Silenced: Our War on Free Speech is a documentary movie, produced by Mike Cernovich (author of Gorilla Mindset and MAGA Mindset) and directed by Loren Feldman. It came to fruition because of a successful Kickstarter campaign (DISCLOSURE: I backed the Silenced movie and received a copy as a result).
The film is centered around one question: “What does free speech mean to you?”
To find out, you can rent or buy Silenced here.
Silenced begins with a powerful juxtaposition of Edward R. Murrow’s “No Fear” speech against numerous headlines detailing firings over social media posts. From there, several people tell what free speech means to them. The rest of the film is organized into multiple categories, including law, broadcasting, college, and “speech,” which is the final catch-all category for the remaining speakers (including Candace Owens, who got embroiled in GamerGate drama, and Demond Handy aka Uncle Hotep). That particular category seems like an afterthought, wedged in at the very end.
As you noticed from the categories, the speakers come from different walks of life. Additionally, the cast is very diverse (politically, racially, religiously, and otherwise). Some are optimistic on the direction of free speech.
Key Themes of Silenced
A documentary is worthless if you learn nothing from it. In Silenced, you will learn some new ways to approach the issue of free speech.
Over the course of Silenced, a few major themes begin to develop:
- Silencing dissent and refusal to challenge orthodoxy have major consequences.
- Free speech can be answered with free speech. Own your words and actions.
- Certain people/groups are specifically targeted.
- Different types of censorship and how they work.
- “We have it, so we use it,” or “We’re in America, we can say/write/draw whatever we want.”
- Gatekeepers, and the fragility that comes with relying on them.
Silenced Highlights and Notes
Feldman created a strong contrast in the ‘law’ section, going back and forth repeatedly from Jewish attorney Alan Dershowitz and white supremacist Andrew Auernheimer (aka Weev). These two men resonated more with me than anyone else in the film. Dershowitz’s insights alone are worth the cost of admission. Auernheimer notes that as long as America upholds free expression, European civilization will survive, and that free speech will never be more than an internet connection away, wherever you are.
Many in the scientific community fear going against the grain. Look at what happened to Galileo and Darwin. Dr. Michael Goldberg has challenged the status quo on autism and said he has gotten great results with his patients, as a result.
After losing out on major potential income, Scott Adams has a more pessimistic view of the current politi-cultural climate: “If you’re an average citizen, keep your head down.”
The ‘college’ section is the most negative. Seventy-eight year old writer David Horowitz discusses needing a bodyguard when he visits campuses. He laments that many of these students will be the leaders of the future. Dershowitz shares much of his sentiment. Milo Yiannopoulos, editor at Breitbart, has a more hopeful outlook. He believes conservative students are discovering the joy of dissent against the left-wing establishment. In light of recent events, they (left-wing) are not handling it very well.
“I’m offended right and fucking left. I’m just not a little bitch about it.” – Paul Provenza, comedian
Provenza believes much of the complaints about speech and comedy come from a solipsistic worldview. To paraphrase, “Just because someone wearing a green hat beat you up once doesn’t mean I can’t wear a green hat around you.”
One prescient statement comes from Demond Handy: “Instead of claiming my words incite you to violence, why not just have a conversation?”
In sum, Silenced is worth watching, so long as you’re looking for a wider understanding of the issue, as the film is a bit dry. You should watch it because free speech requires continuing understanding and protection.