I’m Stumped
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I’m Stumped

Be Careful How You Silence

I’m not ready to make an argument about it yet. I think it is a very complicated issue. But I’m not sure I love Amazon, Google, Apple, Twitter, etc. acting more as filter than communication platform. I’m not going to defend what Trump, his supporters or the folks on Parler have been saying. We have to have censorship for things like defamation and incitement to violence and we have to protect the rights of private companies to sets standards for their services.

But…right now, these companies are blocking communication that I personally think is dangerous, wrong, misleading and worth being blocked.

What about tomorrow? What if next time communications that I think are critical, helpful and important are suddenly not popular?

Again, I’m not making an argument here. I’m not saying what these companies are doing is wrong. Right now, I’m just taking a moment to voice some discomfort. I am reminded of first reading a case in law school about when the ACLU defended members of the KKK when they believed their civil liberties were being violated. They have done so several times since I believe. The idea was that you have to defend everyone’s civil rights or all you are doing is setting up a pendulum where only those in power have rights.

There are times when the marketplace of ideas must reject certain ideas. And there are times when, to protect our citizenry and society, we must place limits on people’s speech or provide consequences for certain types of “bad” speech. But we must do that with extreme caution and we must be especially careful when our doing it aligns with our personal beliefs and biases.

I have no sympathy for Trump being removed from Twitter or the nutjobs threatening Mike Pence’s life being shut down on Parler. But I think we all need to move very slowly and cautiously as we rally behind censorship. Just because your views may carry the day today, no one stays in power forever. We are usually on safer ground when we reject an idea rather than the speaker’s right or ability to share it.

Just something to ponder.

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Joshua Stump

Joshua Stump

I am a Dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a follower of Jesus, a lawyer, a songwriter, and just generally someone with a lot of strong opinions about stuff.