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Frances Haugen Isn’t a Whistleblower – She’s a Pro-Censorship Shill
The headlines proclaim it all: “Frances Haugen Takes on Facebook: The Making of a Modern US Hero” chimes The Guardian, and it isn’t the only one. Haugen secured her own special on 60 Minutes and was busy testifying in Congress within days.
The thing is, Haugen isn’t saying anything we don’t already know – she’s just saying the things the current liberal wing of Congress wants to hear. Claiming to have “lost a friend to online conspiracies”, she’s calling for more censorship, showing her hand someone who prefers to control the narrative rather than allow individuals to navigate it themselves.
This is part of a new movement to control information. The Internet was widely heralded as a liberator of information during its inception. Whereas knowledge was once kept largely within libraries or hidden away within universities, only accessible to those deemed worthy of it, knowledge was now at the fingertips of every man, woman, and child. Even though it couldn’t fully replace books, it managed to even make purchasing them, even those normally only available to students, accessible to a wide number of people.
Through social media, people were able to share information with one another, discussing the news and forming new ideas. I’m not saying social media hasn’t warped into an abomination of shouting matches and bullying, but rather that it has its place and originally, especially through old-school forums, connects us in ways not possible without it.
Unfortunately, this means that you have to accept the downfalls, too. People will hold unpopular opinions, and they may organize to act upon them. Some information will be misleading, and some information that isn’t misleading will still be labeled as such by those who are dreadfully trying to wrest the control of narratives and facts back into their own clutches.
I don’t believe the efforts to suppress and discredit the studies and anecdotal evidence that Ivermectin successfully combats COVID-19 (no one disputing its anti-viral and even anti-cancer properties before), for example, as stemming from a large, interconnected conspiracy; I merely see it as the last holdout of institutions that once controlled who knew what and why feeling frustrated that they no longer have that power. All of the studies and papers are available for anyone to read nowadays, and, in the words of Al Gore, they are an “inconvenient truth” to those who wish to suppress them in the name of profit and reputation.
Our first look at Haugen shows us that the media treats her very well, and the government is more than happy to give her a powerful platform to stand on. Not many true whistleblowers have gotten such a happy reception, most of them being fired, imprisoned, or ridiculed and slandered.
Edward Snowden exiled himself to Russia and Julian Assange is rotting away in prison after the Ecuadorian Embassy finally allowed him to be seized, for example. Meanwhile, Haugen is being coached and funded by Obama-era big wigs, such as Bill Burton.
Frances Haugen gets a platform because she’s spouting talking points that pander to an alarmingly fast-growing pro-censorship movement. She’s accusing Facebook of doing what most companies do in a capitalist society: maximizing profits. She’s arguing that its algorithms mean that people have greater access to “misinformation” or anything that goes against the narrative, and was instrumental in leading up to the January 6th “insurrection”, because words have all but lost their meaning in the Age of Hyperbole and Language Degradation.
Instead of scrutinizing an individual whistleblower, I would like to challenge her philosophy. Frances Haugen is a woman who would gladly trade liberty for safety, a notion that would have offended early Americans. In order to maintain order, dissenting opinions and “incorrect” information must be suppressed. After all, if a bad idea spreads and takes root, it can threaten the foundation of democracy.
The problem is that I don’t think any conspiracy theorists, vaccine-hesitant people, or right-wingers are challenging our democracy. Refusing a vaccine in a time of rushed vaccines, obvious lying about the existing evidence regarding the efficacy of certain treatments, is not challenging democracy. If the likes of Fauci and WHO are correct, then it means people are endangering themselves by refusing to get vaccinated, but that’s on them. It’s a little thing called personal responsibility, and we act like it’s a football that we need to keep tossing to the next person, blaming everyone around us.
We don’t see this type of reaction to people who refuse treatment or vaccines in any other setting. Sure, you can look down on them, but you can’t dictate that they not be exposed to dissenting viewpoints.
Even the “insurrectionists” were not seeking to overthrow the government, they were appealing to the government to investigate an election that didn’t seem fair and uphold democracy, much as how Democrats urged a fruitless investigation into Russia regarding the integrity of our elections.
Now it’s considered wrongthink, as Orwell called it, to question the election, despite election results being questioned quite frequently in the United States.
Censoring the Internet robs it of its intended purpose and is akin to posting minders North Korea-style on the street to stop people from engaging in conversations deemed inappropriate by the governing powers.
In many ways, social media does exactly what people like Haugen assert. It does create echo chambers, it does promote a black-and-white way of thinking, but what Haugen refuses to acknowledge is two-fold: 1.) that she herself also lives in an echo chamber and that 2.) we should be educated people about personal responsibility and about getting off the computer once in a while instead of using the strong arm of legislation to try and control the narrative, turning all of the Internet into the sanitized, filtered lens we see in the MSM.
Frances Haugen also lives within the caverns of her own echo chamber- a left-wing echo chamber. All of us do this to some extent both online and offline. It’s human nature to look for those who think like you, and Haugen is no exception.
The various caverns of social media aren’t bad because they amplify opinions, although doing such is nearly unavoidable, it’s that they promote a black-and-white worldview. When you no longer have to engage in civil discourse with another human being, it’s easy to just think “they’re wrong.” This isn’t unique to political echo chambers of either the right-wing or left-wing; it’s a part of all echo chambers, even including Nintendo vs Sony vs Microsoft vs the PC Master Race!
This black-and-white thinking leads people to assume that conservatives are cave people and liberals are tyrants, or “libtards”. When you adopt such a mindset, it’s easy to set aside the philosophies of our founders and why they developed the ideologies they did and move to suppress your “dangerous” opponents.
Right now, it’s the left that’s seizing power and pushing for a narrative that emphasizes the censorship of whatever they don’t particularly like. It’s an easy thing to do in an age where our vocabulary has expanding to include terms such as “fake news”, which is so loosely defined that you can use it as a generous blanket to cover anything you don’t like.
That’s not to say that I don’t believe there aren’t dangerous ideas out there. I fear ideas like the Great Reset (although I get where the people who subscribe to such an ideology are coming from), Marxism, and the movements that lead to the Soviet Union (not to be confused with modern-day Russia), China, and North Korea.
But, perhaps, more importantly, I fear that the people who are engaged with such radical ideologies could shut down alternative ones, labeling anything else as “alt-right”, “far-right”, or “conspiracy-driven”.
The ability to engage with different ideas isn’t bad, and if you and your friends find that you’re moving in different directions, it hurts. However, you haven’t “lost a friend to online conspiracy theories,” you’ve just parted ways.
If I decide to eat a paleo diet and a friend decides to eat a vegan diet, and if we were both health nuts that found our new lifestyles so incompatible that the friendship withers away, it would hurt. However, I have no right to stand before Congress and declare that we limit people’s access to information regarding vegan lifestyles. Such a thing would be considered nonsense.
Instead of censoring more, we should instead be willing to take breaks from social media and engage more with the real world. This isn’t a problem shared only in conservative circles, but also in those that encapsulate Haugen and her ilk.
America is reaching a breaking point. We see it in the BLM riots and protests (I’m not going to say every police brutality protest was a riot because I feel most of them weren’t), the water protectors, the Proud Boys, Boogaloo types, the praise for people like Frances Haugen, the banning of conservative voices on social media, and more. Everyone is taking a stand, and we have lost the ability to see the humanity in one another.
However, we can all stand against this, just as we did with SOPA. I urge you to write to your Congressperson and voice your opinion. An unregulated Internet is a free Internet. Yes, you’ll have to deal with the consequences of that, but the alternative is to tread in the footsteps of tyrants.
Tell them of people like Morgan Kahmann who offer differing accounts and the evidence to also back up what they have to say.
When the People are no longer listened to, then we worry about what to do next, but as long as the government is meant to work the will of the People and in the interest of maximizing personal liberty, they are still meant to listen to us and we must always try that avenue first.