, arguing that while he did the best he could, the rest is on us: “The sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, of the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

So this Independence Day I must remain optimistic, inspired to fight for the ongoing success of our experiment in self-governance, ever confident, not in the wisdom of our government overlords, but in “the good sense of the people.”

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Matt Kibbe

Matt Kibbe is President at Free the People, an educational foundation using video storytelling to turn on the next generation to the values of personal liberty and peaceful cooperation. He is also co-founder and partner at Fight the Power Productions, a video and strategic communications company. Kibbe is the host of BlazeTV’s Kibbe on Liberty, a popular podcast that insists that you think for yourself.

Dubbed “the scribe” by the New York Daily News, Kibbe is the author three books, most recently the #2 New York Times bestseller Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto.

He was senior advisor for a Rand Paul Presidential Super PAC in 2016, and later co-founded AlternativePAC to promote libertarian values.

In 2004 Kibbe founded FreedomWorks, a national grassroots advocacy organization, and served as President until his departure in 2015. Steve Forbes said: “Kibbe has been to FreedomWorks what Steve Jobs was to Apple.”

An economist by training, Kibbe did graduate work at George Mason University and received his B.A. from Grove City College. He serves at the whim of his awesome wife Terry, and their three objectivist cats, Roark, Ragnar and Rearden. Kibbe is a fanatical DeadHead, drinker of craft beer and whisky, and collector of obscure books on Austrian economics.

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