Censorship not answer

Published 10:14 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

Someone needs to tell Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, YouTube and the European Union that the only way to stop a bad guy’s speech is to counter it with a good guy’s speech, not censor it.

Recently, the internet giants took on the role of internet speech police when they agreed to monitor and combat so called “hate speech” for the EU. No word on how they define hate speech.

I suspect the whole EU hate speech argument is less about preventing terrorist attacks, as they propose, and more about culling criticism of their immigration and refugee policies.

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Oh, the hypocrisy of those who brag about their “open-mindedness” in one breath and cry about censorship in the next.

The only acceptable speech is that which is pleasing to their ears or palatable to their particular ideology, while supporting the prosecution of people for their personal opinions or religious beliefs, especially if those opinions and beliefs do not fall in line with theirs.

It sure sounds an awful lot like totalitarianism to me.

It takes you back to a quote from George Orwell’s novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But any rate, they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”

Here in the U.S., the First Amendment covers all speech. Yes, folks, even hate speech. Speakers shouldn’t be banned from universities unless a university’s intention is to ban free thought. The same goes for talking about climate change, Californians. And what the Bible says about marriage, liberals.

It’s pretty telling that you rarely find conservatives, known for their deep respect for free speech, charging liberals with “Constitutionphobia” or “Christianphobia” or “babyphobia” or whatever phobia might be applied to those with whom they disagree.

The way I see it, the dangers of censorship far outweigh the dangers of hate speech. Even still, we march closer to it every time we bend a knee to political correctness. You don’t have to live in a totalitarian state to be controlled by totalitarianism. We’re not there yet, but we’re sure headed in that direction.

If we believe in the right to free speech, we also must believe in the right to offend. That means that building a wall isn’t xenophobia. Believing in traditional marriage is not homophobia.

And fundamentally disagreeing with President Obama’s policies is by no means racism.

By the way, the Bible is pro-free speech too. But, it’s also about accountability. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 that “every careless word” we speak we will “give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”

So maybe we should occupy our time considering our own words rather than censoring others.


Susan Stamper Brown lives in Alaska and writes about culture, politics and current events. Contact her by Facebook or at writestamper@gmail.com.