Trump continues to vow an overhaul of America’s libel laws… in an obvious effort to silence those who disagree with him. His distrust of the current standards indicate a deeply flawed understanding of true free speech. Combine this with his disdain for a free press, and dangers not seen since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 begin to emerge.
Jefferson warned his people of these dangers… “that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that the general government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes and punish it themselves whether enumerated or not enumerated by the constitution as cognizable by them: that they may transfer its cognizance to the President, or any other person, who may himself be the accuser, counsel, judge and jury, whose suspicions may be the evidence, his order the sentence, his officer the executioner, and his breast the sole record of the transaction…”
Trump and his corrupt administration would determine what speech is libelous… Truth would become subjective rhetoric rather than objective fact. Discourse would be stifled and the country force fed Trump’s propaganda.
Jefferson wanted more for his people and expected more of his government…. “…and will furnish new calumnies against republican government, and new pretexts for those who wish it to be believed that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron: that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism”