I frequently hear calls from the left for social media to censor the right’s “misinformation” and “hate speech”. But this loses sight of the fact that the left, as well as the right, is substantially losing touch with reality, just in a different way. While conversation on the right is suffering from a lack of responsible gatekeepers of debate, conservation of the left is suffering form too much censorship.
From the left, a person’s demographic dominates their identity. Demographics are ranked from “privileged” to “victim”, and individuals don’t have rights, only groups do, except for “privileged” groups, which don’t. Members of “privileged” demographics are born guilty, and are terrible people unless they despise their own demographic. Facts that don’t fit a certain narrative are off-limits. Dissidents are not merely wrong, to be reasoned with and gently corrected, but rather, “bad people” to be punished into silence. Once someone is labeled a “bad person”, apologies don’t count, no redemption is possible, no solution exists other than to completely ruin the individual.
The only acceptable narrative is that “victim” demographics are in no way responsible for their own fate, that they have no personal agency, no hope of improving their lot as individuals, and their problems can only be fixed by radically reforming our overwhelmingly “bigoted” society.
One problem with this view is that it tells poor rural whites without a college education that, since they are supposedly “privileged”, not only are their grievances unworthy of consideration, but they actually have more than they deserve, while they realize damn well that they’re on the bottom of totem pole. They are told that their heroes are villains, that there is nothing of value in their heritage, and that everything they believe in should be held in contempt. The fact is, they’re not going to take it. They cannot be blamed for rejecting this world view and seeking alternatives. Unfortunately, a lot of them have placed blind faith in Trump as their most trusted source of information, which is about as misplaced as trust can possibly be.
And rural whites without a college education have been really suffering. As more of the population has become college educated, many of the college educated aren’t really that bright and didn’t learn that much in school, and they wind up doing jobs that, a generation ago, were done just fine by people with only a high school diploma. So the choice of jobs for those without a college education has been steadily shrinking.
Six months ago, after the death of George Floyd, the left went into a state of extreme hysteria. There was tremendous energy given to the problem of police bias against blacks. But the conversation was heavily censored, and certain facts were deemed inadmissible:
- While there really is a problem with young black males being hassled by cops much more frequently than is necessary for law enforcement, and we really should try to find a way to solve this, the conversation was not allowed to discuss the reason for it: that the black rate of violent crime is radically higher than the white one, and cops doing their jobs see this day in, day out, for years, and wind up being biased against blacks. Absent consideration of this fact, the liberal consensus developed that the problem was that police were “bad people” who were doing it just to be mean as part of “systemic racism”.
- The number of unarmed blacks killed by cops was very, very low, given that we live in a country of 330 million people, and has been decreasing. It happens so rarely that it really is not a significant influence on black life expectancy. On the other hand, a black male was many orders of magnitude more likely to be murdered by black criminals than by white cops while unarmed. Figures were sometimes given on total numbers of “blacks killed by cops”, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of those were armed criminals engaged in shoot-outs with the cops.
Absent these facts, a consensus emerged that it really made sense for blacks to fear being shot by cops while unarmed as their leading cause of death, and the conversation converged on “defund the police” as a solution, which was just plain stupid and cost the Democrats dearly in the voting booth.
The employees and leadership of the major social media companies are overwhelmingly liberal if not outright left-wing, and they are moving in the direction of censoring conservatives more and more. If this progresses further, eventually we will probably see an exodus of conservatives to more sympathetic social media platforms, and conservatives and liberals will talk to one another even less than they do now.