The right to censor free speech: Part two

Continuing from where we left off.??Brittany Hunter’s article?written?for the Foundation for Economic Education: Quote.

The rise of the alt-right and the alt-left has brought all sorts of weirdos out of hiding and yes, some of them have views that most of us would deem inappropriate and even immoral. But banning them only shows that we fear what they have to say. There is a market of ideas where different viewpoints compete with others. And if we, as individuals, believe that our view is the ?right? or ?good? view, then we should let that it compete on its own merits in the marketplace of ideas.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appears to understand this, as he has refused to participate in the Jones ban, saying:

If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that?s constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction. That?s not us.

And even though this decision has resulted in backlash from the left who have attacked him for not taking a ?stand? against Jones, Dorsey has stood his ground. He even responded to the criticism via tweet, telling journalists that if they are concerned with Jones? views, they should be diligently combating them with their own opinions.

?Accounts like Jones’ can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors, so it?s critical journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly so people can form their own opinions. This is what serves the public conversation best.? He also released a statement stating that his platform cannot, and I would argue should not, be ?the arbiter of truth? in regards to determining which information is true or false. End quote.

There is vigorous online debate about whether or not Twitter indulges in shadowbanning.? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Maybe Dorsey is okay with shadowbans but not total bans.? The truth may be out there quote.

But no matter who you side with, this problem is hardly exclusive to the left. Trump seized on the term ?fake news? (originally deployed by his political enemies) because he disagreed with what CNN and other news outlets had to say about him. But while these private companies are entitled to ban those they disagree with, they should be aware that this act is opening up the door to something much more threatening: government censorship.

The prohibition of Alex Jones has led Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to call for increased censorship in order to ?protect our democracy.? In a chilling tweet, he said:

Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart. These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.

If the flow of all information, true or false, is tearing our nation apart, then it wasn?t very strong to begin with. And for an elected official who, unlike Facebook, has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution is calling for further censorship, then every single one of us has cause for concern.

We can argue until we are blue in the face over whether or not Facebook and Twitter should censor information, but the government has no business calling for such an act.

By constantly trying to ban everything, we are really demonstrating that we do not trust the individual.

So, if Facebook can, but probably shouldn?t, ban users and posts it doesn?t like, and the government most certainly should not and is constitutionally prohibited from censoring opinions, what are we to do to stop the spread of misinformation? It may bother some of you to hear that the answer is: absolutely nothing.

All we can do is create and circulate information and trust that our ideas are strong enough to speak for themselves. Only the individual is responsible for their consumption of information. And by constantly trying to ban everything, we are really demonstrating that we do not trust the individual?s ability to make the right decision. End quote.

Just as it is completely improper for the government to censor information, it is likewise improper for elected Local Government to censor information.? Yes, Mayor Goff, I am looking at you.

But what about state-owned media like TV channels and radio stations? What about their subtle censoring of what we see and hear?? How should these institutions be held to account?

Ultimately, as Brittany says;? it is an individual responsibility to take control of the information absorbed.? The final paragraph above could almost be replaced with two short instructions:

To the individual – Grow up.

To the government – Butt out.