Brownstone » Brownstone Journal » I Am a Tree and We Need to Ban Leaves

I Am a Tree and We Need to Ban Leaves


Most mainstream news sources have strongly condemned the judge’s decision in Missouri v. Biden to stop federal agencies from muscling social media companies into censoring their users.

In that same spirit, I am a tree and even though I am a tree with deep roots in the community and a long tradition of being a tree I believe that leaves should be banned. While they may provide me with essential nourishment, I know they fall eventually and they make a mess that someone has to clean up.

And the arborist has promised me she will feed me special tree food every day so I will now flourish without being a burden upon others, especially my owner who will no longer have to rake up my mess.

I am a boat and even though I’m purpose-built to travel the ocean blue I believe that water should be banned. When I’m on the water, I disturb the fish and sometimes it’s rough and that makes my owner uncomfortable.

And I’ve been promised that I can stay proudly in the side yard year-round – that way the neighbors will know my owner has enough money to own a nice boat but is also a good enough person not to make waves with it.

I am a fire and even though my very existence depends upon it I believe wood should be banned. While I have been the cornerstone of civilization for eons, when I’m lit sometimes people cough and sneeze and I do not want to make anyone uncomfortable ever.

And I’ve been promised that no one will ever put enough water on me to douse me completely and forever.

I am a reporter – no, make that a journalist – and even though it is the very core of my profession I believe free speech should be banned.

And I’ve been promised by the people who own me and the government that tells me stuff that they will never lie to me, that they will never have me write anything untoward, that they will support me if attacked by purveyors of the wrong sort of information, and that – as long as I keep doing that – I will probably be able to keep my job and maybe, just maybe, if I’m really good at it, I’ll get to become one of them.

Each of those scenarios are equally ludicrous, but we are in the midst of only one – literally.

The July 4 injunction ruling by Judge Terry Doughty in the Missouri, v Biden, was good for a number of reasons.

First, it acknowledged the very very likely truth (injunctions like Doughty’s are only handed down when a preponderance of the extant evidence shows the likelihood of further damage caused by a defendant in a matter) that the Biden administration and dozens of federal agencies, offices, departments, and personnel intentionally censored the public’s basic right to freedom of speech, either directly or through third-party groups like university and “disinformation” organizations. The Constitution says you can’t do either.

Second, it prompted a government response that would be absurd if it were not based on such anti-Constitutional notions of government powers. One of the true ironies of the government request – see here – to stay the injunction is that since the government and public interest are “merged” in this case it is actually in the public interest to lift the injunction even though the case is about violating the public’s right to free speech.

That and the injunction will damage democracy as we know it AND OWN IT and lessen national security because Joe Biden’s foul-mouthed press team and the lurkers in the bowels of the Deep State will not be able to tell you what to think or be able to keep you from telling other people what you think.

Governments have always shaded the truth, used misdirection, implied improper motivation, cherry-picked facts, and in general tried to strong-arm (or bribe or honey pot or wheedle or threaten or promise) the press – and thereby the public – for its own benefit.

But conduct this blatant, illegal, terrifying, dangerous, disgusting, and oppressive is exactly anathema to the basic idea of the United States and – when tried in the past (Alien and Sedition Acts, Palmer Raids, Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar, the CIA, etc.) – it has been met (or at least shortly thereafter) with widespread public condemnation.

And that condemnation has been led by the press, acting historically as the pushback to the pull you see of the government, society elites, bad actors, and lies. 

And that is the third good/sad aspect of the ruling – it has unflinchingly and unquestionably and finally indisputably shown the extent of the rot at the heart of today’s media.

From CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly:

“The Biden administration would regularly reach out to Twitter and Facebook and other companies in kind of the early stages of their COVID response and say, this person is spreading lies about vaccines, this account is spreading misinformation that is inhibiting — not just our efforts, the administration’s efforts to address COVID — but also public health, do something about it. And often, I think more often than not, the companies would respond and say, okay. And there are emails that came out during the course of this case that that was something that I think — when it was explained to me at the time, I thought, alright, that makes sense, that’s probably what we should do on public health grounds.”

From the New York Times: The ruling could curtail efforts to combat disinformation.”

Via Salon magazine: 

“A federal judge telling willing parties they can’t chat as a constitutional problem is mind-boggling stupid and an abuse of power,” tweeted Georgia State Law Prof. Anthony Michael Kreis.

Sherrilyn Ifill, a civil rights attorney and former head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said it was “deranged & dangerous” to label efforts to ask tech executives to act responsibly and publicly urging the need to end tech immunity as “censorship.”

“The evidence cited by the judge doesn’t add up to govt censorship. Unless the govt is muzzled from calling out disinformation or reaching out to corporate leaders during a global emergency to ask for care & caution. But it’s a nice set up for 2024 for Republicans,” she tweeted.

“This is a truly astonishing ruling that will compromise the health, safety, and yes, liberty of some so others can spread false, harmful information in the name of free speech,” wrote MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.

In other words, how dare you think censorship exists and even if it did it would be a really good idea to help protect people but it doesn’t exist so you have to keep letting us do it.

And it doesn’t matter if anything is true or not, right or not – just that only we are allowed to say it and deem it true for as long as it needs to be deemed true.

Those few examples are just the latest in a string of deplorable statements from members of the press regarding freedom of the press made over the past few years. From eschewing “both sides-ism” to fact-checking facts by asking the people who made the claims in the first place if they are facts and reporting that they are because they are government experts and they said so to only quoting experts that you know ahead of time that they will say exactly what you want them to say to literally marrying into the public relations establishment, the press has for years been heading down this path of sloppy seconds servitude.

In the recent past, much of the press has at least tried to somehow shoehorn in an element of possible truth – or at least make things matters of opinion so anything could be true – to their culturally caustic efforts. In this case, they’re not even trying because it is impossible: the thousands of pages of depositions, emails, phone logs, and other records show exactly what happened, when it happened, and why it happened.

Still they maintain it never happened.

It is not known if the media understands that they are gleefully burning the ladder on which they are standing, that they are joyfully destroying not only themselves but the nation, that they are trees who hate leaves, fires who hate wood, and boats who never make waves.

But at least now everyone else knows.

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  • Thomas Buckley

    Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. a Senior Fellow at the California Policy Center, and a former newspaper reporter.  He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at his Substack page.

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