Censorship Rising

Love it or hate it, movies like “Plandemic” are important to free speech. I have been disturbed by the recent rise of censorship in the West, as I believe that it’s important for all ideas, “crazy” or not, to circulate.

In order for us to live in a reasonable society, it’s important for us to consider both sides of an argument before reaching a conclusion. If we only allow one narrative to persist, we are dangerously close to totalitarianism.

“…if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed–if all records told the same tale–then the lie passed into history and became truth.”

– George Orwell, 1984

The lie becoming the “truth” is not fiction. It has happened many times under oppressive regimes. Surely not in the modern day, under watching Western eyes, you say? Perhaps you should watch the Icarus documentary about the Russian state-sponsored doping practices and the government’s efforts to surpress the truth.

Meanwhile, in the land of the free, we like to mock the Russian and Chinese governments for their inability to allow dissenting narratives to exist – surely such behavior comes from a deep sense of insecurity!

How is it, then, that we are content to allow YouTube to remove “anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations?”

How is it, then, that we allow YouTube and Facebook to ban controversial figures like David Icke?

In United States v. Alvarez, the Supreme Court found that even intentionally false speech is defended by the First Amendment, and that governmental efforts in the vein of the “Ministry of Truth” are unconstitutional:

“Permitting the government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense, whether shouted from the rooftops or made in a barely audible whisper, would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle. Our constitutional tradition stands against the idea that we need Oceania’s Ministry of Truth.”

– Justice Anthony Kennedy, United States v. Alvarez

Mind you, the focus of today’s post is on censorship by private technology platforms rather than by governmental actors. However, in a world where we disseminate and consume the overwhelming majority of our information via digital means, especially privately-run platforms like Facebook, Google, and YouTube, we need to be actively discussing and considering the implications of deliberate, coordinated censorship against alternate worldviews.

This problem is compounded by the fact that humans have a well-studied tendency to conform with a group, even when the group is wrong.

You may call me an alarmist, but I think it’s better to raise these concerns too early rather than too late.

Written on May 8, 2020

David Kay has dedicated his life to the technological progress of the species. He writes on entrepreneurship, health, and technology. If you found this article helpful, join his newsletter.