Tech censorship is never going to be acceptable in the United States. It doesn’t matter what might happen in China or how COVID-19 affects our country and theirs; violations of our American constitutional rights will never be considered acceptable under any circumstance.
YouTube is currently removing several videos featuring doctors questioning the mainstream narrative on COVID-19, which is unprecedented in American history.
European countries don’t enjoy the same rights American citizens have defined as a baseline for law throughout our Constitution. They follow the parts of the document which define human rights while ignoring the aspects of how small business defines us as a nation in refusing socialist policies.
Censorship begins by declaring certain words must not be said, which seems reasonable at first. Clearly, you’re “not a nice person” if you use racist or sexist remarks as part of ordinary conversation. However, you aren’t required by law to be a “nice person.” With that said, you have a right to speak your mind regardless of how other people react to your thoughts. Such a philosophy leads to how the internet can be used, might be used, or should be used. All of which are up for debate, with differentiating opinions on how the internet should be policed depending on who you ask.
China doesn’t allow its citizens to freely use the internet to exchange ideas. The United States does. Such internet censorship is consistent with how the Chinese government treats its citizens who don’t have constitutional protections. In America, we have defined rights, which cannot be violated. We have constitutionally mandated separation of powers, which define the role of legislative powers versus executive authority, and a judicial branch to oversee final decisions.
China doesn’t conduct hidden agendas, its government simply declares its citizens do not have protected free speech. In America, we have a constitutional legally defined means toward expressing our opinions, but we have more subtle limitations on how we can share such thoughts. The internet is the modern solution. A homeless person using a public computer at the local library, a teenager using a school computer, a factory worker with a Smartphone, or a corporate executive sitting at a computer… It doesn’t matter, we all have a voice. Such technology allows for a level of communication we’ve never had to address before, not locally, not nationally, and certainly not globally where outside interests may be concerned.
The internet brings up questions of free speech which weren’t previously discussed. The classic example of a limitation of free speech, you can’t yell “fire” in a theater, or any other public building. You also can’t slander someone, as this results in a direct victim who can sue you for damages done to their credibility and career. There are further laws against making threats, inciting riots, or declaring treason against our government. Free speech allows disagreement with current policy and further allows for debate on how to proceed with policy changes, it doesn’t allow violence to dictate legislation.
The counter argument suggests misinformation should also be illegal. That’s a valid argument, as misinformation spread with malicious intent is already illegal, but that has nothing to do with how we define the spread of COVID-19. As results change daily, our knowledge of it changes daily, and we have to make hard decisions on a daily basis about our economy and what is going to be best for us in the long run. Should we then censor every thought on the internet or allow for free thinkers to do just that, freely think?
The fact is, as a country, we didn’t expect nor were we prepared for this pandemic. That being said, we can proudly proclaim that as Americans we will not stand by silently while our rights are trampled on. We won’t be muzzled into submission, nor will we hand over our freedom of thought and expression by way of Big Tech censorship.