Everyone has opinions.
Some opinions are born of our experiences. Others are derived from what we read or learn in school. Many opinions are the by-products of our religious or spiritual beliefs.
However, most of our opinions are transferred to us by the family, colleagues, friends, and neighbors who rub shoulders with us—whether directly or indirectly—and so end up sharing their viewpoints regarding our world and its people.
Of course, opinions are not facts. Therefore, we have always relied on a variety of credentialed intermediaries in the worlds of education, medicine, public health and safety, engineering, national defense, foreign policy, law enforcement, environmental science, and a slew of other fields of study to help us with the task of sorting out facts from fictions.
Unfortunately, the quest for elusive truth is—and always has been—impeded by those who have a political, financial, or career interest in pushing a certain version of the truth. The wise individual has always been leery of buying what professional hucksters in business, government, and academia have been selling, and this caution is even more necessary today because what is deemed to be the truth has been ever more tied to the ideological divide within our deeply divided nation.
One particularly problematic aspect of free and open discussion over the past decade or so has been the exponential growth in the influence and power of social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook, which has paralleled their increasing willingness to silence the voices of those they believe are unworthy of the most basic right supposedly enjoyed by all Americans—freedom of speech.
A perfect example of the incredible harm these private companies now daily inflict upon our national discourse is the recent reversal by Facebook regarding any mention of credible theories regarding the origins of the Coronavirus epidemic. Many researchers have suggested this virus was maliciously created in a Chinese bio-weapons laboratory and released—whether deliberately or accidentally—to wreak havoc and death on the world.
Unfortunately, until only recently Facebook deemed any such discussions to be racist conspiracy theories, and posts regarding a Chinese origin for an artificially created virus that was weaponized to cause maximum harm have been deleted—and the posters banished—in order to suppress the least suggestion this might be true. However, in light of recent Congressional investigations into this very topic, Facebook has had to reverse course regarding this policy, and what was once tin foil hat foolishness is now considered a legitimate topic for inquiry and further study.
Nonetheless, the many months of ruthless and unremitting censorship that denied any opportunity for public discussion of this worldwide question has already caused irreparable harm and, most importantly, created a global mistrust regarding this matter that has only served to poison ongoing efforts to discover the truth.
Why was Facebook banning discussions of the origins of the so-called Wuhan virus?
The main part of this answer is as old as humanity itself: the lust for wealth and the power it provides. China is a huge and important market for Facebook, and immense corporate profits are dependent on their ability to placate the Chinese government in order to protect their business interests. In addition, Mark Zuckerberg, who owns the majority stake in Facebook and through it controls other popular social media sites such as Instagram and WhatsApp, could have had a deeply personal reason for wanting to avoid any mention of a Chinese connection to a deadly virus: His wife is of Chinese descent. Whatever the true reason for his insistence on censoring any suggestion that the Chinese government played a central role in deliberately creating a weaponized virus, Mr. Zuckerberg and his companies were complicit in suppressing legitimate and necessary inquiries into this global cataclysm.
The same sort of dangerous and disingenuous strategy has been pursued by public health officials around our nation and world regarding any questions about the necessity and utility of the extreme lockdown and shutdown measures they insisted were required.
Any information that contradicted official pronouncements on the benefits of social distancing, mandatory masking, and forced vaccinations has been continually and cruelly characterized as the rantings of conspiracy theorists. However, as we learn of more hidden internal emails and suppressed studies that found lockdowns and mask mandates to be of limited or no public health value—information that was readily available to government officials but denied to the general population—it is difficult to overlook the catastrophic damage done to America and the world by censorship that forestalled a desperately needed dialogue concerning the radical and unprecedented policies that were implemented to control the spread of this viral infection.
Censorship continues to harm our nation in other ways.
The seemingly implausible victory of Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election has raised many questions. How he could win the largest vote total in America history yet fail to sweep Democrats to victory across the country—all while winning the smallest percentage of counties of any winning candidate in history—has puzzled many. However, any suggestion that widespread electoral fraud may have played a part in his victory is continually—and caustically—condemned on social media sites. Efforts to audit state election results have been mocked, and those who support inquiries have been personally attacked in a manner so derogatory and disgusting as to call into question the true motivation of the attackers. Is this censorship helping our nation or tearing us apart? The answer seems obvious, but it has not stopped the suppression of discussions regarding this issue.
In addition, the heated national dialogue about the imposition of the dogma associated with Critical Race Theory upon our schools, colleges, workplaces, government, and military is often the subject of censorship in fact or—coming in the form of sneering derision—censorship in practice. Those who question both the veracity and intentions of those who proclaim the founders of America were primarily concerned with the protection of the horrid institution of human slavery are routinely deplatformed on social media sites.
Whether this embittered focus on race as the overriding issue in our country is a path to true understanding or a prescription for division is a reasonable question, but those who fail to conform to the consensus opinions promoted by left wing academics and journalists are apt to find that their opinions are—to use a term popularized by George Orwell in his novel 1984—consigned to the social media memory hole, where they will cease to exist. Such is the fate of free speech in America today.
The immense power of social media companies, which are more and more becoming overtly partisan players rather than mere conduits for information and discussion, has been a major factor in both crushing dissent and prompting the rise of conspiratorial thinking. Shining a bright light on the destructive practices of companies such as Facebook and Twitter is a necessary first step toward regaining the sacred First Amendment rights that must be enjoyed by all Americans if our democracy is to thrive. Any private businesses that have the power to ban a President of the United States from speaking on the issues facing our nation is clearly a threat to the most basic governing principles of America.
The many apologists for censorship, who look down on us from their perches in business, government, and academia, are perhaps the most dangerous people in America today because they feel entitled to silence those whom they deem unworthy of their lofty consideration. The many patriotic Americans whom these arrogant elites deride and dismiss as “domestic terrorists” are the targets of their anger and disdain, and the question of whose words and actions truly represent core America values is one that demands our serious and sober reflection.
No nation where voices are silenced and opposition to the conventional wisdom is considered seditious can be said to be truly free. The censorious methods of a totalitarian state are an untenable—and ultimately corrosive—mix with the historic free speech rights of American democracy. We must recognize and remedy our problem with the unchecked power of social media companies as a first step toward addressing the many other problems that afflict—and have been inflicted—upon our country today.