A couple days before the election, I watched Mike Cernovich’s Kickstarter-funded project, Silenced. Our War on Free Speech (written and directed by Loren Feldman). I was originally going to have this review up much sooner, but as you know, Trump won and I’ve been spending most of my time chronicling the reaction to that victory. But, as liberals and progressives (aka regressives) will soon realize, life moves on.
Now, let’s get to the film.
The best way to describe Silenced, in my mind, is to call it a think piece. There aren’t a lot of flashy graphics or advanced filming techniques, but there are a lot of thought-provoking stories and takes. The film consists of a bunch of smart and/or outspoken people talking about free speech and the way it’s been under attack in our country and abroad. Without a doubt, the protection of free speech is one of the most important issues we face going forward.
The roster of speakers present is a feat in and of itself.
Early on, the film cuts between Alan Dershowitz and Andrew “weev” Auernheimer. I can’t think of a better way to illustrate how varied the backgrounds of the speakers are. The odd thing is, Dershowitz and weev seem to agree on the basic principles of free speech, although they might dispute my reading of the situation. Personally, I consider myself a free speech absolutist. If you aren’t calling for violence or putting out child porn then I think you should be free to say whatever you want. Don’t like what someone is saying? Make fun of them, refute them, attack them.
But do not silence them.
Things are divided up into sections in Silenced. America, Artists, Comedy, and College. I think I hit them all. Certain speakers contribute to multiple sections, but the divide allows the project to cover the multiple areas where free speech is under attack. Dershowitz in particular has a great way of phrasing things, even though I agree with him on very little besides free speech. As he puts it, the battle for free speech has mostly been won in the courts, but where it is under threat now is in the culture, on college campuses in particular. These are the future leaders of the country and many of them do not have a healthy respect for the freedom of speech. A good number of their own professors lack that respect as well, which is most unfortunate. I think this was probably the most sobering thought of the film, at least for me.
Yes, it’s great that Trump won. But the battle is far from over where our rights are concerned. As you’ve seen from recent events, the leftists and assorted regressives will not go gently into that good night. Many of these people hate the freedom that allowed Trump to win and they’ll do anything they can to see it rolled back. Violence is a given. People will most likely die. Do not get comfortable and think that the fight is over. It isn’t. And even if you hate Donald Trump, which some of you might, I would hope that you love free speech as much as I do. Silenced does a great job at laying out the battlefronts, but it’s up to us to remain vigilant against the threat.
I loved the movie because it makes you think. I could spend 1000 more words talking about the speakers and their takes, but I think the best way to describe the outing is this: Silenced doesn’t necessarily give us all the answers, but it does provide a lot of examples and anecdotes that can be used to illustrate freedom of speech and why it’s so important to Western society. Again, it’s a thinking man’s movie. There’s not a lot of flash, but there is a ton of substance. I enjoyed it immensely and I think most of you will as well.
Star Rating (out of 4): * * * & 1/4
NOTE: I was granted a review copy so that I could give you my thoughts on Silenced at bit earlier than I normally would have been able to.