I am a free speech absolutist by nature. Short of purposefully screaming fire in a crowded theater with the intent of causing mayhem … I just like having it all out there … from the wackiest religious tripe to the most virulent racist poison. For me, it’s better to see it exposed in the sunlight than to have it driven underground where it collects bacteria and followers … followers who can secretly live double lives until it is too late.
I say turn over the rocks and let them scurry around. Or goad them into the light to willingly reveal who and what they are … let them mark themselves with their own words so we can keep an eye on them while they do whatever it is they do to prop up their fantasies. Doing otherwise is a tacit admission that you don’t trust the facts or the veracity of your ideas. Don’t concede the debate by being unwilling to take it up.
Obviously, I am enthusiastic about the competition of ideas. And yes, I do know that we might end up with a bad product because a lot of people haven’t the foggy idea how to shop for a thought or fact or sound analysis. But open competition also makes it likelier that there will be a backlash and shame and other organic, dialectical responses that could create new ideas and even produce some change.
I know it is a dangerous game. It could all go wrong in a hurry. But so could your trip to the supermarket. Which is why I find myself decidedly phlegmatic about the purge of INFOWARS by some of the leading tech platforms. I do get it … I get why many are celebrating and why Jones may even be a little dangerous by potentially stoking violence.
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