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Censorship is rampant in American society: a totalitarian menace

di Atlantico Quotidiano, in Cultura, Media, Quotidiano, del

Riceviamo e volentieri pubblichiamo questo intervento di Armando Simón*

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
George Washington

I had always thought of Americans having the concept of freedom embedded in their DNA. If you had told me that there would be Americans unashamedly arguing in favor of censorship, and, that the advocates would be numerous, I would have said that you were drunk.

And, if you had further told me that the main proponents of censorship would be precisely the very people who benefit from freedom and who have in the past objected to any sort of censorship, I would have suspected you of having stopped taking your psychotropic medication.

And, yet… here we are. There is another bizarre aspect to this situation and it is that, historically, censorship has been imposed from above by a ruling body. This is the first instance in history where a sizeable portion of the citizenry has implemented censorship (in my stage play, Conundrum, I explored the question of whether if the citizens of a democracy want a dictatorship, should the dictatorship be implemented).

And it further needs to be pointed out that the people agitating for censorship are not what is referred to as libertarians or conservatives, but rather what is described as leftists (also called activists, liberals, social justice warriors, progressives, etc.). This is important because the same people who demand censorship are the ones portraying themselves as noble, tolerant, benevolent and humanitarian, while demonizing the rest.

Censorship is not an isolated feature, it is rather, rather, part of a phenomenon that is sweeping the country: totalitarianism. I come from Cuba and I have Russian and Ukrainian friends and what is happening in the United States and Canada has a disturbing familiarity to the point that we are experiencing déjà vu. Nor are we three alone in this. Other former inhabitants of the Iron Curtain, such as Poles, other Ukrainians, Romanians, Czechoslovakians, many other Russians, Chinese and other Cubans, are frantically warning of this menace. And we all feel like we are modern day Cassandras, a feeling that was also felt by others during the Cold War (“You hate our Cassandra cries and resent us as allies but, when all is said, we ex-Communists are the only people on your side who know what it’s all about.” Arthur Koestler).

The contemporary totalitarian cancer originated in universities and has metastasized and entered every institution, every aspect of society. Most people think of totalitarianism as being characterized by censorship, secret police and a dictator and that is true, but it is much more than that. Totalitarianism is total. Every aspect of society is politicized: film, education, sports, theater, food, art, books, science.

Which brings me back to censorship in America. When I went to college, in a couple of classes, we were divided into two groups and told to advocate opposite positions on war, slavery, censorship, etc. Coming from an argumentative Cuban family I took to the exercise like fish to water, regardless of the topic or position, switching back and forth, to the point that one of the teachers scowled at how well I was representing the side that he personally opposed while the rest of the participants resorted to obvious caricatures. One of the things that I learned from those exercises, and later from philosophy classes, was that any idea, any policy, any action, no matter how absurd, or immoral, could be justified with the right choice of words. Think about the fact that in the past there have been cults of suicide (Jonestown, Masada, others), even castration cults (Heaven’s Gate, Dera Sacha Sauda, others) where the participants were simply convinced with words.

In the university I also learned the word “sophist.” Universities are infested with them.

In the past four years I have catalogued hundreds and hundreds of instances of censorship in universities, the media and the internet, and advocacy for censorship by politicians. I will cite a few to give a feel for the different ways that censorship is implemented and promoted and because some sophists claim there is no censorship in any of these venues.

POLITICIANS

—At CNN, California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu declared that “I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech.”

Democrat House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth called for banning teens from wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) caps.

Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro introduced a bill to eliminate the words “alien” and “illegal alien” from the English language.

—At CNN, Democrat Beto O’Rourke stated that Breitbart News, Fox News, and Sinclair News are terrorist organizations. Obviously, terrorist organizations must be destroyed.

—Representative Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat, wants to make it illegal to criticize or make fun of Congress.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the blonde blue eyed fraudulent “Indian” wants Facebook to censor contents that may be harmful to some Democratic politicians.

—Howard Dean, who ran for the presidency and was the head of the Democratic Party, declared that, “Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment.”

Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff introduced a bill that would curtail the First Amendment when it applies to electoral campaigns.

—All of the 2020 Democratic primary candidates advocated “regulating” “hate speech” and “white nationalism” speech. Kamala Harris demanded that President Trump’s Twitter account be deleted. Previously, in 1974, Biden had bragged that politicians could take away the First Amendment. Comrade Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders had a different plan.

UNIVERSITIES

Over 90 per cent of colleges impose censorship, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Some examples:

—The University of British Columbia at the last minute canceled a talk by Andy Ngo, who was going to speak on the violence constantly being perpetrated by the Communist domestic terrorist group, Antifa. The reason was that Antifa threatened violence if Ngo was allowed to speak.

—At the University of Maine, the College Republicans have, through a series of tactics by leftists in the university, become disbanded and in disarray. Conveniently, this served to cancel a talk by Michelle Malkin, a legal immigrant from the Philippines (a Woman of Color!).

—There is a movement afoot in Yale to “decolonize” the English Department by removing white authors such as Shakespeare, Poe, and Chaucer because being exposed to those writers is harmful.

—At the West Point High School, teacher Peter Vlaming was fired for refusing to use a transgender student’s “preferred pronoun.”

—Students at New York University disrupted a lecture by Gavin McInnes who was physically attacked.

—A group of students in Claremont McKenna College demanded that a campus publication, The Claremont Independent be censored.

The student staff of the campus paper Wellesley News asserted that free speech should only be implemented by leftists. This declaration was part of Wellesley’s Censorship Awareness Week.

Cornell University’s Student Assembly passed a resolution condemning free speech.

—In St. Louis University, students disrupted a lecture by visiting Congressman Allen West critical of jihadists.

—The Black Students’ Organization at Columbia University demanded that the College Republicans chapter be defunded.

—A group of students at Reed College in Portland, along with their administrative cheerleaders, eliminated white authors from Humanities 101 course and now demand that the same occur with literature.

—Michael Moreno of Weber University documented his racist Debate professor as a mediocrity who denies the existence of planets and space and seems to be proficient only at screaming, but is qualified at teaching at a university simply because he is black, and racist, and stupid, and homosexual. Retaliation against Moreno was swift.

INTERNET

As a former U.S. Army intelligence officer has put it, “an Iron Curtain has descended on America” in referring to the internet.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey denies that Twitter imposes censorship. Later, the company admitted to shadowbanning people with the wrong viewpoints.

—YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki appeared on 60 Minutes claiming that YouTube was fair to all content creators. Yet, 60 Minutes found 300 pro-Trump ads had been taken down. YouTube later gave YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki the Freedom Expression Award (you can’t make this stuff up).

Twitter banned the Center for Immigration Studies from using the term “illegal immigrants” as being “hate speech.”

—The feisty, and hugely popular, black sisters, Diamond and Silk, have a huge following. Facebook censored their content which made them go ballistic. The sisters were deemed “a threat to the community.”

Pinterest promptly fired an employee for revealing to Project Veritas documents that Pinterest classified the pro-life group Live Action as a porn site, so that people would avoid the site.

—The satirical website The People’s Blog has for sale The People’s Cube, a takeoff on Rubik’s Cube. The site is run by an anti-Communist Russian. In the former, all the tiles are red. Facebook blocked the sale of the cube as a sex toy.

—Documents were uncovered that Soros-funded groups worked hand in hand with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, and Pinterest to censor ideological blasphemy and undercut political rivals’ support.

—David Horowitz was censored by Twitter for condemning anti-Semitism. So was his colleague, Jamie Glasov.

—Twitter has refused to uphold its own harassment rules when it comes to the domestic terrorist group, Antifa. Nor the harassment by Brian Sims. It also took them 48 hours to removed death threats against the Covington children.

—Radical feminist, Meghan Murphy, was permanently banned from Twitter for stating that (transgender) men are not women.

— YouTube became famously notorious in frantically censoring the dissenting medical opinions of Drs. Erickson and Massihi regarding the response to covid, in what was tantamount to a game of Wack-A-Mole.

Twitter’s censorship rules are disgusting, or laughable, depending on your point of view.

—Leftists embedded inside Visa and Mastercard are making sure that donations/payments/financial support to conservative sites, especially through the internet, are blocked, thereby financially strangulating such sites. This tactic has been echoed in YouTube which demonetized conservative videos.

—Francisco José Contreras, deputy to Spain’s far-right Vox Party, was suspended by Twitter for saying that a man cannot get pregnant. Contreras means “contrary.”

—I was permanently banned from Facebook without being told why.

THE MEDIA

Journalism as a respectable profession is dead in the United States. American journalists killed it. They, of course, indignantly deny it with their usual arrogance, but they are indeed the culprit. These individuals are no longer journalists, they are now peddlers of propaganda. Here are examples of censorship through ignoring.

—When Joani Sanchez, the courageous Cuban dissident and blogger, made a visit to the United States, there was a blackout in the national media. It became a nonevent.

—The only times that one can learn of the terrorist activities of Antifa is by postings on YouTube that at times are quickly taken down.

—The Ladies in White of Cuba have regularly participated in peaceful marches and each time they have been set upon by government goons. By journalistic standards, this has never happened. And, of course, there are no dissidents in Communist Cuba because everyone is so happy with the dictatorship. Nonetheless, they received the Sakharov Prize.

—The numerous massacres of Christians in Nigeria, Iraq and elsewhere are deliberately ignored by the national media.

—Numerous doctors have come out against the fiasco response to the covid virus. None of the networks has interviewed them at length. Nor of the retaliation against them for rendering a second opinion. Instead, the networks continue to promote panic.

—The numerous accomplishments of President Trump were consistently ignored or misrepresented by the media.

—During the covid epidemic, several Democratic governors crammed nursing homes with persons who were infected, thereby increasing the number of deaths in the elderly. The media has ignored this mass murder.

—When George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin when the latter attacked him, Martin was made to appear as an innocent child, with numerous details being deliberately omitted by the media. Now, after the trial, the media likewise has ignored the fraudulent activities that took place during the trial.

—No media has reported on Biden’s obvious senility.

—The recent epidemic of physical attacks on Asians has been by blacks, but the media refuses to acknowledge the fact.

—When impeachment hearings were taking place in the House of Representatives, I tabulated the amount of time that the networks allocated to voicing the Republican and Democratic viewpoints were disproportionate. Tthe average was:

Intelligence Committee
Day 1: Democrat 3 minutes 45 secs; Republican 51 secs
Day 2: Democrat 3 minutes 15 secs; Republican 27 secs
Day 3: Democrat 6 minutes 18 secs; Republican 2 minutes 12 secs
Day 4: Democrat 6 minutes 31 secs; Republican 52 secs
Day 5: Democrat 6 minutes 32 secs; Republican 2 minutes 12 secs
Day 6: Democrat 3 minutes 44 secs; Republican 5 secs

Judicial Committee
Day 1: Democrat 3 minutes 32 secs; Republican 1 minute 25 secs
Day 2: Democrat 7 minutes 25 secs; Republican 41 secs
Day 3: Democrat 25 secs; Republican 30 secs

So, yes, censorship is rampant in American society. Censorship is being advocated by totalitarians using a wide array of euphemisms: “cancel,” “de-colonizing,” “hate speech,” “racist,” “divisive,” “incites violence,” “hurtful speech,” “systemic inequality,” “regulating,” and other buzzwords. There are many variations on the censorship themes, and the implications, and the significance, are much wider than just censorship of speech or press.

Let us start with something simple, like comedy. Both in the UK and in the United States, comedians have complained of being attacked/canceled for making jokes about certain topics or sacred cows. The Babylon Bee, a satirical website has actually been fact-checked in the past by leftist institutions. Perhaps because “it incites violence.”1 The shackling of comedy is a serious matter. Apropos of this, isn’t it interesting that the Soviet Union never had comedy? Not in films, not in clubs, not in circuses, not in television. The same is true of China, North Korea, and Cuba. (This may explain why clowns in the Soviet Union were so popular).

Comedy aside, we also have the numerous attempts at censoring formal disciplines out of existence. Aggressive, vociferous groups of people have demanded that literature, history, science, art, mathematics be “de-colonized,” which simply means they be censored. Mathematics, for example, is a haven for “white supremacy” because of insistence that 2+2=4 and, as anyone who has read “1984” will attest, 2+2 can equal five; besides, everyone knows that the numbers 8, 1,2, 12,13 are racist. History is declared “racist” so it must be rewritten with fraudulent facts and cynical interpretations as well as suppressing events and people, example being the 1619 Project. In art, using mathematics, such as the Fibonacci ratio, is racist, and used by Nazis, and so is using white marble in sculpture. Acronyms are also racist and should not be used. Good literature is also full of white authors, such as Shakespeare and must be removed. Overall, there is a push in numerous universities that Western Civilization courses be eliminated, either as a whole, or piecemeal. The editor of JAMA was fired for questioning sacred leftist dogma, specifically that there is “structural racism” in medicine.

Consequently, when we fight for freedom of speech, we are also simultaneously fighting for art, for history, for theater, for literature, for science, for mathematics, for medicine. And when you take into account how much language is being mangled, we are even fighting to save the dictionary.

There is one silver lining. The US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and press, which will not be suppressed by governmental agencies. It is the supreme legal authority of the land (which might explain Democrat attempts at packing the Supreme Court so that it would rule that “hate speech” can, indeed be censored). Successful counterattacks have taken place in state universities, where the censoring policies have been reversed, though the media and the internet continue to suppress views and facts that go against the politically correct ideology. However:

Canada has no freedom of speech.
England has no freedom of speech.
Germany has no freedom of speech.
Sweden has no freedom of speech.
Holland has no freedom of speech.
Scotland has no freedom of speech.

1 The traditional manual OK sign is now generally considered racist because the three fingers really mean white and the O formed, with the fingers, means power, hence white power. What is not generally known, is that this trope began as a dare in the website Gab. Several individuals said that if they spread this rumor, leftists would believe it and run with it, whereas other individuals in the website said that no one could possibly be so stupid as to believe that. And so, a bet was made. They made the assertion a few times in other sites and it was instantly picked up as the truth.

* Armando Simón is a trilingual native of Cuba, a retired psychologist with a degree in history. He is the author of several stage plays, as well as “When Evolution Stops”, “The U”, “Very Peculiar Stories” and “A Prison Mosaic”. Another book, “Pandemic or No Pandemic I’m Getting Married!!” will be available soon.

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