Towers of glass and steel,
Cloisters of wealth and splendor,
Walled off from what’s real,
React to contradictions with fervor.
They rule not by vote or sword,
Nor in truth do they at all,
Yet still freedom they cannot afford,
Or their own false perceptions may fall.
Profit for them is not enough,
The must also reshape the world,
Control of our story despite any rebuff,
They wish us to carry only their banner unfurled.
In a way their plight makes sense,
They thought the world over would only agree,
But once online the divergence was immense,
So now they wish the web to bend the knee.
They’ll hide away those who dare disagree,
While claiming to love freedom of speech,
Hoping to shape perception and thus reality,
Relying on political allies to defend them in screech.
Private company suddenly has a meaning,
Because when their tribe does it it’s not wrong,
Ignorantly blithering free market while its explainers deriding,
While actively dismissing customer feedback by the throng.
Welcome back friendos and frienderessas to the thrilling conclusion of a three part poetry series on censorship. You guys and gals just love to walk on the wild side, huh? Yesterday we talked more about rhetoric, but today, we’re going to talk about ethics. Leave it to your friendly internet poet to spin a few amusing rhymes and take immediate liberty to drag you along into a discussion of abstract concepts that you probably haven’t thought of since they were mentioned in passing in your ninth grade civics course, unless of course you’re one of my regulars. In which case you’ve likely been wondering what’s been taking me so long in getting to stuff that my poetry and stories have hinted at or hidden in themes for years. To you guys I say, “Shut up, I got to it didn’t I?” Alright readers, assume the position and clench because we’re about to dive in.
For those of you who haven’t cracked a book in a few solar revolutions, ethics is a set or system of moral principles that people can use to guide their actions in life. Ethical behavior adheres to a generally accepted standard of ethics, while unethical behavior deviates from that standard to a lesser or greater degree. Unsurprisingly, even the most loose systems of ethics fail spectacularly at perfect adherence, mostly because human beings while intrinsically understand the utility of fair play, are apt to cheat. You may be sitting there in your well indented extra wide desk chair scratching that weird lump on your elbow wondering what in the golly gosh this has to do with censorship, but slow down there Skippy, I’m getting there. You see, in every system of ethics I know of, it is not acceptable to tell your customers one thing, and do another. That’s right, I am saying that it is an unethical business practice to tell your users that the service you provide is for free speech, and then fall down on any opinion to the right of Marx like the population numbers of the Kulaks under Stalin. Liberal use of the ban hammer as well as more subtle bludgeons like suspension, limited features, throttling, and the now threatened ghettoization of “offensive” speech are all the opposite of what a business interested in the unfettered promulgation of ideas and their merciless debate would do. Obviously. The claims about needing to tackle harassment or community toxicity are laughable at best, but since I didn’t get a chance to sit down to write this until the evening, I’m not going to Google-fu the links for you in the interest of going to sleep at a decent hour.
As always, feel free to discuss below, we’re still a small blog, but you could change that by sharing it with friends you think would like to join in the discussion. Every comment gets approved as soon as I can get to it, and nobody gets deleted or banned.