Day: April 6, 2021

How Many?

Censorship can destroy freedom, but some level of “censorship” (or oversight) can also create an environment that enables freedom to flourish for those who may otherwise be unfairly targeted by false, often hate-filled rhetoric. My piece is a reflection on what happens when we are so focused on restricting any and all forms of censorship that we allow dangerous viewpoints, often controlled by the wealthy, elite, to flood the marketplace.
Throughout history and now with the spread of fake news (actual fake news, not the kind complained of by that formerly powerful person), we can see how widespread suffering can be perpetuated by unchecked speech, i.e., through vaccine and pandemic-related disinformation, etc. We already have limitations on free speech when it comes to incitement, but as my piece points out, we often allow the political elite to get away with using their platform and resources to spread dangerous information that does not necessarily rise to incitement, and this sometimes has dire consequences. Who really knows how many lives could be saved if we didn’t allow elites to make outrageous claims that influenced public opinion? After all, slavery was once grounded in religion, Syrian refugees were likened to terrorists coming to take over countries, and anyone can see the result of massive disinformation surrounding the pandemic. Reflecting on this, it makes one wonder just how many lives could (and should) have been allowed to flourish if we would be willing to do something to combat disinformation — even if that means agreeing to some level of censorship.

Words as Weapons

Freedoms of speech and press are the unalienable factors of what constitutes a free society. They are what separate the U.S. and other free democracies from the authoritarian leadership principles held by Nazi Germany, Communist China, the U.S.S.R., and the Socialist dictatorships currently in power throughout South America. It’s what gives U.S. citizens the right to criticize our government’s actions, no matter who’s in power, without fear of repercussion or even death. I find it unequivocally revolting that there are those on the far Left in America today, including many Left-leaning poets and writers, who push for these freedoms to be stripped away from our population. Especially after the Liberal poets of the 1950s and 60s put their freedom on the line to fight for freedom of expression against the Conservative consensus culture of Cold War-era America. The idea of supporting censorship in any fashion, I believe, is a slap in the face to great poets like Allen Ginsberg and our recently lost Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who fought for these freedoms for all writers to enjoy. When the only plausible recourse against those who wish to take our freedoms from us is our voices, my words are my weapons in this war, and I refuse to be disarmed.