Summary List Placement
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is one of the brightest rising stars of the GOP.
He’s a Trumpist culture warrior who doesn’t terrify the old-school conservative establishment.
He’s got high approval ratings among Florida Republicans and independents after COVID cases dropped despite his refusal to order lengthy lockdowns. Some observers are saying he “won” the pandemic, politically.
And a botched hit piece from “60 Minutes” was a gift, supplying him with all the “fake news” ammunition he’ll ever need to convince his supporters that any negative DeSantis stories originating in the national mainstream press should be ignored.
DeSantis has clout. Lots of it. And he’s using it to push several Republican-authored bills designed, he says, to protect free speech and rein in the censorious scourges of Big Tech, out-of-control rioters, and woke academics.
But contrary to his contrived pose as a free speech defender, the governor and his party are in reality expanding governmental authority over political speech, free association, and the free market.
To put it another way, the possible heir to Trump’s MAGA throne is using big government censorship on liberals and heavy regulation on businesses to supposedly “protect” conservatives’ freedoms.
Using censorship and big government to defend free speech
When it comes to feeding red meat to the MAGA rabble, DeSantis serves the choicest cuts.
The right fears that social media companies kicking users who violate their terms of service off their platforms means “Big Tech is the new Big Brother,” trying to systematically silence conservative viewpoints.
DeSantis and Florida Republicans responded with the Transparency in Technology Act, a proposed law that would severely punish social media companies if they deplatform political candidates.
That means Twitter would have to re-platform Donald Trump if he were to run for office again or face massive fines and government-initiated lawsuits.
This conveniently ignores that conservative voices are some of the loudest and widely-shared on social media, and also flies in the face of the right’s “find another baker” ethos that private companies shouldn’t be forced to betray their own principles — or if you will, their terms of service.
After the riots and unrest marred the protest movement against racism and police brutality last summer, Republicans have warned their constituents that only sweeping new laws will prevent their hometown from becoming overrun by violent mobs.
Now DeSantis is poised to sign an “anti-rioting” bill which would increase penalties for the already-illegal act of rioting. But it also broadly redefines “rioting,” criminalizes much legitimate civil disobedience, and provides legal immunities for people who run protestors over with their cars.
Naturally, the bill grants the government and law enforcement a host of new sweeping powers that have nothing to do with rioting.
For example, protesters blocking roadways are considered part of an “unlawful assembly.” This bill mandates that such demonstrators be held in custody until they can be seen by a judge. That could theoretically take days, or even weeks.
And bills like these …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics
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