FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Mon Oct 24 21:30:22 PDT 2022

Donald J Trump Won The US 2020 Presidential Election

                    Why The Censors Fear Information Freedom
Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times

GOP Sues Google Over Routing Donation Emails To Spam

Why The Censors Fear Information Freedom
Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times

This is the age of censorship, pushed by government and interests and
enacted by wholly captured Big Tech firms.

If you doubt it, look through the hundred or so pages of emails dug up
in court discovery between government agencies and social media firms
during the COVID crisis. The relationship is warm and wholly normalized.

If, for three years, you had a sense that you were being fed a canned line
through all major media platforms, that the science was being filtered,
that the talking heads were merely telling you what they were told to tell
you, that dissent was being crushed, you aren’t wrong. This is exactly
what was happening.

COVID was a major test case, but the model has been rolled out to cover a
whole range of other topics, including election fraud, vaccine safety, and
climate change. If an issue is important to a powerful interest and
prevailing government priorities, the censors are tasked to get to work.
The platform you have today could be gone tomorrow, no matter how much of
a personal investment you have in it. In fact, large accounts seem more
likely to be attacked than small ones.

We now know about a series of emails between former FDA commissioner and
Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb (now at the American Enterprise
Institute) and tech firms concerning the writings of Alex Berenson.
Berenson was an early critic of COVID policies and among the first to
sound the alarm about vaccine efficacy and safety. Gottlieb targeted
Berenson by name and told Twitter and others precisely what needed to
happen as soon as possible. Berenson had to be silenced.

It’s true that Gottlieb wasn’t a government employee at the time, but
these things can get murky. We know from many reports inside the White
House that Jared Kushner consulted him directly in the days when they were
twisting Trump’s arm to approve a lockdown of society. Gottlieb’s
connections in and out of government regulatory agencies are vast.

It’s one case of hundreds, thousands, and countless other cases. People
write to me daily to report that LinkedIn has taken down a message without
warning, that Facebook has slapped a warning on a post, that Twitter has
taken down their account, or that Google’s YouTube has dinged or deleted
their account.

More intense forms are happening in web hosting (Amazon can throw you off)
and even finance. PayPal has cut many individuals and institutions from
access and even dared floating a fee for “misinformation”—a word we
now understand to mean opinions not approved by ruling class censors. If
this practice is rolled out further—and there’s no question that many
intend to do so—we could find ourselves surrounded in a Chinese-like
social credit system.

This raises serious legal issues which are now being litigated across the
country. Governments can’t simply privatize their censorious ambitions
to the private sector and pretend that is entirely consistent with the
First Amendment. The freedom of speech is a general principle that
prohibits government from muscling speech platforms to comply with their
edicts. And this is true even with private entities who sign up willingly
for the job like earnest members of the Red Guard.

There’s another reason why censorship is more pervasive than at any time
in our lifetime. It’s because we have never had such access to so many
varied information portals. Imagine if the whole lockdown scenario had
taken place in the early 1970s. There were three television networks. Each
offered 30 minutes of news each day; 10 minutes or so were devoted to
national and international affairs and the rest to sports and weather. The
news anchors all said essentially the same thing, which led most people to
believe that this was all they needed to know.

Why did we have a sense that there was no arbitrary censorship? Probably
because there didn’t need to be. The information cartel was fully
intact. The ruling class was perfectly positioned to script the prevailing
narrative. Not even newspapers were distributed outside their region of
influence. The New York Times was for New York, The Washington Post for
Washington, and so on.

There were no websites, podcasts, Substacks, discussion forums, group
messages, and not even emails. There was no way to send documents except
by government mail because not even the fax machine had yet been invented.

Yes, there were alternative newsletters and things, but they were often
expensive, and you had to know about them to get them. Other than that,
the whole population was largely in the dark. Looking back, it’s amazing
that there ever were protests for civil rights or against the Vietnam War
at all. This is why arts and music were so hugely important to both
movements: They were a way to get the message out that the news cartel
couldn’t control.

Maybe many people like that world. It seemed orderly. There was a
“national culture” mostly informed by prevailing news control. No one
knew a better system. But then came technology. Even by the late 1980s,
things were opening up. Ronald Reagan himself credited new information
flows for provoking the unrest in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union that
led to so many revolutions.

By 1995, the end of the orderly and controlled information cartel had been
shattered by the web browser and the explosive growth of the internet
beyond a few to everyone. It seemed to many at the time to be the
beginning of a great and new renaissance. Information is the light, and
with the light comes emancipation from old forms and new opportunities for
everyone. It seemed like “the end of history,” and those years spawned
a kind of wild optimism that humanity would forever escape the despots.

At the same time, this created a major problem for ruling class elites who
once enjoyed complete hegemony over the public mind. Their control was
collapsing before their eyes. We loved it.

The fix has been a quarter century in the making, one step at a time,
toward somehow rebuilding what they lost. This is precisely why this is
all happening now. In other words, it’s the age of censorship precisely
because it’s the age of information. One follows the other.

Why is information so dangerous to some people? Because information is
about ideas, and history is shaped by the ideas we hold. They’re more
powerful than armies because ideas are mentally and emotionally powerful,
and infinitely reproducible and malleable, and they inspire action. Once
an idea takes hold in a population, nothing can stop its forward advance
and eventual victory.

In other words, there’s a strange way in which censorship itself should
give us hope simply because elites find it’s so desperately needed right
now. Censorship is the tribute that lies pay to truth. If truth were not
so powerful, no censorship would be necessary. Also, if the system of
information distribution were as highly controlled and narrow as it was in
the 1970s and earlier, there would be no real need to silence anyone.

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