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The threat of censorship in a free society


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Recently on major social media platforms there has been large amounts of evidence indicting the companies that run the sites blatantly favoring certain political views over others. In an effort to not completely defame themselves and go straight to book-burning, the most common form of this active bias being demonstrated is through shadow-banning possibly distasteful opinions. However the error in their actions is not because of one stance being better than another, but because censorship is an inherently flawed and shameful practice.
The most annoying thing I find about people who are pro-censorship is that it is almost always because they just don’t like to listen to people who oppose their ideas. If they were to put themselves in the shoes of someone who holds the minority (and therefore, less supported) opinion, they would understand how frustrating it is to try and have your voice heard. Just because someone else’s words may convince people against the party line you would prefer doesn’t mean either of you shouldn’t be heard. If the other person gains more traction despite having the same/very similar platforms to speak on, it just proves you’re doing something wrong.
It’s also very important to remember that the viewpoint you may hold is not the only valid one that everyone is trying to argue around. Because there are many different viewpoints held by people eliminates your ability to stay inside a self-contained bubble of ignorance separate from the rest of the world. For example, early 20th century horror-writer H.P. Lovecraft was, while a good writer, demonstrably racist against black people. He held this opinion not because he had any real evidence to support his claim, but because he stayed in his house almost all day and rarely interacted with anyone, let alone a black person.
I oppose censorship in all of its forms, because censorship is anti-progress, which makes it really grind my gears when people have the guts to say they are progressive when they support censorship. I’m not saying it’s wrong out of some soap-boxy “everything I disagree with is wrong” sort of attitude, but because censorship is not only wrong, it is illogical. You should want people to say every point of view, because the evolution and maturation of ideas can only come from the mixing of different perspectives. If someone’s ideas are wrong, they will condemn themselves with their own words, and if they’re right, the worst thing that could happen is they could convince you and prove you were wrong.
If someone were to say “the holocaust never happened,” people shouldn’t try and stop him from saying it, they should instead let him say why he thinks what he’s saying is correct, then point out why he’s wrong and an idiot for holding that opinion. The same system used to suppress distasteful ideas can also be used to stamp-out reasonable arguments. It’s similar to how everyone who was pro-Hillary/anti-Trump would be in favor of the electoral college if Trump had won the presidency by popular vote instead of the electoral college: it’s important to support principle, not person.
Censorship is the tool of those who cannot argue with reason, because if someone has faith in their facts then they would let every point of view be stated. If someone never consults other people about what they feel strongly about, and why they feel that way, their motives and opinions will never move past only caring about themselves.

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The student news site of Serrano High School
The threat of censorship in a free society