Revelations that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created “disinformation” groups at Stanford University and the University of Washington to censor political speech leading up to the 2020 election should outrage and alarm every American. Free exchange of ideas is the lifeblood of a democracy and the unholy alliance between the government and higher education institutions must be fully exposed and broken up to preserve our Constitutional Republic.
Under this partnership, higher education institutions acted as conduits between the government and Big Tech to remove speech that government officials found unacceptable to achieve their political ends. Researchers would review ‘misinformation’ reports submitted by federal officials, compile lists of offending posts, and then submit them to social media companies with specific recommendations. These recommendations reduced the post’s discoverability and led to shadow bans and even suspension of accounts. Approximately 35 percent of the content they flagged was removed from social media platforms.
The effort targeted those who held opinions that went contrary to prevailing narratives, especially regarding corruption allegations against Biden, the integrity of the 2020 election, and COVID mask and vaccine policies. Countless Americans were censored, silenced, and shadow-banned during the 2020 election cycle. It was part of a concerted effort to exert control over our behavior and dictate what We the People are allowed to say, see, and hear. And it worked.
The House Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the Twitter Files have exposed the far-reaching impact of the Election Integrity Partnership between the government, Stanford, and the University of Washington. The 2020 election could have been much different if factual information wasn’t covered up. Just consider how one in six Biden voters surveyed stated that they would not have voted or changed their vote if they had known about the Hunter Biden laptop scandal and the Joe Biden corruption allegations.
Given the ‘success’ of this project, the Biden administration expanded the government-higher education alliance in June 2021 through the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. Since then, a plethora of new partnerships between the government and higher education have emerged to shape our perceptions and opinions. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $5 million taxpayer dollars to the University of Wisconsin to develop a system that can detect and “strategically correct” what the government perceives as misinformation. This is in addition to $7.5 million awarded to ten other universities to work on similar censorship-type programs, and $40 million awarded to 15 higher education institutions under the “Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant.”
All of these programs reflect the ever-expanding authority of the federal government and are part of a broader effort to exert control over our thoughts and opinions. This goes against the fabric of our Constitution, and our universities should not be working to advance dehumanizing social control tools and tactics at the behest of the government.
While the Biden administration asserts the National Strategy aims to prevent domestic terrorism, it is a clear attempt to control behavior. Under the strategy, even the slightest criticism of the government and its policies can be labeled anti-government and/or anti-authority sentiment. Anti-government and anti-authority sentiment are never defined, allowing a wide net to be cast. This limitless power has resulted in various groups being targeted, including parents at school board meetings, traditional Catholics, and Trump supporters.
The heart of the American experiment lies in the freedom to speak openly and criticize the government without fear of retribution. When we are no longer free to exercise our liberties, tyranny is inevitable – and this is the greatest threat to democracy.
The good news is that we’re not powerless. We can and must take steps to curtail this insidious alliance. First, any institution that assists the government should not be allowed to evade accountability, including higher education. Those affected by the censorship efforts of the Stanford “disinformation” group should pursue lawsuits against the institution. By holding higher education institutions accountable, they will be less willing to aid the government in turning Orwell’s 1984 into a reality.
We also need to hold government officials accountable. Any bureaucrat who knowingly and willfully aims to deny our constitutional rights should be fired and prosecuted. Under Title 18 U.S.C. § 242 — Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law — prohibits the willful deprivation of rights while acting under the pretense of law. Also, Title 18 U.S.C. § 241 — Conspiracy Against Rights —makes it illegal to violate constitutional rights through force, intimidation, or threats.
The alliance between ideological zealots within government and academia must be dismantled. We must defend our God-given liberties and the principles that define our nation. Our Constitutional Republic is at stake, and the time for action is now.