That’s what New York Times told us on August 6, 2018, here.
How sad for a West that no longer believes in its own core values but goes increasingly authoritarian.
In the name of the common good, we get the common bad.
1. What a weak, nervous and insecure society it is that cannot tolerate but has to censor a man like Alex Jones.
2. What a gift these companies just gave him – martyrdom, victimization and more supporters.
3. Education is and remains the only way to combat such rubbish but is obviously no longer seen as such. Educational standards falling all over the West, people learning and studying too little and believing in all kinds of crap.
4. If Alex Jones, what else? Where? Who is next?
5. Close down tweets and statement by Donald Trump and many others: They have contributed enormously to hate speech (that no one can define except arbitrarily) – hate of Iran, threatening the total destruction of North Korea, defence of neo-Nazis, etc?
6. Close down the media that have excelled in hating Muslims for decades?
7. Remove content from news and other sites that have, at least since 2011, spewed out false, hateful and war-promoting “news” about Syria and its president/”regime” in particular – much of it certainly within some broad definition of hate speech and incitement to violence.
8. Do you want private mega-corporations to decide over and above your head and with no checks and balances that belongs to a democracy to define and decide what you shall be able to read?
I’m only asking. Somebody must begin to think.
It goes without saying – I hope – that this is no defence of Jones.
But combating him and his ilk this way is nothing but stupid, self-defeating symptom treatment – a short-sighted intensification of an already very vicious circle.
I don’t know about Alex Jones, but I think this practice of preventing people from having access to media is wrong and potentially dangerous. The First Amendment to the US Constitution was not meant to protect the strong, but the weak. The governments and those in charge of social media have the power to shut down what they do not like, but ordinary people do not have the same ability. We have seen in all dictatorial regimes closing the social media to stop criticisms of their policies. People are not stupid and they can decide what to believe and what to reject. The campaign against Jeremy Corbyn on charges of anti-Semitism and the recent campaign against Boris Johnson’s references to Burqa are wrong, because if you start with the campaign to block freedom of expression will end up in dictatorship. One price that we have to pay for freedom of expression is to accept that occasionally we have to put up with unpleasant and offensive ideas.
Many many thanks, dear Farhang. You’ll hardly be surprised that I share every word. Sadly, we live in times with creeping, elite-based censorship coupled with fake news/narratives and – worse – omissions.
While there may be cases where democracies must protect themselves against extremism, censorship should be the last resort and by legal measures passed by democratically elected parliaments/governments but not by some corporate elites sitting behind closed doors and deciding what is good and not good for us to experience. In addition, this is counterproductive because the millions who like AJ will only become more convinced and feel sympathy for him – and he will certainly find other ways to reach people.
It wouldn’t be as bad if these sites didn’t claim to be impartial. Unfortunately, other, more respectable right leaning figures, are being disadvantaged by biased websites such as Youtube, Twitter, etc, as well.