August 9, 2017 (Radiance Foundation) — Why is it that the self-proclaimed evangelists of tolerance always seem to have a zero-tolerance policy? Tech giants that run the world’s largest platforms of public discourse — Google, Facebook and Twitter — are the least likely to allow the diversity of opinion. They regularly ban content with which they disagree, promote mainstream media’s #fakenews while promising to eliminate fake news, present false hierarchy of trending hashtags, prevent access to websites (sometimes millions of them), and daily silence those who don’t espouse a liberal worldview. And it’s not just overly-aggressive or error-prone algorithms that are to blame. Humans create those algorithms. And scores of human “content reviewers” manually remove truth, literally impacting public opinion and even elections.
This should alarm any free society.
These platforms are largely the disseminators of today’s news and information, but an Orwellian-sponsored form rigidly controlled by those who value (selective) Freedom from Offense more than Freedom.
Google warns about its users engaging in “hate speech” but doesn’t define what “hate” is. “Keep in mind that not everything that’s mean or insulting is hate speech,” is the closest they get to identifying it. But they warn users: “Don’t Cross the Line.” It’s hard to avoid crossing a line when there is no discernable line. Google-owned YouTube repeatedly shreds the First Amendment by valuing, first, their penchant to censor content that proves liberalism wrong.
James Damore, a Google employee, described himself as a “classical liberal” and penned an incredibly thoughtful memo on diversity at Google. But the deities of diversity quickly descended from their thrones and demanded complete allegiance to their doctrine of intolerance. He was immediately fired for offering a diverse opinion. I wonder if you can Google the enormity of the irony. Damore predicted the outcome in his 10-page critique: “…but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.” Shame on you, James Damore; you told the truth.
These organizations claim to be private companies; therefore, they don’t have to abide by the First Amendment. Yet these are the same leftist corporations demanding that every American business/business owner be bound by corporate America’s deeply flawed interpretation of the Constitution — namely the 14th Amendment’s “equality under the law” component. So, bakers, photographers, florists and other artists must submit to the (non-existent) Constitutional “right to be served”, no matter what, but an employee who dissents gets served a termination notice? These are the same billion-dollar bullies demanding other Americans leave their personal beliefs at the door of their business and accept everyone’s opinions and behaviors. But they never do.
Dear Social Media Titans: duplicity is not diversity. You want to dictate public potty policies, for instance, while ignoring your own cesspools of decaying workplace freedom. The hypocrisy reeks.
Don’t get me wrong. Words are revolutionary. They have the power to, literally, bring down or build up kingdoms. The book of James tells us the tongue has the power to speak Life or Death. As a Christian, I want to speak words that illuminate Truth, no matter the hostility of an increasingly secular culture that rejects it. We should all be mindful of our expressions, but no one should have the power to control or punish which words we use. Who wants to be told what they have to believe or what they have to say? Our First Amendment right of free speech isn’t a suggestion; it’s our foundation. I loathe the KKK and the utter stupidity of racism, but I believe even cowards in sheets and dunce caps should be able to spew their ignorant rhetoric—as long as it isn’t encouraging physical violence.
Twitter defines “hateful content” this way: “Hate speech or advocacy against a protected group or an individual or organization.” This includes race, ethnicity, national origin, “sexual orientation”, “gender identity”, religious affiliation, age, disability and so forth. Yet, Twitter actively shadow bans or revokes accounts regularly with which they ideologically disagree. And I’m not talking about terrorist accounts that encourage and glorify barbarity against another human being. Those vile cauldrons of actual hate should be shut down.
“Advocacy against” means any opinion that is contrary to their own and doesn’t affirm their propaganda-du-jour. Live Action’s prolife Twitter ads “violate their policies.” Ray Comfort’s “Audacity” trailer, which compassionately presents a Biblical perspective on homosexuality, was yanked by YouTube in July 2015. (Although, the whole movie is now available to view on YouTube.) I suspect my own organization’s (The Radiance Foundation’s) Twitter account, @LifeHasPurpose, is shadow banned, for being pro-life, pro-science, pro-factivism, and anti-liberalism. We’ve never posted a hateful tweet, but “hate” is in the clouded eye of the social media platform. Twitter, a multi-million-dollar American business that is able to exist because of the First Amendment, continually shows disdain for the freedom that birthed it.
The National Abortion Federation considers peaceful pro-life rhetoric and actions to be “hate speech.” Mainstream LGBTQXYZ activist groups have succeeded in New York City and in DC to cast “wrong” pronouns as finable hate speech. The radical leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, which suffers a poverty of morality, wields the label “hate” like a weapon against its political opponents.
This is not some brave-new world; we’ve seen this many times in humankind’s cyclical past. This is not inclusivity. The exclusion of differences of opinion in the public sphere is dangerous. It’s both thought-control and thoughtless, ignoring the historical ramifications of restricting speech. Zero tolerance is zero freedom.
Sorry Conservatives. Sorry (Biblically-adherent) Christians. Sorry dissenters of ever-oxymoronic political correctness. Get to the back of the free speech bus. I see where this is all going, and it’s a route that America cannot afford to take.
Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who is the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome munchkins. Ryan is a factivist, creative agitator, and international public speaker who loves illuminating that every human life has purpose.