Thanks to the WSJ and Glenn Harlan Reynolds for bringing more light to this remarkable development in the world wide web (When Digital Platforms Become Censors. Aug.18-19). Having been there at the beginning of the web, it is astonishing to see the regress and loss of freedom in a medium that was founded on the notion that the free exchange of ideas was essential to the Republic and that the web would guarantee it. The importance of that used to be a given It is only freedom that can trump fascism’s relentless waves of propaganda and lies spread throughout the world. The internet pioneers knew that, and moreover, were motivated by it, — which is why so many of them insisted on openness and information sharing (not information hoarding). Today’s internet is run by gatekeepers and corporate drones with no useful concept of what freedom means to the world. And that’s why they censor ideas and shackle purveyors of thoughtful debate. To them, it is as immoral to allow bad ideas circulation as it is to individually subscribe to bad ideas. To traditional thinkers steeped in the wisdom of the ancient Greeks and Romans, it is always preferable to allow the free expression of objectionable notions and defeat them in the free market of ideas. Trust no censor. Trust no one who says he has your best interests at heart when he censors speech. He is an agent of the rich and powerful as sure as I’m sitting here typing on my iMac.
Facebook is in this category. A young intellectually shallow man runs Facebook and shapes its decisions. Censorship being one of the pillars of the platform and the corporation, they hired 20,000 whipper-snappers, fresh out of inferior colleges and universities and super-saturated with the propaganda of the left, to monitor online speech and censor bad ideas. A few minor violations and they will consign you to Facebook Jail, a temporary banishment from the platform. But, if you cross a line seen only by them, they will ban you for life from the platform. Silenced, your good ideas and bad will never be discussed again with the same few thousand people on your “friends” list. I crossed that line. I am a martyr to the cause of free speech (in a very small way) and that’s why I’m writing. My hobby – horse is politics. I spent 20 years as a lobbyist for the small business community in the state capitol in Albany. Now, national politics interests me and I am a vociferous supporter of the President. All I write about is the swamp and the mindset of the people who thrive in it and who are framing Trump for a crime that never happened. I call it treason. That’s what I believe. There are long and short ways to defend that proposition and Facebook generally supports the succinct analysis. I was never given that chance. Somebody ruled and I was out. They never defended their position. They never cited a paragraph in evidence. They simply censored me off the platform. Now, the potentially thousands of people I used tor reach to share ideas with are out of my reach and me theirs. That is censorship of the first water. It is wrong. And that young man should be removed from his position at the top of what is becoming a public utility, but which is being run like a personal fiefdom.
Mark P. Alesse