Censorship = Thought Control
Noferblatz (11 September 2018 16:59:49)

Recently, I saw a video which said that Amazon had banned nine books by an author. The author is obscure, but the books were apparently rather racy and risque (from a man’s perspective; that’s important here). Of note, Amazon.com still sells copies of Mein Kampf and Fifty Shades Of Gray.

For those of you who have a deficient knowledge of the classics, may I suggest 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. If you haven’t read these books, follow along and act like you understand anyway.

Amazon.com is the biggest retailer on the Internet, and started out as a simple Internet bookseller. And if there’s not a bookstore physically located near you, you can probably thank Amazon.com. If you can’t call Amazon.com a monopoly, I’m not sure what could be called a monopoly. It even has its own “bestseller list”, aside from the New York Times.

What Amazon.com is commonly called “censorship”. Yeah yeah, they’re a private company. Let’s be clear. When a “private company” becomes that large and consumes this much of the market, the “private company” defense goes out the window. They’re a monopoly, and I wish governments would realize that.

In any case, in Fahrenheit 451 you get a good look at “book burning” and what kind of society allows it. You don’t want to be there.

Now, if you haven’t been off-planet, you’re aware of all the censorship going on in social media circles. It’s rampant and epidemic. Youtube, Google, Twitter, Facebook have and continue the deliberate practice of cutting off and silencing viewpoints they disagree with. And since the core of all of those platforms leans in the same direction, the effect is overwhelming. These companies are beginning to realize they have the power to shape the narrative on their platforms and are beginning to seriously use that power. Most of them hide behind the artificial intelligence algorithms as excuses. But whether it’s computer code or humans, the censorship is real. And now Amazon.com has gotten into the game.

Much of what is being banned is based on whether anyone could be offended by something. Oh, I forgot to add a clause to that sentence. I should have added, “on the Left”. Whether the Right is offended by something is more or less inconsequential. Don’t even try to argue the point, because endless stats and facts back this up.

In addition, a new thing has been dreamed up to justify censorship. It’s called “hate speech”. Originally defined as speech which seeks to denigrate or attack some aggrieved group, of course now the phrase has come to mean just about anything the Left could take exception to for any reason. Particularly if it has anything to do with sexual preference or race. It’s another type of censorship.

Now, let’s consider the First Amendment to the US Constitution. That amendment assumes that a right to speak freely exists for any US citizen. (I say “US citizen” here. Of course the right exists for all people anywhere. But the First Amendment applies only to citizens of the United States.) The First Amendment guarantees that Congress (or any other federal government entity, by extension) cannot interfere with this right in any way, shape or form. This kind of a priori right is called “inalienable” by the Constitution.

Most of the rest of the world would like to have an inalienable right to free speech, and envies our Constitution for its bold claim on the subject. Most of the rest of the world has a right of free speech of a sort, but it is either granted by government or easily curtailed by whatever government exists for that nation. And rest assured, for a nation which is less than “free”, free speech is the first thing which exits before tyranny arrives.

Of course, there are real cases where “free speech” is problematic. And most of the talk about exceptions revolves aroung tired examples and metaphors. Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. Inciting groups or populations to violence. Speaking out against an entrenched and abusive government. Lying in such a way as to deliberately sully the reputation of someone.

But in general, “free speech” is free speech. You can say anything you like. Whether anyone is offended or not is neither here nor there. There’s no right anywhere which protects your precious little feelings from offense, when it comes to speech.

But this theoretical implied, tacit right to remain unoffended is the origin of the censorship which is taking place now.

And now finally, on to my point.

Censorship in any form, is not just an attempt to control speech itself, but an attempt to control thought. If you read the above classic books, you can see what I mean. In those books, it was not enough to control just speech. The whole point of the exercise was to control thought, to change the thinking of the citizenry. To make them conform to some state-sponsored ideal of “proper” thought.

The ideas of “hate speech” or offensive speech are alike examples of excuses to curtail speech, and thence thought.

Why am I making this point? Censorship may not mean much to you, because you don’t ever say things which might invite censorship. But it’s quite another thing when someone believes they have the right to or attempts to control your thoughts. And yet that is precisely what speech curtailment is. And if you allow it to happen or continue, you will eventually end up with attempts to directly control your thoughts.

Do you really want to allow that sort of thing?

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