Everyone says we’re headed for another Civil War. I say we’re in one now. It is a cold civil war and the battle lines are being drawn in cyberspace. (I freely admit I am old, so do they even call the internet cyberspace anymore?) Orwell once said, “Those who control the past control the future, and those who control the present control the past.” As we marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, it’s important to remember that when we defeated Nazi Germany we dealt a great blow to fascism, but it still exists today. Now instead of waging war with bullets, bombs, and guns, we are doing so in the marketplace of ideas, and they are winning.
Fascism has recently been wrapped in phrases like “political correctness.” We watched this happen in real time this week as half the country cheered as Youtube restricted content, while the rest of us looked on in shock. For some of us the shock was accompanied by horror because we have seen these types of things before. When did we as adults forget how to police our own lives? Isn’t that what the people who are trying to censor everything now used to say when the shoe was on the other foot? “If you don’t like vulgar music, don’t buy it! If you don’t like nudity on television, don’t watch it!” On and on down the list they went telling us we should be adult enough to police our own lives. So we did and we learned to adapt but that wasn’t enough, it’s never enough.
As the needle has moved and now that technology affords everyone a mobile soap box through platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, suddenly the very same people who told us to be adults about what content we ingest have decided it’s their turn with the censor button. We’ve started seeing phrases such as “Healthy speech is just as important as free speech!” My question: Who determines what healthy speech is? And what does that even mean? I’m both happy and sad that George Carlin is not alive to see the current state of “free speech” in America.
For those of you eagerly watching YouTube destroy thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears, or Facebook and Twitter purging people for wrong-think while you cheer, remember we warned you. We warned you that once they start the Thought Police never stop, they only change targets and eventually you will be in their crosshairs. May not be today, maybe not even tomorrow, but it will happen.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.