The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.Marcus Aurelius
I don’t consider democracy a perfect arrangement for society, like all systems it has good points and bad.
Winston Churchill described democracy as:
The worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Neither would I support replacing a hard-won system, paid for with millions of lives, with a dictatorship. The 75th anniversary of VE Day was a reminder of how close we came to living and dying under tyranny.
But democracy should be honoured across the world and practised the way people preach about it. Instead, however, we have a dichotomy of winners and losers; of free thinkers and the censored.
The removal of David Icke’s social media accounts on Youtube and Facebook results from a minority seeking to silence someone they vehemently oppose.
The lobbyists have trampled over the human right of free speech.
The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), and other media commentators, don’t like what Icke says, or what he believes. But despite having evidence to counter Icke’s claims, the CCDH fear people will pay attention and follow Icke’s narrative.
The CCDH has a right to be heard, share its views and bring forward supporting evidence, irrespective of its political agenda.
Therefore, the driving force behind censorship is fear.
Fear of losing the argument.
Can you recall other examples from the past when one group tries to silence its opponents?
The Rights of the Individual
I am an individual, and so are you.
We should demand to be free to hear different opinions and be allowed to make up our minds.
There is no one person or organisation I consider good enough to be my moral guardian.
Google (Youtube), Facebook or other corporations crumble too quickly at the faintest whiff of controversy. However, their social media networks are replete with far-out theories and concepts.
Why should industry-leading businesses need to protect us from flat earth theorists, UFO spotters and ghost investigators?
Will proponents of strange phenomena be next on the list for silencing?
Censoring what we see and hear is an attempt to censor what we think.
I admit there are silly people in the world.
After several social media stories alleging 5G links to the pandemic, some irresponsible people set fire to 5G transmitters in England.
There are some people easily led, but that shouldn’t mean the media silence the conspiracy theorists or filter what we see and hear.
I am content to examine the medical and scientific debates on the safety of 5G.
What is Democracy Anyway?
As a system of government in which laws, policies, leadership, and undertakings of a state or other polity are directly or indirectly decided by the “people.”
But as historians accredit the origins of democracy to the ancient Greeks, we find freedom only applied to a few, e.g. free males in ancient Athens.
There are more recent examples of poorly applied democracy. Up to 1969 in Northern Ireland, business owners were allowed more than one vote in parliamentary elections.
Like the Holy Bible, democracy continues to be open to interpretation.
Democracy projects the notions of freedom, peace and independent living, but what is democratic about the following?
- A majority dictating to a minority – the UK’s Brexit referendum concluded with a vote to leave the EU by a slim 4% (52% for v 48% against). The nation became divided because of democracy.
- In 2016 Donald Trump became President of USA with 46% of the popular vote, whereas his opponent Hillary Clinton attracted 48% and lost.
- The prevention of same-sex marriage (it became legal in Northern Ireland in October 2019 but only through the UK parliament while Northern Ireland’s devolved government hibernated).
Democracy isn’t about everyone living the life they want; it’s about the majority trumping the minority, except when it is the other way around.
My thinking so far is this:
- Democracy means a majority rule, but it may not always be the most substantial majority.
- Freedom provides a playground for pressure groups to dominate and lobby for influence.
- All opinions are not equal.
- Censorship can be disguised as protective action, used to protect the less discerning members of the public.
The Perils of Free Speech
Democracy and free speech are two different concepts.
While democracy is a form of government selection and law-making, free speech is about personal expression.
“Freedom of speech is the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, by any means.” – Amnesty UK
Note, of all kinds. I support Amnesty’s level-headed definition of free speech.
Amnesty reflects the fine line between incitement to hate and genuine issues of conscience.
However, Amnesty’s caveat, i.e. to support restrictions if they protect the public interest, could be used by others to justify actions against David Icke.
Where society draws the line between opinion and public misinformation is subjective and open to competition between groups. The most powerful groups, or those who can create the most discomfort to the power-holders, have the advantage.
If we see narratives which conflict with the government’s as misinformation, we kill free speech on the spot.
The public, people in the media and political opposition parties, have a duty to hold the government to account and challenge the official line.
We all have a responsibility to choose our words carefully. Wars have started with words, and, wars have been prevented with words.
With words, we can make people cry, make people feel loved or inadequate.
But there is one thing more dangerous than words, and that’s censorship.
The curtailment of words amounts to suffocating thought and opinion on world issues.
David Icke holds many theories, including:
- The real motivation behind the 9/11 attacks is to induce fear and erode civil freedoms.
- Some of the world’s most influential people are descendants of ancient alien visitors.
- Earth and the human population are manipulated by powers emanating from the moon.
While some of these theories derive from stories of ancient civilisations and legends of alien astronauts, it should be up to individuals to decide on their merit.
In the democratic world, we must be free to think, reflect and make our minds up.
Censorship has risks beyond public rebellion.
Those who believe they are performing a public service by switching off the voice of opponents, create an increased supply of publicity.
Censorship backfired on Margaret Thatcher when she tried to cut off the “oxygen of publicity” from Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams in the 1980s.
CCDH will fail in their attempt to silence David Icke.
The technology companies offer services and are entitled to set their terms and conditions. They should also be more resilient in the face of lobbyists and their hidden agendas.
Consider the following:
- Do we eradicate UFO theorists?
- Silence people with a view on who shot President John F Kennedy?
- Destroy evidence of ancient world civilisations?
- Burn the books of Zecharia Sitchin such as The 12th Planet, and his translations of Sumerian texts?
- Quieten anyone who believes a spiritual God created the human race?
In one fell swoop, the internet has dealt with people who believe in strange events or concepts.
They have been labelled Conspiracy Theorists, who in turn are labelled crackpots by the media.
If you are passionate about debunking another viewpoint, bring forward your counter-argument, the evidence for your case. Don’t try to silence your opponent or have them written off as crackpots.
Technology companies should be impartial, protective of the vulnerable remove those who incite hate. But no organisation should assume the right to filter information to the population.
The fact is, free speech isn’t constant.
Free speech is a competition; there will always be winners and losers.
David Icke lost with Google and Facebook. He may lose with others too.
Of one thing, I am sure. The brave men and women who died in two world wars didn’t die to protect freedom for a few; they died to preserve freedom for everyone.
David Icke’s loss is everyone’s.