The End of the Free Internet Is Near by Declan Mccullagh (

So far, at least, the U.S. government has yet to appoint a chief censor. But Silicon Valley's coastal elites have been eager to volunteer their services gratis.

The last year has marked a dispiriting new low in the "deplatforming," or banning from various online channels, of dissident voices. The ax fell on Infowars' Alex Jones, actor James Woods, the editorial director of, the director of the Ron Paul Institute, and radio talk show host Jesse Kelly. (Some of these accounts have since been reinstated.)

Lawmakers have encouraged these social media bans. Congressional hearings have been called to interrogate tech execs on how their products are being used. Last August, Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Conn.) urged an even broader crackdown, proclaiming on Twitter that "the survival of our democracy depends on it."

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D–Miss.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, must have been listening. In March, Thompson sent a letter to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft insisting that they remove "toxic and violent" content, even if it is legal to distribute in the United States. (The platforms already prohibit illegal content.) If the companies are "unwilling" to do so voluntarily, Thompson warned, Congress will "consider policies" to compel their cooperation. Left unexplained was how any such requirement could comply with the First Amendment.

Thoughts on Simpleism by Nitin Khanna (Nitin Khanna)

Is simpleism compatible at a societal level?

Based on the definition my answer would be no. Europe only barely managed to survive the simpleism (ignorance is blessed) period of history called the Dark Ages. Rome had fallen and so had European intelligence. Ignorance and authoritarianism prospered.

Europe only came out of that awful period and entered a period of enlightenment after Muslims (Moors) had established a colony in Iberia (Spain/Portugal) and brought with them Asian mathematics and science.

We can already see what simple thinking and " my truth is the only truth I need " thinking looks like at the societal level by reading the tweets of the current POTUS and the writings of climate deniers and anti-vaxxers, and the actions of many current world leaders. What kind of society would we have if everyone was ignorant or used simplistic thinking?

But I am biased. I have degrees in physics, math and engineering, I rejected religions -- it's the same old tribal sky gods nonsense -- some time ago and decided that learning and reason would be my guide to life. I think knowledge is power. Power to make decisions. Power to protect me and my family from the harm ignorance can do.

Ignorance is defined as lack of knowledge or information. So is ignorance really bliss? Or is it just being lazy?Alex Traczyk

But I do agree that too much bad journalism and threatening behaviour from people in a position of power is doing damage to us all (and putting into a constant state of fear).

For that reason, I read less news and I have not regularly watched TV news in over 20 years. I use the Apple News app just once a week. I use Twitter even less than that and Facebook only to check certain groups. But I can do that because at work and in daily life I am around others who do watch and read the news. They tell me when something important happens.

To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.Socrates

I see simpleism (or will ignorance) as a form of apathy; the willful avoidance of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern about something of great importance. Perhaps some people feel they do not possess the level of skill required to confront the challenges of the world. But retreating to headspace won’t fix the problems or make them go away.

FYI, you may enjoy this podcast, An IQ2US Thanksgiving Tradition.

NOTE: If my facts are wrong or I have interpreted anything incorrectly, I am ready to be schooled.

Why our fear of division blinds us to the real threat to democracy (Drew Downs)

It isn’t the right which is prone to authoritarianism or the left: it’s the middle.

Based on the surveys, centrists offered less support for democracy and more for authoritarianism than both the left and right.

The main reason for this support should be obvious: centrists like when the trains run on time. Centrists are more risk-averse and tension-averse. And because of that, it would seem, that of the three groups, they are least interested in the messiness of democracy. In other words, when democracy gets too messy, centrists are more likely to abandon it.

So what do these two pieces combine to reveal?

FYI. I’m not a Christian. I’m not religious. I just like the way Drew thinks and writes.