In this the era of Trumpian fake news and flying accusations of -isms; racism, sexism, conservatism, liberalism, etc ; we have lost more than just respect for each other. We have sacrificed respect for virtue itself in our fight to be right. Right. Not accurate. Not kind. Not humane. Merely right.
At our foundation, we are a nation of mixed cultures coming together to excel in all aspects. The only way forward, we have learned through our tumultuous, frequently hideous past, is by being honest, sometimes brutally, with each other because simply put? We need each other. And trust is the first step of all greatness in a relationship, be it between one and a friend, a coworker, a bank, the media, or especially a government.
When we do not trust our government, we revolt. And people die terrible deaths. When we do not trust the media, we look to less reliable sources for what we then hope is truth. And thus people fight, needlessly, over lies. When we do not trust a bank, we horde money hurting the economy. And so people lose valuable opportunities to get loans to start businesses or invent new everythings. When we do not trust coworkers, we suffer through 40 hours plus a week for a paycheck to live. And consequently, people’s standards and quality of service diminish substantially. But the big when? The when that happens when we do not trust our friends, our chosen family? That’s the scariest. ‘Cause when we do not trust our friends, we trust no one. And people need people. We absolutely, every single one of us, need people to trust.
So what can we do? How to build trust back up?
Well, we can start by not censoring free speech. Ah, yes, finally the title starts to make sense. We must trust others to be honest about what is going on and how they feel about it, and if they are not? Trust that people, average people, will know the difference.
Here’s where my libertarian shows through: because even if some people let you down? Let us strive for a world where one day government will be so limited, it will not matter who is in charge of it and all the power will lie with each individual. Some people suck, that’s an inevitability, but if the power is with the individual, you can walk away from that asshole without it screwing with your whole life.
The political left and the right both suffer from this, a desire to control others to prevent a hidden asshole from usurping control away from all of us, as does everyone in between. Hence the following is offered as evidence of our shame, a sliding scale from one end of the spectrum to the other.
From (mostly) Left To (mostly) Right:
- Trump calling all MSM ‘fake news’ – Surely, I do not need to delve into propaganda? Everyone is injured in this battle of insults, from the mainstream media hoping our president will screw up so they can report it, to Trump himself blatantly lying about the articles written by responsible journalists trying to do their jobs by informing the masses of his faults and failures.
- YouTube Restricted Mode – To my knowledge this all still hasn’t been adequately resolved. Basically, YouTube decided to enact strict guidelines for what they considered ‘appropriate’ content. As you may have guessed, the left, in the form of many members of the LGBT+ community, were disproportionately affected, losing not just viewers, but monetization as well. Their straight counterparts, people discussing much the same topics even, were not so harmed.
- NFL’s Treatment of Kaepernick – This has been a huge topic of discussion across America in the past few months, so I’ll only touch on it lightly. Not only is this a matter of race relations, but of freedom of speech and its suppression.
- Sam Harris leaving Patreon – This is a specific example, but he is not alone in fearing for his livelihood because of what he says. Harris is an atheist and thus will never be loved amongst the religious right, and yet, in this instance it was his fear of ‘leftish confusion about free speech’, and the protests and campaigns driven by it, that drove this preemptive move.
- Richard Dawkins Event Cancellation – I separate this from gradation 9 for one very important reason: Dawkins is not just any speaker. He is world renowned scientist who was scheduled to lecture at a university on his book about science. Not about inflammatory remarks he once made, not about politics, not about religion. Science. And he was not able to for security concerns.
- Last Man Standing – Yes, yes Tim Allen is Pro-Trump, but that should be irrelevant. LMS was a comedy show with solid ratings, and despite the network’s best efforts, no one really believes that its cancellation was unrelated to his political leanings.
- Dr. Jordan Peterson’s Locked YouTube Account – Whoops, the villain of gradation 2 is coming back to strike the opposite side of the spectrum — let no blogger lie in complete comfort. In the end, Google reinstated his account… with absolutely no excuse whatsoever.
- Ben Shapiro – As the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, Shapiro is at the helm of a massive conservative organization and thus subject to censorship in the way of event cancellations and full-fledged campaigns of hatred aimed his way. He’s accused a few heavyweights, like Facebook and Google respectively, of having an anti-conservative agenda. Facebook via steering away from trending conservative topics, and Google, by placing many Prager U — a conservative issue education channel — videos under restricted mode, thus making them inaccessible to young would-be viewers.
- Milo Yannipoulos and Ann Coulter Event Cancellations – Protests and property damage, oh boy! When words are so feared that they cause people to full-on attack each other and a beloved institution such as UC Berkeley, things are not okay. It doesn’t matter what they are preaching, they have every right to do so.
Look above and look below. I ran the gambit of sources for this post, reading everything from The Hollywood Reporter to The New York Times to The Daily Wire, listening to personal podcasts, and watching YouTube videos. If everyone is suffering, why are we not working together for a solution? Well, honestly? I think it comes back to that being right thing I mentioned earlier.
Somehow, we came to the fork in the road: We can either head left and let some overarching government body decide what we can know and be told, head right and allow everyone to practice genuine free speech, especially when we don’t agree with them, or we can do exactly as we’re doing now and let all news and opinions be deteriorated by our constant squabbling and attempts to suppress them.
I vote we go right instead of being concerned about being right, but hey, that’s just me. What do you say? After all, I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, don’t you?
Fortin, Jacey. “Richard Dawkins Event Canceled Over Past Comments About Islam.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 July 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/us/richard-dawkins-speech-canceled-berkeley.html.
Shapiro, Ben. “Leftist Censorship Hits New High. Here’s How To Fight Back.” Daily Wire, 21 Oct. 2016, http://www.dailywire.com/news/10136/leftist-censorship-hits-new-high-heres-how-fight-ben-shapiro?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=news&utm_campaign=twitterbenshapiro.
Park, Madison, and Kyung Lah. “Berkeley Protests of Yiannopoulos Caused $100,000 in Damage.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2 Feb. 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/01/us/milo-yiannopoulos-berkeley/index.html.
Rogers, Dexter. “Colin Kaepernick: The NFL’s Treatment of Kaepernick Shows Black Lives DON’T Matter!” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 July 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/colin-kaepernick-the-nfls-treatment-of-kaepernick_us_597a217ae4b0c69ef705265d.
Goldberg, Lesley. “The Many Reasons Behind ABC’s ‘Last Man Standing’ Cancellation.” The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2017, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/why-last-man-standing-was-canceled-tim-allen-responds-1004414.
Ernst, Douglas. “Jordan B. Peterson’s YouTube Account Locked during Biblical Lecture Series: ‘No Explanation.’” The Washington Times, The Washington Times, 1 Aug. 2017, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/1/jordan-b-petersons-youtube-account-locked-during-b/.
Sam Harris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syvI1JqQgOU
YouTube Censorship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoKqPjK75z4