Posted by Curt on 3 February, 2020 at 12:07 pm. 2 comments already!


You’re not supposed to abuse power, or talk about how you plan to abuse power, before you even have it.

Someone needs to let Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in on this bit of wisdom — because as of late, these two have proudly put their unabashed authoritarianism on full display.

Warren recently unveiled a dystopian plan to “fight disinformation” that would essentially outlaw certain forms of free speech by adding criminal and civil penalties for anyone who spreads election-related “disinformation” online.

Set aside the irony that Warren doesn’t have the best track record here, having lied repeatedly about everything from how she would finance “Medicare for all” to her father being a janitor to children attended only public school.

But now Warren wants the government (at her discretion of course — she doesn’t stop to consider what, say, President Trump would do with this power) to become the final arbiter of truth in political speech. Her plan would “create civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating false information about when and how to vote in U.S. elections.”

On its face, this seems straightforward enough — the old joke about how the other party has to wait to vote until Wednesday would now become a criminal offense. (It’s not like you can just Google the election day.) And as Timothy P. Carney has pointed out, an ambitious executive or judge could construe Warren’s wording as barring certain legitimate political speech. Imagine an online advertisement or even a post by an individual encouraging people not to vote because neither candidate has their interests at heart. This is something many people of goodwill did in 2016. Were they criminals who belong in jail?

Warren has already repeatedly demonstrated a complete disregard for the First Amendment with various other unconstitutional proposals, such as a tax on lobbying and the weakening of the First Amendment in the name of overturning Citizens United. But she is not along in presenting authoritarian proposals on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. Sanders, not to be outdone by his pretended Native American competitor, has drafted a document containing a series of sweeping executive orders that he would use to kick-start a revolution, with or without Congress’s consent.

This list is Sanders’s answer to left-leaning skeptics who question the senator’s ability to actually implement his radical agenda in light of a Republican-controlled Senate and conservative-majority Supreme Court. It’s disturbing, if not surprising, that Sanders’s answer is simply that he would bulldoze around Congress with wide-ranging executive orders on climate change, marijuana legalization, border security, and more.

Democrats will probably never be persuaded by arguments about the Constitution or limitations of government. But perhaps they’ll reconsider heading down this authoritarian path if we remind them that their previous efforts to short-circuit our constitutional system have almost all backfired.

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