In the 1970s, my constitutional law professor, Gerald Gunther, was invited by the West German government to visit that country and to lecture on the American Constitution. Gunther and his family had fled Germany in the 1930s.
When he returned home to California, Gunther commended the Germans as hosts and for what they were accomplishing as a society. However, he added that they still didn’t quite understand the importance of free speech.
These days, though, they understand it better than corporate America does — admittedly a low bar. CNBC reports:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel blasted Twitter’s decision to ban U.S. President Donald Trump.
“The right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin on Monday, according to Reuters.
“Given that, the chancellor considers it problematic that the president’s accounts have been permanently suspended.”
Seibert said that, while Twitter was right to flag Trump’s inaccurate tweets about the election, banning his account altogether was a step too far.
Nor is Merkel the only European standing up for America’s freedoms. Jazz Shaw notes that both UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock and EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton made similar comments.
I hope that one of two things will happen. Either the barons of social media will relent — of their own accord or due to pressure — or else conservatives, including Trumpian ones, will find other ways to disseminate their opinions widely on something like an equal basis with other viewpoints.
But if neither happens, a third thing might — a genuine insurrection, as opposed to the less drastic event that occurred at the Capitol last week.