Op-Ed: Reason, free speech and Big Tech

By | March 5, 2022


“He who will not reason is a bigot, he who cannot is a fool, and he who dares not is a slave.” — William Drummond, AD 1805

Reason is our individual capacity to independently grapple with the meaning of our lives. It enables us to navigate the world around us in pursuit of our goals. To the extent that we each employ logic, objectivity, a sense of proportion, common sense, and intellectual honesty, we utilize reason.

A commitment to reason involves a refusal to be complicit in our own self-delusion. A reasonable person always strives to distinguish between subjective opinion and objective reality.

Without reason, we could not function as free adults. We would have to be guided and managed by self-appointed elites who would act in loco parentus to the rest of us.

Since each of us has a unique life, the products of our reason will be individually distinct. Our conclusions are diverse.

Perspective and wisdom are best gained when we can talk with one another clearly. When we engage with other people in a substantive, free-wheeling, and unlimited discourse about our insights, the understanding of all is deepened.

Reasoned discussion can inoculate us against a loss of perspective, self-delusion, and propaganda. It is at the heart of any free society.

Citizens wrangle over matters of right and truth, of expediency and necessity, shaping our shared future. Leaders get elected as advocates of a certain viewpoint.

This is why our Founders included our right to the free and unfettered expression of our reason into the very First Amendment to our Constitution. American history is a multi-generational argument about how we best might live free.

Today’s public square, where we have this discussion, is in the hands of private companies. In the past, private enterprise could be trusted to serve profit by serving their customers.

But today, college graduates programmed to be politically correct influence corporate structures from below. The World Economic Forum and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) ratings shape policy from above. Ideology has eclipsed enterprise.

Technology companies have created our new public forums; forums where “User Agreements,” “Community Guidelines” and “Fact Checkers” have throttled free speech. When a tech company breaks from this monopolistic censorship, it is crushed. This was done to “Parler” in early 2021.

The Technology monopolies endanger the ongoing freedom of Americans more than did the Industrial monopolies of Rockefeller’s “Standard Oil” and Carnegie Steel. The old “Robber Barons” merely threatened our economic freedoms.

Today’s would-be Tech Lords are replacing freedom of speech with a politically correct echo chamber scrubbed clean of all dissenting views.

We must defend reason and free expression by breaking up the Big-Tech monopolies. We must ensure that the electronic forum is open to all.

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In Maine and then Idaho, Ralph K. Ginorio has taught the history of Western Civilization to high school students for nearly a quarter century. He is an “out-of-the-closet” Conservative educator with experience in special education, public schools and charter schools, grades 6-12. He has lived in Coeur d’Alene since 2014. Email: rginorio@cdapress.com

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