PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP would probably be surprised to learn that he is vindicating Marx’s claim that when history repeats itself, the second time is a farce. The administration’s odd war on TikTok echoes the period more than half a century ago when the US government was so worried about content from Communist countries that Congress directed the Post Office to detain perceived “Communist political propaganda.”
We should all be a bit more hesitant to accept claims of imminent national security threats that justify radical action, especially when they happen to coincide with authorities’ interests. National security has been the basis for the rise of perhaps every despot in history. We should remember the example of the Supreme Court, which did not roll over to erode free press in the face of the Communist threat a half-century ago.