On Fearing Freedom

By Margaret Anna Alice

Nudging Us to Fear Freedom

If I had been told a decade ago I would be frittering my time arguing with people about why censorship is bad and why free speech must be treasured, I wouldn’t have believed it.

I mean, who objects to freedom? Okay, dictators and their psychophants, yes, but I’m talking about real people, not the uncanny-valley villains trying to rule the world.

And who would be so arrogant as to claim they have the right to silence others? And how could anyone be naïve enough to think that—once empowered to mute citizens—governments, agencies, nonprofits, and corporations would not abuse that power? Have these people never opened a history book?

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It was around 2016 when I first noticed the propagandists’ subtle efforts to nudge the public toward acceptance of the idea that some speech should be censored, some information should be bowdlerized, some people should be silenced.

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This sociological conditioning is what Jacques Ellul calls “pre-propaganda” in his seminal Propaganda:

“Direct propaganda, aimed at modifying opinions and attitudes, must be preceded by propaganda that is sociological in character, slow, general, seeking to create a climate, an atmosphere of favorable preliminary attitudes. No direct propaganda can be effective without pre-propaganda, which, without direct or noticeable aggression, is limited to creating ambiguities, reducing prejudices, and spreading images, apparently without purpose.… The ground must be sociologically prepared before one can proceed to direct prompting. Sociological propaganda can be compared to plowing, direct propaganda to sowing; you cannot do the one without doing the other first.”

First They Came for the “Nazis”

But don’t worry, Facebook told us, only naughty, nasty little Nazis will be censored—not good, sweet little people like us.

Then 2020 hit, and the totalitarians threw the Disinformation Playbook at doctors, scientists, journalists, and other critically-thinking folks for questioning their Big Lies, followed up by Italian-mother–sized helpings of gaslighting, coercion, and pressures to self-censor. (…)

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The power is now in the hands of the people rather than the mind-manipulators because we can evaluate primary sources, eyewitness testimonies, documentary evidence, and scientific studies for ourselves without their distorting lenses and advertiser-driven, triple-letter–agency-scripted narratives. We can now see what they have tried to keep hidden, and we can expose their deceptions and reveal the forces pulling their jaw strings in real-time.

Anne Gibbons: The Bought and Paid for Liars Choir

Substack founders got it right when they chose to empower We the People with the ability to block and mute those we find detestable. Like Tom Smothers said (later written into the congressional record):

“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.”

We’ve already seen what happens when Big Tech plays Big Brother, and it’s the Road to Nowhere.

Rather than accomplishing the purported goal of diminishing hate, it achieves the opposite effect thanks to ironic process theory—and now you’ve sacrificed free speech and the power to moderate your own online experience on top of escalating the divisive rhetoric.

This is part of a longer article kindly sent to us by the author. Read the full version here: https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/on-fearing-freedomplus-thanking-substack

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