Franc Turner 12/20/2018
While it seems that most people are pretty much on the same page with the ridiculousness of banning the Christmas song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, of the “Charlie Brown” cartoon being racist, and the story of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” promoting bullying; I find it fascinating that this same attitude is completely absent when certain individuals are banned from various platforms because people were offended by what they said. Or, more accurately, “offended” by how they, themselves, interpreted what was said.
Recently, Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad; YouTube alias) and Milo Yiannopoulos were the latest in a long line of content-creators to be banned and deplatformed (and, therefore, demonetized) from earning an online living through Patreon. This same steady trend of purging dissenting voices from many locations on the fictional paradigm we like to call the “political spectrum” has been happening ever since social media outlets made an example out of Alex Jones (the over-the-top caricature of conspiracy theorists).
While I don’t particularly agree with the views of any of those aforementioned individuals, that’s not the point. Rather, this all seems to have been for the purpose of getting rid of honest voices who’ve actually had relevant, thoughtful, and thoroughly researched information to share. The various platforms and outlets tend to highlight the more outrageous of the figures in order to quietly lump together scores of other voices along with them.
The majority of these bans seem to have the common theme of random people or advertisers contacting the various platforms (whether it’s a radio station, Patreon, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, etc.) and demanding that certain content be scrapped from the airwaves. And if the outlets don’t comply, they run the risk of losing millions in ad revenue or having their reputations smeared. This kind of politically correct whitewashing of language and the manipulation of people’s perceptions, thoughts, and ideas should make a person take pause and say, “Nobody has the legitimate authority to dictate what other people say.” Who’s to say that your own thoughts on matters won’t be next in line for the chopping block, just because someone else didn’t like it?
Allowing this kind of blatant and unabashed censorship in our society through complacency, indifference, or an inability to handle one’s own emotions is actually how the strong-armed bullying of authoritarianism is allowed to foment and grow. There’s a reason why freedom of speech is the First Amendment of the Constitution. Freedom of speech is among the most important of individual liberties due to the monumental significance of dissenting points of view. That’s why it was penned in the first place.
Censorship, on the other hand, and in all its forms, is a representation of fear. It is a fear of change, a fear of diversity, and most of all: a fear that your concepts and ideas might be wrong. Truth fears no scrutiny. So if certain venues are on the side of sanitizing, sterilizing, and purging any ideas that are subjectively controversial, uncomfortable, or offensive; perhaps it’s time for other avenues of free expression to take their spots.
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The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.