Censorious People

Ever notice that when someone has lost an argument on any topic, somehow that person reverts to ad hominem attacks against their opponent or at a minimum, smug condescension? It’s not a liberal or conservative thing from my experience although it seems I see a lot more liberals devovle than conservatives but yes, I’ve seen the same reaction to losing an argument no matter the ideology. with some, there doesn’t even have to be an ideological component, but then, we all know that if you peel back that onion just a little bit, ideology is always present.

The issue for me is in there are so many digital platforms now for people to make their claims and it’s almost impossible to keep up with the latest/greatest claim. I’m not in favor of platforms deleting content because it may not check a particular political or social box, in fact platforms like Twitter, Facebook, nstagram, unless the content can be shown to be harmful to people(remember eating Tide Pods?) is nothing more than someone’s opinion and their selective facts to make it seem true.

Years ago, a close friend who was a moon-landing denier (he believed, whole-heartedly, the moon landings were faked) gave me a dense tome on that very subject. As I write this, I cannot recall the name but let me say it was several hundred pages in length with all kinds of charts and original Apollo 11 photos that somehow showed the moon landings were fabricated. I always found that difficult because, well, think about it: thousands of people would have to be involved in such a fraud. Tens of thousands. So, a long airplane trip ensued where I began reading this book and continued on a week or so after to finish it. It was very convincing if you had no availability to any information other than what the authors presented.

What’s really bizarre to me is the level of, I don’t know how to describe it well, hate?, that seems to spew from the mouths, the keyboards (mostly, because these people are cowards and would never say some of the things they type in Twitter or Facebook, directly to another person’s face.) even the videos because, well, they can’t be touched and as long as they are not directly threatening another person, they can say whatever nonsense they want. That’s a good thing, by the way. People should be able to espouse pretty much whatever they want because you can’t stamp out nonsense if people have never heard it, can you?

Some people though, would prefer that they were the constables of truth. These are the book burners of another era. Do we really want to support these people that want to rewrite history and destroy our fragile culture? I recently bought a copy of Mark Twain’s seminal classic, Huckleberry Finn which, believe it or not, has been banned in many school districts across our country. Why? A word. An ugly word for sure, but in it’s historical context, necessary I think for people to know how some citizens of this country were treated until, really, more recent times.

If it were up to some people, it wouldn’t be just books like Finn that would be banned, but any book that did not ascribe to a certain dogma that even now is being forced down the throats of school children,.What’s really interesting to me is that demographically, these people are not a majority, but a noisy minority. So, as we used to say, ”The squeaky wheel get’s the grease”, has become more prophetic as time goes along than what we used to think.

What we need more than ever today are disparate voices of reason. Now that seems funny doesn’t it? Reason comes in many flavors and is not just science oriented but socially and culturally as well. As we’ve discovered the past couple of years, we can’t alway depend on a single source to solve issues, we need the diaspora of thought because that’s hope, in the past we’ve been able to garner truth. My friend, who gave me the book on moon landings passed away a few years ago and no matter how many times we discussed that particular subject, never gave up on the idea that these were faked. There’s always going to be those ideas that will not go away (The sniper on the grassy knoll, JFK assassination, 1963) and no matter the evidence will always be believed. Should we censor those voices because we disagree with their conclusions? Shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to hear these voices?

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