Does the smallest City in Massachusetts have a Censorship Problem?
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I recently engaged in conversation with two local neighbors, a long-standing local business owner and a former elected official who offered their opinions on my support for a ‘return’ to investments in transforming our city’s core into a walkable, bike-able, densely populated urban center.
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The Freedom of Speech Includes The Freedom to Obtain Information
We have recently seen the City of Gardner issuing a gag order against the Legislative Branch of the City of Gardner (i.e., the City Council). The City of Gardner’s injunction has worked, almost without exception.
But, this is not unique to Gardner – and it is not even unique to this current administration, as we shall see.
But, Gardner government is just a tiny microcosm of the censorship that is taking place all over the World. The Big Tech Oligopoly Thought Police have monopolized (or “oligopolized”) the World’s platforms on which to 1) obtain information, and to 2) speak one’s thoughts and ideas.
This affects every one of us. The Big Tech Oligopoly Thought Police (the post-modern version of the “Thought Police”) will censor anyone who is not being “correct” according to their standards.
The Thought Police are no longer some totalitarian governmental dictatorship. It is a clan of private actors (the Big Tech Oligopoly).
The very bad news, however, is that this has the effect of insulating and protecting the government – which, by doing nothing, is condoning it (and benefitting from it). The government, in this marriage, can sit back and say, “don’t look at me, they are private actors.”
This cute couple, Government/Big Tech Thought Police, try hard to make it look like they are protecting us from the Lunatic Fringe right.
That’s an illusion. As reported by Ramsey Ramerman:
“[y]ou are wrong if you think there is no biased censoring on social media. But if you think the bias is just against conservatives, you are also wrong. Social media censorship affects liberal pundits criticizing military adventurism just as badly as it affects conservatives advocating against political correctness. Pundits who promote heterodox views that have been labeled “conspiracy theories” face more draconian censorship than any traditional conservative or liberal political pundit. The bias in social media censorship is against certain disfavored viewpoints, regardless of where those viewpoints fall on the political spectrum (emphasis added).” The Federalist
Right now, it just so happens that our Government is satisfied with the censorship going on – it’s helping its policies. But, whatever may be the case, we can all see that this is forming a very cozy relationship between the Government and the Big Tech Thought Police – a marriage marching hand-in-hand into the future.
What happens when the Big Tech Thought Police decide that no one will be able to say anything remotely “negative” about the Government?
Who decides what is “negative”? The Thought Police, of course: “You can’t say the Mayor likes self-promotion – you’re banned for life!”
But, this danger goes far beyond social media.
Our ability to obtain objective (or, gasp, “neutral”) information on the internet in general will be gone (just one reason for that is because Google directs 95% of the searches on the internet; and it gets worse than that when you dig into things).
Obviously, if nothing “negative” can be said about this Government, society becomes a place of insulated state-run propaganda. Using a fictional hypothetical, when heating coils destroy your furnace every time you turn around, all you will see on the internet about it is this: “the City has the best water in this country,” and “the City declares that furnace-makers are incompetent – burn wood.”
Where will you get “negative” information about the government when it is not available on the internet?
As we know, private actors (like the Big Tech Oligopoly Thought Police), as opposed to the Government itself, have free reign to run roughshod over The Freedom of Speech – and they are doing just that.
But, there is hope.
Unfortunately, though, hope requires a reliance on our state and local governments to proactively, wait for it . . . , legislate. I know it’s hard to get off the comfy porch swing when you are watching the horse run out of the barn and into the sunset, but it’s time to start chasing it.
What can be done? There are a few angles to get to a solution here.
One way is through the states’ civil rights laws.
There is a movement to add political ideology as a “protected class” in the civil rights laws of certain states. For example, there is legislation filed in the Iowa Legislature to add political ideology to the immutable characteristics of humans that should be protected by the State Constitution (in this case, the Iowa Civil Rights Act). It would join race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes of persons.
Since the religion of political ideology in our post-modern society has all but supplanted traditional religion, the addition of political ideology as a protected class makes a lot of sense toward treating this censorship disease.
If that happens, then the Big Tech Thought Police will not be able to send you away for life into the cornfield of permanent exile on the grounds that you used the word “illegal” or “vaccine” in the wrong sentence.
If change happens along the civil rights angle, the sky won’t fall, and we won’t lose the internet. We would still have laws against insurrection, sedition and treason, for example – and U.S. Senators can still be arrested for advocating the concerns of their constituents.
We have never needed Big Brother Big Tech to be our protector regarding what we can read or hear or say. We have the American legal system (and the U.S. Constitution) that has handled all of this just fine for about 230 years now.
There are freedom of speech rights on Big Tech’s side, too. Also, there are at least two other ways to approach the problem: 1) unfair business practices, and 2) the “state actor” doctrine (and the “company town”). We the People are not completely powerless. Stay tuned.
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