The Founding Fathers regularly used pseudonyms in their published writings throughout the country’s birth. This allowed them not only to avoid retribution for speaking honestly but it also allowed them to focus on ideas rather than superficial issues of their personal life, status or state of residence.
A New Yorker for example might have been predisposed to ignore Madison from Virginia and a Virginian might have ignored the views of Hamilton in New York, both based on cultural and regional biases. Both would be wrong because we know Madison and Hamilton worked together on The Federalist Papers, along with John Jay in promoting the new Constitution under the pseudonym Publius.
Some of the Anti-Federalist Papers were also published anonymously under the pseudonym Brutus. The ability to speak or publish with anonymity has always been a way to remove distraction and allow one’s views to stand or fall on their merits. It equally allows one to challenge views in the same way. This is the point of public discourse and a national conversation.
That freedom is now under assault by people and organizations that ultimately desire to silence the voice of those they disagree with. Twitter is now requiring a phone number to be associated with an account. Google and Facebook may not yet be requiring such but are actively promoting it for security reasons. It is important to recognize that these three companies are among the most often accused of censorship.
Allowing these companies to possess personally identifying information like a phone number is in fact granting them the ability not only to quietly diminish your voice in the public conversation. This is done in a variety of ways. Facebook administrators may suspend your accounts for violations of terms which they often do not explain and can then successfully block you from creating new accounts with enough information put together like phone numbers, IP addresses, physical addresses given through selling on their Marketplace and so forth.
Some will argue it is their right to associate with whom they wish, but that’s not legally true if they possess a monopoly and if they receive legal protections by acting as an open forum rather than a publisher. Twitter and Google have also actively censored conservative voices. Twitter is reported to have shadow-banned sitting members of Congress and Google is actually being sued for de-monetizing a Presidential candidate.
These acts are obviously not in the public interest, and more troubling, they reflect a tyrannical streak in the tech culture that reveals a startling antagonism toward basic tenants of liberty. This can can only lead in one direction. These tools that dismantle anonymity lead at best to censorship and what follows is the threat of violence against unpopular speech.
Doxing, the publishing of people’s personal information, is now leading to a new level of antagonism toward speech. Tucker Carlson recently had his home laid siege to by a mob to terrorize his family. A similar mob descended on Majority Leader McConnell’s home shouting threats of murder among other things. A Congressman recently published the information of Trump donors, leading to personal threats against private citizens.
This will absolutely lead to the incitement of murder and it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Far from stepping back from this the tyrannical left appears to be embracing this chaos in its sustained attack on speech it doesn’t like. Honest discourse is not the goal but rather, the acquisition of power at any cost.
Anonymous speech has been a part of the American tradition since the beginning. It frees the citizenry to speak openly and honestly without distraction or fear of retribution. It is the only way to ensure that the public can have an open discussion about the issues without censorship or threat of violence. Yes, this means there will be ugly speech. That is a good thing rather than a detriment.
Bad ideas should be shared and confronted rather than silenced. People without a voice will grow frustrated at being treated unfairly and resentment will certainly grow into a temptation towards violence. Hate speech is speech by definition. Haters need their voice as well to be heard and also to be challenged. A right response might very well change a heart. Shutting people up will certainly feed the hate that exists and create it if it doesn’t.
Among many good things about Gab is the ability to speak anonymously and share one’s ideas and thoughts without fear. Another is to disagree with someone, again, anonymously and without fear. In time, this environment will add to the nation’s the discourse in ways we can hardly predict, and that can only lead to a securing of liberty for the American people. We used to believe in that across the political spectrum. Hopefully we will again.
Guest blog submission from BrewBilly
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