The time for censorship

Cătălin Avramescu(Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section / 12 ianuarie

The time for censorship

Twitter has permanently shut down the Donald Trump's account. For some, that may seem like good news. The man has done much lately. Some of his actions may even land him in court. But my problem, right now, is not what he's done.

In Romania, only one of my friends uses Twitter. For rather obscure reasons, that network is almost unknown in Romania. But in America it is extremely popular. That is why the issue of Donald Trump getting censored by Twitter has major significance.

I started this article with a mention of Trump just to be a bit provocative. Just to rile people up, you could say. But Twitter has been in an authoritarian drift for a while now. The cherry on the cake was the locking of the account of the New York Post newspaper right before the presidential elections.

The paper had a scoop about Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, which involved him an international corruption affair. The head of Twitter, a certain Jack Dorsey, did not have any issue with the account of Iran, which posts aggressive messages against Israel. Nor with that of the People's Republic of China, which spills propaganda and disinformation.

Conservative opinions are also censored on Facebook. Another friend saw his account suspended tens of times in the last few years because he was "reported". We are not talking about an agitator, but by a college professor. I am really wondering what the people who suspended his account were thinking.

On YouTube, Prager University is struggling to have his educational movies.

In the Google app store, apps like Parler, which were used by conservatives to exchange messages, were banned.

The examples can span an entire newspaper page. The idea is simple.

There is a concerted effort to suppress conservative voices. (I would rather call them "liberals" in the classical sense, but the term has become so abused that it no longer has a clear meaning).

The first question if of course: who? Who are those who have imposed censorship on the major social networks? We are talking about the major owners of these companies. Unlike most rich people from a century ago, who were mostly right wing, some of the m even being reactionary right-wing, now most of these media and IT moguls are left-wing, some of them professing ideas of the Far Left. (Why, it is a more complicated story).

The second question is: why now? The simple answer is: because now was the time. For the left, the pandemic was a godsend. It has exploited the opportunity to create a wave of hysteria. It has used the moment to enunciate all kinds of wacky ideas and to demonize its opponents. But in particular, it has caught the moment to introduce, while it was in power, authoritarian measures.

Historically speaking, that has happened every time in the last century. When a major crisis occurred, governments had an excuse to place their foot on the neck of individual freedoms and rights. During WW1, president Wilson brutally suppressed almost any dissident voice. During WW2, economic planning was introduced in the United States. During the major crisis, of 1929-1933, Roosevelt had made it his plan to destroy the Supreme Court, because it was in his way.

The phenomenon has sometimes been described as "wartime socialism." Excessive regulation, aggressive propaganda, silencing those who have an opinion other than the official one, confiscation of private property, burdensome taxes, collectivism.

It is normal for a government to have increased powers during an emergency. But there are two complications here. The first: often, governments take more than they are entitled to. The second - and the worst one: once the emergency passes (whether real or invented), restrictions are rarely lifted. Often times the entire political regime changes from the ground up.

Here is an example.

The European Union has taken advantage of the pandemic to give itself a hitherto unknown power. That of being the only official, monopolistic client in the European space. He claimed that vaccines should be bought centrally. As if ultra-rich countries like Sweden or Denmark were beggars kept at the door by the evil multinationals ...

Where did we end up with this circus? Apparently nowhere. What was supposed to be a triumph for the bureaucrats in Brussels is about to turn into a scandal. Many states, quicker and less burdened by enlightened bureaucracies, have acquired more vaccines. They have approved them faster. And they have distributed them more efficiently. The absolute leader in terms of vaccinations is ... Israel. Followed by (out of the Western Democracies)... the United States and Great Britain. Whoops!

Normally, we would be having a debate right now. Bureaucratic centralism or free market? I doubt that the premises for an honest talk exist, as long as the liberal voices are being systematically suppressed on the "social" networks.

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