Segregation by Censorship

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In his recent FrontPage Mag article, “Fighting Political Segregation with a Digital First Amendment,” Daniel Greenfield argues in favor of passing legislation to protect free speech specifically on the Internet.

Using an argument that even a radical liberal could love, he compares the recent silencing of alternative and conservative opinions online to racial and economic segregation.

Greenfield is careful to point out that the Constitutional First Amendment is limited to protection against abuses by government, not private enterprises.

For this reason, he writes, “…when those enterprises have more power over speech than governments, when their scale is such that they can sweep away entire categories of ideas across the world with the press of a key, a digital First Amendment is needed to maintain the relevance of the Bill of Rights in a new technological era when government censorship is outsourced to corporate partners.”

You could, of course, point out that at this stage, governments are owned by the corporate partners they serve. And you’d be right.

Death, Incorporated. The Internet is a sprawling virtual continent that out-scales every country and corporate media monopoly on the planet in terms of influence and viewership. (Greenfield supports this with multiple statistics – just read the article.)

For the various behemoths currently profiting from this limitless opportunity to claim that they are “private companies” is like the bubonic plague calling itself a cold sore. Big tech can inflict a lot of death on a lot of opinions and facts with a few clicks.

Unforeseen consequences. Imagine yourself a citizen of such an unlikely place from the viewpoint of those who drafted the Constitution. They never foresaw it, but here you are.

You establish your virtual domain and quietly busy yourself furnishing it with windows and doors that open onto unique views. You furnish your domain with as many books and news sources as you can find on the subjects of your choosing and go to work drafting your own articles and essays, inviting comments from the outside world.

And suddenly, you have visitors: Messrs. Madison and Hamilton knock on your door with the intention of hearing what you have to say about something as arcane to them as the Internet: Crisis actors.

“What manner of masque or, to wit, black comedy are such actors engaged in?” asks Madison. Hamilton stands there with a puzzled expression.

Before you can answer, your windpipe is blocked by a sudden gust of ones and zeroes and you and your domain are sucked into the virtual back of the bus — to a dark outer dimension.

And you see at last what the Lords of the Internet intended for you all along: Disconnection. Isolation. Silence.

But as you blow away, you can see Madison and Hamilton down there shaking their capacious heads, wondering what the devil that was all about.

“It must be the return of ignorance and barbarism,” says Hamilton. “Witchcraft,” says Madison.

I agree with them, as I agree with Greenfield: What we need is a digital First Amendment to retain the relevance of the Bill of Rights.

Without it, everyone* will eventually be silenced.

~C.

*Even NPR, according to this article.

H/T: A Sweet Dose of Reality; Anne Berg

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6 responses to “Segregation by Censorship

  1. The tech giants and those who applaud their censorship of dissenting voices just don’t get Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s now-famous “First they came for …” warning. Or maybe they do get it, but in their sick demon-possessed minds, convinced themselves that they’ll be the exceptions once they have secured themselves in power, without heed to how totalitarian regimes eventually turn on and eat “their own” — Stalin’s Great Terror of the 1930s when he killed 1/3 of the Communist Party after bogus trials; Mao’s diabolical use of young people (Red Guards) to purge the Chinese Communist Party (and more) of his perceived enemies in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (that was neither proletarian nor great)….

    First they came for Dr. James Tracy, and I did not speak out because I was not James Tracy.

    Then they came for Alex Jones and InfoWars, and I did not speak out because I was not Alex Jones.

    Then they came for Fellowship of the Minds, American Everyman, Chemtrails Planet, Cinderella’s Broom, Dutchsinse’s blog, Saboteur365, To Be Free, and others. I did not speak out because I was not one of them.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

     
  2. Though I’m against the tech giants’ censorship, I’m not sure if gov’t regulation is the answer. Dan Bongino has raised an EXCELLENT point about how the left is playing us; they WANT us to institute ‘free speech’ regulations over the tech giants. Why? Because it would be the 21st Century version of The Fairness Doctrine, that’s why. Once the Democrats regain power (and they will, thanks to the law of averages, not to mention their greater COMMITMENT to the cause; look at the OH special congressional election for Exhibit A), they’ll then be able to institute this new ‘Fairness Doctrine’ to squelch conservative and libertarian free speech as they did in the days before Rush Limbaugh. Let’s THINK about what we’re doing, people…

     
  3. Greenfield doesn’t recommend a “fairness doctrine” (the 1949 federal policy that mandated the airing of contrasting viewpoints) but a “digital first amendment” that protects free speech on the Internet. I don’t think they’re the same thing at all. You’re right: Proceed with caution. But I don’t see how we can do nothing given what’s at stake.

     
    • I agree; the First Amendment should rule-absolutely. However, we must be careful that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. A 21st Century Fairness Doctrine would be a disaster.

       
  4. Yes, this has always been a problem. The theory is that a “democracy” depends on an informed public. Of course there has always been bias in reporting, even when all we had were three TV channels, for example.

    Now, with the advent of cable TV and other forms of “media”, owners are free to say whatever they like, including totally inventing things. During the Obongo years it was established that those purporting to be bringing us “news” were free to lie and that propaganda, previously restricted to foreign audiences, was permissible for Americans.

    Previously the “Fairness Doctrine” basically mandated that “equal time” be given by broadcasters as a condition of their licensing. Having access to an audience meant that they had more influence than the average citizen. That was considered to be a bit like a monopoly.

    One of the things that is currently happening, in my opinion, is a prior restraint of trade. They are conspiring to limit what we are allowed to see in order to influence our behavior, including buying habits.

    I am totally in favor of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine and of licensing these entities if necessary. It isn’t the type of content that matters, it is the restraint on the First Amendment that matters. This control of information cannot be allowed to stand unopposed.

     
  5. I used duckduckgo.com to look for fellowship of the minds. Apparently the whole censorship thing has now turned into a disparage FOTM and its creators and do damage control by attacking everything that FOTM has put up as ‘fake news’ or ‘lunacy’ or (insert whatever lame excuse they can invent here). It used to be that FOTM would come up with a search for it, now it’s all this lying crap that is at the top.
    Methinks they doth protest too much.

     

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