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Censorship by Proxy
Thomas Priestley 7/18/2021 11:05 AM

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For years as conservatives were being de-platformed from social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, claims of “censorship” were smugly and quickly discarded as those on the left gave their response, now well-worn and weary from use, “They are a private company, they can do what they want!” This newfound respect and admiration for the power and rights of corporations always left me a bit puzzled. It turns out however, that these claims were merely a cover. You see Democrats had found a new way to circumvent the constitution, and they were all too giddy about the clever defense of the policy that they had cooked up. In documents obtained by Judicial Watch in reference to California and several other states, the nature of the scheme becomes clear. Rather than taking the posts down themselves, all the government had to do was pressure private companies to do it for them. It seems the government thinks that if they can put one degree of separation between themselves and the action, then the constitution simply no longer applies. Just as a child upon being told not to touch the vase situated on the mantle, resolves to knock it off with a broom instead. “Well, the broom is what touched it not me!” such loopholes, while they may seem very impressive to the mind of a 6-year-old, will not I think prove quite so clever to constitutional scholars or average Americans. Can we think of applying this in any other circumstance? “Ah well you see, it was the private investigator the police used who broke into the defendant's house without a warrant, so clearly the defendant’s rights were not violated.” As we can see this logic can lead to some rather dangerous outcomes, but still democrats maintain their defense, beaming with satisfaction, and admiration of their own genius as they say, “you can’t stop it, it’s a private business.”

It does not however seem that these types of censorious public-private partnerships are limited to the state level. Indeed in what should be seen as a rather shocking admission, Jen Psaki recently announced very matter of factly, that the Biden administration was flagging posts for Facebook to take down. This somewhat gives the game away; it is clearly an admission that the office of the executive has been pressuring private companies to censor American citizens. So, you may be asking why the admission now? It appears they have reached a point where they are trying to legitimize the behavior rather than hide it. You see as it turns out, having the wrong opinion is actually very dangerous to the public. You may recognize this argument as the same bit of sophistry used by every petty tyrant who has ever attempted to limit the freedom of speech, and that’s because it is in fact, exactly the same argument. Despite this, the campaign is in full swing, as the Surgeon General reports that “misinformation is a public health threat”, as Joe Biden claims that misinformation is “killing people” and as they call upon industry experts, and a complacent media to provide backing for their power grab. They are attempting to make the argument that these posts constitute a threat to the public so severe, that they require censorship. They are inventing a new executive power out of thin air and using fear of the pandemic as a cover, in order to manipulate the public into begging for such abuses, rather than resisting them. 

Of course, once this power is established, it will not simply go away, it will calcify, and then the age-old questions will remain, who is to decide what is dangerous? And who is to decide what is misinformation? The power the executive branch is asking for is not simply the power to censor, but to decide on your behalf and without your consent what is fit for you to read, hear, and say, and the power to decide what is true, and what is not. Remember, this coordination was happening before the pandemic began, should this power be approved by a complacent public, it will not be limited to speech about vaccines; but to all speech odious to whoever holds the reins of power. It seems obvious that no person or group has the knowledge or foresight required to make such determinations, which is the underlying logical argument for the existence of free speech to begin with! This country has gotten along just fine without a ministry of truth up to this point, I think we would do well to keep it that way, and fight like hell against anyone who would attempt to claim such power.

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Thomas Priestley
Tom Priestley is a Graduate Student at a Public Research University on the East Coast. His specialization is Public Policy Analysis, with Emphasis in Public Finance, and challenging expert opinion using statistical data evaluation. A recent graduate, Magna Cum Laude, and an Eagle Scout, he places himself as a member of the next generation of Libertarian youth in America."

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