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It’s not a conspiracy

January 12, 2021

It’s worse. Allow me to explain.

I’ve shared before (here…and here…and here…and here, for instance) that I’m not a believer in conspiracies. Rather, I am a believer in confluence. That is, that people with similar interests, backgrounds, beliefs and resources tend to act in similar ways; a sort of informal consensus, if you will. When enough people with enough influence act in similar ways, there are widespread and noticeable effects. From this perspective, it is hardly surprising that some on the Left, who also happen to be in positions of influence re: social media, have taken similar actions regarding some social media platforms with whose policies regarding acceptable content and/or suppression of content they happen to disagree. The effect, of course, is the same. That Which Ought Not Be Spoken is suppressed. It is censored. (If you’re going to argue that only government can engage in censorship, you’re an idiot). That those who are effectively censoring thought don’t think of it as censorship, and in fact insist it is not, does not change the nature of the beast.

I recognize, of course, that a business is not obligated to provide anyone a platform. Property rights are property rights and I don’t see any benefit to pretending otherwise. Not is changing the longstanding American view of property rights a good idea. So, if you are contemplating lecturing me about Fecesbook and its right to control content, don’t bother. I was, in all likelihood, championing property rights years ago while you were being taught to complain about them.

Anyway, this recent spate of consensus leading to censorship has resulted in the suppression of speech. People are denied the opportunity to believe or say Bad Things. Unfortunately, in spite of protestations to the contrary, the effect has been to deny people who don’t necessarily endorse those Bad Things a chance to discuss them. The belief that the best remedy to hateful, unsupportable beliefs is to bring them into the light where they can be discussed, including by those who believe them, has been dealt a possibly deadly blow. That belief has been, or is being, replaced by the consensus that some things are simply Too Bad To Discuss. And freedom suffers because of it. Freedom of expression, the Left has decided, is only for those who Think Right.

Look. You want to be a neo-Nazi shiskinhead? Okay. You’re stupid (as in really, really stupid), but go ahead. As long as the rest of us shine light on you and your appalling lack of anything approaching human decency, your philosophy is doomed. Communism? Same thing. But, when we can’t shine that light, you and those like you will get to crawl off into the shadows to fester and grow. NOT GOOD.

At the start I said this not being a conspiracy is worse than a conspiracy. Here’s why. Consensus, confluence of ideas and actions, is difficult to overcome, especially when it is consensus among those with power and influence. There’s no law broken. In the absence of being or acting as an agent of the government, there is no amendment violated. It’s hard to overcome, because it’s perfectly legal. Even worse, people who are sympathetic to those actions will applaud them.

This is how Liberty dies

But don’t worry. At least it’s not a conspiracy.

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