First Amendment Fragility

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” – Mark Twain


By David Rogers

There is a trend that is growing in its magnitude. Freedom of speech, the preeminent right espoused in the First Amendment, is under attack and undergoing censorship across the western world. The United States is not immune from this viral philosophy, a viewpoint that inevitably results in complete loss of freedom for peoples and countries.

In Europe, Canada and in America, within the halls of academia, in the forums of social media and within the chambers of state, a form of censorship is becoming common. Such censorship seeks to address designated “hate speech” or other “inappropriate” content which is being banned and removed. Particularly grievous are the social media outlets that police their participants, such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and others. In these forums, viewpoints that qualify as “offensive”, “hate speech”, “conspiracy theory” or that “violate community standards” are being pushed out of the platforms. Just ask Steven Crowder, Mike Adams, Alex Jones or others.

This censorship is a type of modern electronic “book burning”. If conservative voices are not silenced outright on certain platforms, a method of “shadow banning” is being employed, where search algorithms make it difficult to find and access a channel or specific content. Conservative pundit Mark Dice demonstrates the specifics of his channel being shadow banned here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ilIO6cAvt0

In England, just criticizing Muslim culture, EU policies or local politicians’ approach to crime enforcement, whether expressed verbally or in writing, can result in stiff fines or, in extreme cases, jail time. Don’t believe it? Just ask Nigel Pelham, who is currently serving twenty months for making Facebook posts critical of Islam.

In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau recently told social media executives in a technology conference that “The platforms are failing their users and they’re failing our citizens. They have to step up in a major way to counter disinformation and if they don’t, we will hold them to account and there will be meaningful financial consequences.” Threatening platforms with fines for a nebulous government definition of “disinformation” is fraught with difficulties in enforcement.

In China, the communist government, with the enthusiastic help of Google, has implemented a “social credit system” that keeps track of the workings, whereabouts, and communications of all its citizens. One wrong comment about government leadership could lose a citizen their job, apartment or chance for education. Citizens are literally forced into only those actions and statements sanctioned by the state just for their survival.

On our college campuses, “politically correct” speech and thought is rewarded while “hate speech” can get a student removed from class or expelled. When independent media sensation Ben Shapiro visited the University of Utah last fall massive security efforts had to be undertaken to fend off mobs of protestors that believed Shapiro was not entitled to express his opinions. Unfortunately, this is not an infrequent occurrence on modern campuses.

There is obvious consideration if protection from offensive material is the overriding criteria. But the larger question is “who defines hate speech and who has the final say as to what is offensive or appropriate”? Unfortunately, the trends do not suggest that such censorship is fair and unbiased. It is overwhelmingly directed at conservative thought. It seems that any speech, thought or concept not in alignment with progressive ideology is at risk.

Such one-sided efforts are in fact not censorship for the sake of protection, but a blatant effort to control the national dialog. If only one side of an issue is aired repeatedly, the normally somnambulant public will likely never aspire to see other sides of an issue. This is the foundation of mass propaganda. And wherever there is propaganda, there exists political objective. History is very concrete on the results of such control. And that end game is always a type of totalitarianism not in line with our basic Bill of Rights.

It is apparent that the left is using every means possible to derail the conservative agenda in America. The fact that President Trump is championing a fair portion of that agenda is only more infuriating for those who would direct the national conversation. In a coordinated effort between those leftist that work levers of power in the state and those captaining the media, the strategy continues to infuse a continual stream of progressive ideology into our mainstream thought.

Trump’s administration is exploring this issue. The records of the past and our own Constitution condemn such undertakings in a supposed free society. These blatant intolerances in the name of “tolerance” need to be addressed at the legislative level. If the freedom of speech is curtailed, the decline of most other freedoms will soon follow.

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