*The mission statement of the Chicago Thinker and a recent article by Evita Duffy inspired me to reach out and share my respect and support. I am not a writer, at least not until recently, but I realize the necessity of defending American values against the onslaught of leftism, particularly regarding free speech and censorship. Audrey Unverferth, the Thinker’s editor-in-chief, agreed and here we are. No matter your perspective on the below, know this: the woke mob can attempt to shame us, get us fired, or generally introduce difficulty into our lives as is their practice, but an “enemy” is not vanquished until he considers himself so. I myself, and the many Americans like me, consider ourselves far from vanquished, and we will not go quietly into the night as the mob so desperately wishes we would.
YouTube recently banned the pro-life website LifeSiteNews and removed all their videos. The platform’s decision to annihilate LifeSiteNews’ channel was not surprising. It is only a matter of time before all the major platforms ban anyone who contradicts the rhetoric of the new leftist orthodox church, which esteems Biden as its Pope and Fauci as its Bishop of Health and Science; may peace be upon his magnificence.
YouTube says it took this action because LifeSiteNews purportedly violated the “COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO.”
We could argue about the science behind masking, or about whether the level of government intervention in our lives is truly justified. I could explain and defend Dr. Hodkinson’s opinion of the politics and media hysteria surrounding COVID-19. Or, I could even discuss LifeSiteNews’ primary goal itself: to help end abortions. All of that would be missing the key issue here.
The issue is the lie, the “bait and switch,” the grand con pulled on all of us by YouTube and the rest of Big Tech, when they enticed us with the concept of an open forum where everyone could speak and share their ideas. In reality, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter spun a web of lies and we all gladly flew into it.
This oligarchy of data barons has no intention of providing a space for free, rigorous debate. Instead, they aim to wrap their web tightly about us in the name of “protection” and “safety.”
Will we Americans, inheritors of the nation that defeated the British Empire for the cause of liberty, descendants by our citizenship of Patrick Henry and George Washington, allow ourselves to be wrapped in this web of comfort, convenience, and so-called “safety”? Will we allow ourselves to be “protected” from “harmful” speech because it might offend the leftist dogmas that we have allowed to gain dominance in our culture? Or, is there still enough of that American spirit within us willing to sacrifice comfort for freedom?
As Americans, we should take offense to the fact that YouTube “justifies” its censorship with the same logic as a protective mother who puts her hand over a child’s eyes. The mother is correct in doing so because she is responsible for her young child’s growth and development, and what is happening in front of him contains something he is not yet prepared to comprehend. The child’s worldview need not be so violently shaken; instead, the mother possesses the duty to determine when her child is prepared to confront those challenging concepts, and to help him understand them properly.
The Big Tech oligarchs, however, are not our mothers. No matter how comforting it may be for our left-leaning peers to scroll through their social media feeds without seeing anything that challenges their worldview, grown adults should resent such censorship and forced orthodoxy.
At the crux of this conflict seem to be two primary belief systems at odds: a traditional conservative philosophy vs. an authoritarian belief in censorship by the elites. YouTube and other fans of this censorship by the elites seem to be operating under the idea that the way to find the truth of a matter—or, perhaps more accurately, the way to arrive at the “best outcome” (since many leftists cannot even agree with conservatives on the concept of truth itself)—is to silence opposing speech.
This begs the question: who decides what the “best outcome” is and who decides what speech to censor? Adherents to this philosophy might not say it out loud, but their answer is clear: “We leftist elites, of course! We have already arrived at the best ideas with the best outcomes and therefore anything that challenges those ideas must be silenced.”
On the other side of this conflict lies the more conservative philosophy. The best way to find the truth of a matter, or to know if a certain worldview is based on truth, is to allow ideas to be subject to scrutiny. If an idea really is true, then it will eventually win in the marketplace of ideas.
Conservatives believe that there is such a thing as objective truth. Certain ideas are indeed better than others. And we are proud of the conservative values and principles we defend. However, we are not God, and therefore we can be wrong. If, in our current understanding, we are improperly or less perfectly reflecting objective reality and truth, then we must allow for improvement to take place. We must embrace debate with others who also seek to improve their ideas by getting closer to objective truth.
YouTube and other big tech forums were supposed to be forums for this sort of debate. They were supposed to be places where ideas and views could be freely exchanged. That is what they sold to us. It was the product they offered in exchange for our immense quantities of valuable data. And as a result, these platforms now have more control over the world-wide freedom of speech than any authoritarian regime could have ever dreamed of having.
It would be directly in line with the true, good purpose of YouTube to allow sites like LifeSiteNews to share their ideas and arguments freely. After all, LifeSiteNews is simply a man speaking on the street corner, trying to engage in the free exchange of ideas. Google, YouTube, and Facebook obtained this street corner under false promises, and have now sicked their goons on this previously free man. To add insult to injury, they are doing it while pulling wool over our eyes and whispering in our ears that “this is for your own protection.” A great man once said that “[t]he most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” I disagree with President Ronald Reagan. The most terrifying words in our time are, “I’m from Silicon Valley and I’m here to protect you from unorthodox speech.”
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.
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