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Sunday Paper - Privatizing Censorship

The End of the Free Internet Is Near by Declan Mccullagh (Reason.com)

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 AntiWar.com, 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.

The idea that the internet should enjoy minimal government oversight precisely because it was a technology that enabled open and free speech for everyone has been turned on its head. #indieweb

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Is simpleism compatible at a societal level?

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…

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Swindled by authoritarianism

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.

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