Even in an open and free society, some words are taboo. Usually those words are derogatory like the “N” word or a series of well known derogatory terms for Jews, Italians, Asian, Women, or Gays. Sadly, it seems the current administration is OK with these derogatory words, but finds more socially acceptable words such as “science-based,” or “transgender” to be off limits.
The censorship started early on in the Administration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when web sites mentioning climate change were severely edited or disappeared entirely. Administration censorship has reared its head again most recently at the CDC– Center for Disease Control where a series of words are now literally verbotin. These terms include “evidence-based,” “diversity” and “vulnerable.”
This has become a serious time when “fake news” is more commonly referenced than “fact based” arguments, science or policies. It fosters an environment to make people think what’s real is fake and vice versa.
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And now, this week, the FCC has decided to rollback regulations that ensure Net Those for the rollback will argue they are against increased government regulation, but ironically these regulations are to keep the internet open to all and not let any one group of companies dominate.
On the surface it doesn’t sound so ominous — who wouldn’t want a little less kitten pictures, Russian interference, and porn flowing so freely on the internet? But the dark side is a government, political agenda group, or monopolistic businesses controlling the information you receive. It’s starting to feel more and more like a lock down on the free flow of information, from banned words on documents to slowed down information funnels.
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So what can the average citizen do?
- Spend just 5 minutes learning about Net Neutrality. Here’s a link to a short MSNBC piece that clearly explains net neutrality. Understand the issues and find out why you likely do care about this techie issue.
- Start choosing your words wisely. Use the terms transgender, evidence-based and science-based as much as possible in daily speech and discussions. Make them ubiquitous and unable to disappear.
- Call Key Senators. Here’s a list of senators currently on the committee overseeing the departments of labor, health and human services. You’ll find some well known more-mainstream Republican ones such as Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy as well as Dick Durbin and lessor known Democrats and other Republicans.
- Spend less than 5 minutes reviewing the book burnings of 1933. Here’s a link to one web page that currently loads pretty fast due to net neutrality. Yes, it was Nazi Germany and we’re not going so far as to say today’s USA is yesterday’s Germany, but it discusses how one of the key issues was intellectual freedom and how the US stood clearly against any kind of censorship.
This may be a first amendment freedom of speech issue (Forbes argues no). It may be an issue of defining what’s a public utility such as water and gas (and the internet?), or it may be an issue of government regulation vs over-reach. Regardless of where you stand on net neutrality, you should be outraged by the closed door policy on words from climate control and global warming to transgender and fetus. The way to disagree with a stance is not to ban the words used to intelligently discuss an issue. If an arugment is worth winning, it’s worth winning with relevant words not by banning them.