If you think that the Democrats with their new-fangled McCarthyite tactics are threatening free speech now (well, they’ll never admit it, of course) only because of their malignant and hopefully temporary obsession with Trump (superficially plausible considering how odious and unprincipled Trump usually is) you’d be dead wrong. The suppression of free speech in the US and the rest of the “capitalist democracies” (a glorious oxymoron) is a systemic bipartisan plot that long precedes Trump, the result of the establishment’s realisation —brought to a boil with the upset election of Trump—that they are losing control of the main narrative. The truth is getting through, so to speak— and the holes must be plugged.

As could be expected given the low lights running Facebook and similar social media platforms, and the strong convergence of class interest (they’re all billionaires), Zuckerbeg, acting properly contrite, duly proffered his mea culpas before the Congressional inquisitors, while his executive hacks promptly set to work enacting a new set of guidelines, clearly the down payment on a garroting process of the first amendment almost certain to become tighter as time goes by.

Fake News and a supposed Russian menace are the excuses du jour, but the former is a wilfull missaplication of the lens when judging public speech, and the latter a total fabrication. What gives the claim of “protection from fake news” a very thin veneer of credibility is the old and well-known fact that the Internet—and certainly Facebook, with its 1.9 billion users—is virtually crawling with examples of inarticulate opinion, not to mention a fair dose at any time of plain nuttiness. This, however, is to be expected, and cannot be transmogrified into a fake news threat, except by some intentional act of bad faith aiming to deceive the politicaly gullible. “Inarticulate opinion” is almost the birthright of most Americans, a nation that prides itself on an allergy to intellectualism, and whose inhabitants have long grown accustomed to a regime of deliberately created confusion. In this crowd, the idea that opinion and facts do not have equal validity has not entered very far, and the prospects of this happening any time soon continue to look dim. Yet the First Amendment makes no exclusionary provision for the disinformed or willfully obtuse. As for the nutjobs that do legitimately exist and who also clog the Internet’s arteries with their rantings, same applies. Their incoherence is also protected, as if it were some religious concept over which no governmental argument is allowed. But I repeat, both of these forms of dubious thinking are not “fake news”, which, in fact, occurs in a relatively small percentage of cases, usually in transparent ways intended (and often failing) to provoke laughter.

As stated earlier, the real problem—an old problem—lies elsewhere, with the gargantuan echo chamber dedicated to lies 24/7 that is the mainstream media and supporting institutions. It is this system that must be kept safe from further erosion in legitimacy, and eventual dismantlement by that pesky little thing some people still quaintly call, “just the facts.”

In the short term, the Big Lie rules. But in the middle and long term, all truth favors the left, because objective truth aligns with reality, and reality cannot be denied forever. What scares the ruling class is that they fully realise that in an ambit of great social injustice reality is inherently subversive.