May 18, 2022

505: The United States and its Long History of "Misinformation" (w/ Caleb Franz)

Does this sound familiar? 


The looming threat of war hovers over the United States like a vulture circling its prey. A deadly virus is running through the population, forcing many to avoid highly populated areas. Furthermore, the nation is reaching a level of political division so severe that it threatens the stability of the country.



While you might think this is a description of the U.S. circa 2022, these were actually the circumstances that the nation found itself in at the beginning of the Adams administration. 


This backdrop isn't all these two periods of history have in common, either. As Americans today are engaged in a great debate over how to handle the spread of misinformation, it would behoove us to reflect on how the first generation of Americans overcame this very issue. 


Efforts to contain misinformation have become a growing point of contention in the United States as of late. Social media giants flag and deplatform individuals who spread allegedly false information at an increasing rate. Of course, who gets to distinguish between genuinely false information and areas with legitimate room for disagreement is where things get messy. 


Today, Caleb Franz returns to the program to outline misinformation throughout history, and the role free speech plays in fighting actual misinformation.


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Brian Nichols  0:10  
focusing on winning arguments. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, Happy Wednesday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on today's episode. Yeah, misinformation. It's not new here in the United States. But before we get there, I want to give a shout out to today's sponsor, that is the expat money summit 2020 to watch for a week reap the benefits for generations interested in learning more about this free virtual summit taking place November 7 through 11th 2020. To where you can see five days and 30 expert speakers will head to Brian Nichols forward slash expat and get your free tickets today folks I'm so excited for today's episode because yes, we have a returning guest like yesterday's episode with David Bellman which I'll make sure I include the link there at the end of the show today. But today's guest we're talking about the topic of misinformation and the fact that no it's not new here in the United States. As a matter of fact, it's a pretty much been around since the United States itself. Caleb France from profiles and liberty and joins us here on the show today. Caleb, welcome back to The Brian Nichols Show.

Caleb Franz  1:32  
Brian, it's good to be back as always. It's always a pleasure to speak with you.

Brian Nichols  1:36  
Great to have you on the show my friend and it was great to see you back when you were in town here. You visited up in, you're down in Louisville. I'm now up and you're in Indiana so you came and visited yours truly as well as even distance I know right and you visited dear leader to Chris spangle. Over in Indianapolis. We got to hang out have a nice sit down meal and then of course we got to do a podcast. I mean, can we not do a podcast when we get together but no, it was really long

Caleb Franz  2:02  
conversation and then we were like, you know we should probably start recording you should hit

Brian Nichols  2:06  
the record button. Yeah. And thank God we did because it was it was a very good, good conversation. And we actually ended up I don't know if you notice this, but we ended up reiterating a lot of things that we talked about, on our first time go through with the conversation itself. So with that being said, though, I'm so excited to have you on the show today because you just wrote a new article that took aired over at Real Clear history. And it talks about the fact that misinformation, it's not it's not new, right. We've no misinformation it's been. It's, as I said in the intro, it's as old almost as the history of the United States itself and who better to write about this then the host of profiles and liberties. So Caleb, talk to us misinformation what what is the the idea of misinformation to help us define it? What is it? And then what do you mean when you talk about it being as old as really the United States itself?

Caleb Franz  2:56  
Yeah, well, you know, I wrote this this article in real clear history a few weeks ago, because this really was sort of the dominating topic of of our political discourse at the time and it has been for quite some time. It's kind of faded in and out of how relevant it has been but the idea of, should we try to censor certain certain disinformation is this different disinformation potentially harmful to people? If we just let it go about is free speech absolutism, something that we can really stand behind in the 21st century? And I was reminded of this story that that took place in the early 1790s Excuse me, the late 1790s about how none of these questions are really all that new. These are, these are all questions that we've been asking ourselves since the conception of our nation since the not even a decade after the Bill of Rights was put into effect. And those are questions that the founding fathers were able to not just not just sort of find the answer to with the Bill of Rights, but also confirm that that is in fact the case of the the spirit of free speech, even if it's potentially harmful, or even if it's potentially deceitful or mis information in this in this sense, that is also protected speech as well. And that's why we have to protect it because if we can't protect that, then there's not much stet standing in the way between that and speech that your I might find completely normal, but someone else might find offensive or, or potentially false.

Brian Nichols  4:54  
I mean, let's put the context in here, right. Like if if we were to take a snapshot of where we are as a country, as a society, as a culture today and show the Founding Fathers and the framers who we are do you think that they would be okay with, you know, our morals, our ethics? Probably not. And yet, we've gotten to where we are today because we had the freedom to do so. And we've had the ability to have controversial or sometimes some strange opinions and ways of doing things and because we have the ability to have that freedom of speech, that's okay. And we can bring those ideas into the marketplace of ideas and actually challenge them do people want to have more of this different way of doing things this different way of thinking about things and that is where you start to see not just the the conversations change, but then you start to see policy change, you start to see cultural changes. You see change in the way that societies are pointing. And is that for better for worse, the American experiment? I mean, there's a lot that goes into that. But I'd say that the Free Speech idea across the board has shown to be time and again resoundingly Yes, a good thing to help inspire countries and a society to flourish. And to have a an open and free ability to communicate ideas.

Caleb Franz  6:22  
Yeah, that's right. And and so what is this story that I'm talking about that I wrote about here? And in 1798, during the John Adams administration, one of the very founding fathers who helped helps Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The one who lobbied for independence earlier than most other founding fathers did, is the same person who also put pen to paper and sign what is now the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Now, there were three alien acts and one Sedition Act, the alien acts mostly centered around barring it centered around citizenship that centered around what the threshold was to be able to expel certain certain immigrants from the country at the time. Tensions were very high with the nation of France and, and there was a little bit of political there's a little bit of political reasoning for why they wanted to pass it because typically immigrants in particular, French immigrants, tended to lean a little bit more Republican than they did Federalists Republican, the sense of the Jeffersonian Republicans were willing

Brian Nichols  7:44  
to wait time out. Are you telling me that people have approached immigration with a political lens from the very beginning

Caleb Franz  7:50  
lens from the very beginning? Yes, it's hard to believe but very, very politicized topic. Yes. Okay. So I continue most easily the most egregious act and the one that took took the offense of of the, of the Republicans have of the day Jefferson's party, and Thomas Jefferson himself was the Sedition Act. They saw this as a complete infringement upon the First Amendment that they just passed less than 10 years earlier. Now the Federalists didn't see a problem in this because what they were actually banning was not any sort of any sort of free speech as the way that they would define it in the sense that speech that has been commonly upheld in the common law, but rather speech that is seditious or malicious, or potentially false. Now, who decides what seditious malicious or false is, well, obviously, it's going to be the Federalists that were in charge of the government. At the time. Now, the comparison that I draw here is not necessarily that anyone is drafting up a new Sedition Act in Congress currently, whether or not we get there another 1020 years. I don't know. You know, I'm not I'm not a prophet. I'm not someone who can look into the future. But a lot of the same arguments that the Federalists were using as justification for censorship at that time, are exact, exactly the same arguments that people today whether it be over situations such as using social media tech giants to silence or censor, censor, dissenting thoughts around the ideas of COVID or having a difference of opinion on how to approach the situation in Ukraine. There are numerous examples of a situation where you may feel very passionately one way or another about what the right answer may be. But the point is not that you have to silence the opposition because it is potentially leading to harm because the only way that you can actually get to the truth is whenever speech is laid out freely so people can have that open and honest discourse. And whenever you have those those gatekeepers in the way that ultimately leads to more disinformation, then if the speech was unfettered

Brian Nichols  10:29  
Well, you know, it's funny how things happen. I I'm notorious for falling asleep to watching YouTube. I don't know why I need to have like, like something audible to listen to. So I'm not like just thinking about things all day long. Like, oh, did I do this? Oh, did I do that? It's like, just fall asleep. Washington thing, Brian. And one of the things I fell asleep watching the other day was it was like Nazi World War Two tech. And I know like random, but it works. Right. And with that, so are we were we going to reiterate the last point you just made sorry.

Caleb Franz  11:01  
That's, that that's if if if misinformation is truly to be combated, it's not going to be through gatekeeper

Brian Nichols  11:08  
yes, there. Okay. Sorry. Yeah. So that's not that's not seems to come full circle. So with the Nazis and how political correctness that was actually like one of the main focuses of the Nazi party when they were focusing on on cracking down on what would they consider to be misinformation, right. And it was it was through the lens of political correctness, getting rid of the alternative speech that was out there. So you see this right do you need to your point, there is a desire by those more do good voices to politically limit what the speech should be in the name of some arbitrary cultural collectiveness and that it that right there. I think the collectiveness is the scary part right Caleb because if we do go back down to the individual having free speech, as the individual as that one person, then then all of a sudden you can plant that seed and that idea can flourish anywhere versus this one, you know, NPC groupthink mob mentality hive mentality that we've seen just get worse and worse and worse over the past few years.

Caleb Franz  12:11  
Yeah, that's right. And, you know, I think that I think that what really kind of the sort of dramatic moments in this story that I am telling the climax of the story, ultimately comes to head in the election of 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams essentially go at each other for the seat of the presidency. Obviously, John Adams lost that in large part due to the Alien and Sedition Acts that were passed in in 1798. Now, Thomas Jefferson's inaugural address, I think, is really the ultimate sort of the ultimate lesson that we can learn. And and he kind of wrote this great American ethos again, as he does because he's so great with a pen. And he explains the differences that yes, we're all Federalists. We're all Republicans as Americans, were going to have differences of opinion, and that's fine, so long as those differences of opinion are allowed to exist in the in the marketplace of ideas, and that's very much paraphrasing. I don't I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but essentially, that was the point that he was trying to get at is that if if opinions are allowed to to to fester in society, and unadulterated and uninterrupted, then the best ideas are going to float to the surface people have a low tolerance for falsehoods, people have a low tolerance for misinformation, and unnatural states and the natural state of order. The media and the and the state that we know it as today is very good at at promoting a lot of false information, a lot of misinformation. And it allows us to get hooked into these like tribal nativist mindsets, but when when free speech is truly allowed to to flourish by itself, a lot of that gets filtered through by itself as well.

Brian Nichols  14:24  
kaloga took the words right out of my mouth, and I wrote it down before he even said the words and it was a low tolerance for misinformation. And you look at what's happened with the mainstream corporate media and you know what, you're 100% right but before we get there, and we dig into that we're gonna go ahead and quickly divert your attention towards yes our morning sales huddle if you have not had the chance to folks, head over to the Brian Nichols where you can sign up for our morning sales huddle once a week, yours truly will email you this proven six sales tips that the sales success tips to say that 10 times fast scale that I truly have. Yours truly has brought to my sales team to help them with their their success. If it's something you're interested in learning more about, please go ahead and sign up for our morning sales huddle and you'll see the tips delivered to your inbox once a week. And then of course, I will go ahead and shoot over a copy of my free ebook, four easy steps you can implement now to help sell liberty to friends and family but now the media right going back to the media they have over the past 10 years just just absolutely neutered. Any trust that they had with the American public. I remember fondly going back to CPAC back in the day, right when I was a little little redheaded conservative. I didn't have a red hat that was before that time, man that would have been wild though to go see Pat back in the day if it was like actual old CPAC but then with Trump and he was actually Trump in 2016. That'd be an interesting world. But anyways, I remember the world that Ron Paul Rand Paul, they were the ones winning the CPAC poll. So CPAC was different back in the day. And you know, just imagining you know, that one where you had the old bumper stickers that I don't believe the liberal media or stuff like that, like I don't know why you get a little, you know, like Midwest accent. I don't know if that's the thing I'm doing is in, like sprinkling that into my conversations I live here, but no, I know it must be but um, but no, it's it's it's something you've seen where the the Brian sellers of the world, they'll stand there with reliable sources behind them. And it's like, okay, yeah, are you and they'll, they'll smile the death of the camera to tell you, your square in the face that yes, the 100% that they're the one you should be trusting. And yet their numbers continue to plummet. It's why they hate Joe Rogan. It's why they're going after him. It's why they're going after anybody who does not tow the corporate line. So I guess Caleb and I frame all that. Where does this go? Where what do we do? I mean, we're seeing there is a pushback. Elon Musk the takeover of Twitter, which appears to be imminent at this point, we've seen that take place and that's been a huge kick to the left. But is this something that is sustainable is the free speech warriors that are out there? Are they actually winning? Are we going to see this continue? Or is the more regressive more Controlling speech advocates out there? Are they going to have their their time in the sun to shine?

Caleb Franz  17:17  
You know, I do think ultimately that that the proponents of of these ideas are ultimately going to win out in the end but it is not going to be easy and it will likely get worse before it gets better. If we if we look back to history as a guide, you know some of obviously the Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans won out and 1800 And ultimately, the ideas of free speech won the day during that great battle, but it wasn't just a simple fact of well, they passed this and then there was this massive pushback and then Thomas Jefferson won the election in 1800. It got much darker than before it got brighter. A Congressman was thrown into jail because he criticized the Adams administration. Benjamin Franklin's grandson died in jail, because because he ran a paper that was anti Federalists and anti atoms. There there are easily ways in which we have to sort of prepare ourselves to understand that it's not necessarily going to be an easy fight. It's not going to like freedom as itself. has never been something that has been easily maintained. It's always been a little messy and always has been a little muddy. However, there is hope at the end of this, and I don't again, I don't think that we should look at history as a one for one. I think that's the wrong the wrong approach. I think the approach should be the lessons that that is taken away from it the moral of the story and that's that's what I tried to do with with profiles and liberty is that I tried to show exactly what happened and then what's the takeaway? It's not going to be that you know, these things are going to happen exactly the same. But with that being said, it is it is easy to look at and it is easy to say things might get a little bit darker before they get a little bit brighter, but it's going to be okay because we are going to make it to the other side of the tunnel.

Brian Nichols  19:28  
And yeah, you brought it up we can point to history to see where freedom heads and we go back to our friend Dr. Adrian Bucha on Duke University constructal law and his idea that freedom is in fact nature and in life in anything, things will move towards whatever is the most free, whatever is the easiest to go towards. In this case, free speech will absolutely win the day will continue to win to the day it has won the day off from pretty much the time that the idea of free speech has become one that we have openly embraced and I think if as long as we continue to foster that, yes to your point Caleb free speech will indeed win the day and then down the road. We can have folks like you in the future, doing podcasts on us fingers crossed, you know, talking about what we're able to do and we're leading the charge here to fight back and lead for free speech. So with that being said, obviously we want folks to go ahead and learn more about the the podcast you're doing where you're going ahead and talking about those former Liberty warriors and I say Liberty lovers because they did love Liberty and in some cases they put their lives on the line for that liberty. You're doing a great podcast profiles and liberty we've had in the show many a time to dig into that. But I've talked to us I know Season Two just wrapped up. You're in the process of writing season three, what can we expect to see when we head to season three and what can viewers go ahead and expect when they go check out with seasons one and seasons two?

Caleb Franz  20:54  
Yeah, so Season Two just wrapped up in March. We had a great season with a few of my personal heroes and some people that I really came to to appreciate and to and to adore a lot more than what I had even realized before writing the season. That's part of the the joy of making the show is that there are new layers to these people that I had known about or had had a certain level of appreciation, but didn't always understand quite as much as I should have. And that's kind of part of the fun about it is that it's it's a it's a giant learning process. Not just for the listeners, but for me as well. So it's something that I get to it's something that I get to share with my audience and it's something that I really love doing about making this show. Season two was all about what a group of people that I've dubbed the equalizers these are people who fulfilled the promise of 1776 people like the guy who's I don't know if you can see him right here behind me but Frederick Douglass and individuals like mercy Otis Warren and Abigail Adams and Harriet Tubman these are all people who understood that what they were able to accomplish with the Declaration of Independence and with independence itself in 1776 was not meant to be the end. It was meant to be the beginning of something incredible something where Liberty was going to spread to all corners of the earth and encompass the world like wildfire. They understood that and they were determined to make sure that that promise was going to be fulfilled. The first season. In that same vein, is about the people who made that promise in 1776 during that summer, and this upcoming season, you know, we have a lot of really, really fun individuals. It's season three is going to debut this fall. So I'm hard at work writing, writing the scripts right now for it but there's there's still so many people to highlight and so many people that that deserve their do their their Limelight in the sun, that I'm excited to bring forward to you all.

Brian Nichols  23:14  
Awesome. Well, we'll make sure that we continue this conversation, Caleb because you're always bringing on interesting voices in history that I think a lot of people have either not remembered, you know, they maybe heard the name back when they were in history class, but it never really got to dig too deep or these are voices that have been lost, unfortunately, to the history books, because we talked about this in the past history is written by the winners and those who are actually going out and writing the textbooks and that's why it's so important for us to make sure that we're speaking their stories to others were telling what their their their views were, what their mission was, and why what they did was so important for our posterity going forward. So thank you Caleb for what you do over at profiles on liberty. Can't wait for season three. And folks, if you want to go ahead and yes get all your history knowledge here in the liberty movement head over to we are libertarians you can find not only Caleb's phenomenal program profiles and liberty but yes, you can find yours truly The Brian Nichols Show amongst I think what do we have 1415 other shows now over at the we are libertarians, podcast networks, it's

Caleb Franz  24:15  
too many to count.

Brian Nichols  24:17  
It's growing day after day. I know it's great and we are families it's a good problem to have. It's getting bigger and bigger and I'm so excited to see where the the future is heading. So folks if you enjoy today's episode, my goodness number one, you're going to love yesterday's episode we had David Bell on here on the program from Bellman homes where we talked about the impact of inflation on small business owners if you missed that, I'll make sure I include that link here at the end of today's episode but also if you enjoyed the episode please do me a favor and make sure you go ahead and give today's episode a share. And when you do make sure you go ahead and give Caleb a some love as well when you're there and make sure you tell him that Brian told you to do so. So with that being said, Folks, thank you for joining us on of course another fun filled episode. As always, I am your humble host Brian Nichols, a thank you for joining us. With that being said it's Brian Nichols signing off for Caleb friends from profiles and liberty. We'll see you next time.

Caleb Franz  25:05  
Thanks for listening to The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes at the Brian Nichols

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