Anti-Free Speech Authoritarians Should Stop Whining & Instead Embrace The Benefits Of The Free Exchange Of Ideas

Those who worry that their ideas can’t win an open competition should reconsider their ideas instead of trying to censor others.

One of the most dangerous and pathetic trends of recent times is the rise of censorship.

Whereas many once had the idea that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” now many have the idea that “words are violence.”

This idea would be harmless if it was held by just a few fringe radicals.

Instead, it has bubbled up to the top of many governments and corporations, even in nations like Canada that were largely built upon freedom.

It’s a way of thinking that is fundamentally about weakness.

Those who can’t withstand words obviously can’t withstand any real challenges.

And those who fear that their ideas can’t win a free and open competition obviously don’t have much confidence in those ideas.

Somehow, we have allowed this weak attitude to dominate our society, and this poses an incredible danger.

Not only is true freedom impossible without free speech and free expression, but the kind of technological advancement and innovation we need is impossible without a free and open competition of ideas and perspectives.

The kind of diversity that really matters is diversity of thought and opinion, because the free interplay of ideas generates new opportunities and new ways of thinking that nobody could have predicted.

This is why free societies out-innovate restrictive societies, and – even as the process looks chaotic and messy – make better decisions.

Look at the supposedly ‘super-efficient’ centralized government of China.

Growth in China is slowing rapidly, they have massive debt problems, and their increased belligerance and oppression of their own people has created a large counterbalancing coalition.

Further, China’s biggest crisis is a demographic one, and that demographic problem was caused by the ‘One Child Policy,’ a centralized diktat issued from above that has turned out to be a mistake of historic proportions.

Such a policy wouldn’t happen in a free society, because a free exchange of ideas leads to more scrutiny of those in power, and more diffusion of power.

Competition brings strength

Censorship and competition are incompatible.

When the government intervenes to prop up the establishment media and suppress other perspectives, they are stifling competition.

This allows the propped-up outlets to put forth a substandard product and still survive.

Those same outlets – because of their dependence on the government – will also prioritize pro-government perspectives.

This then results in governments facing less scrutiny, which allows them to put forth substandard governance and stay in power.

This process feeds on itself, weakening the nation more and more.

A country that succumbs to the denial and suppression of competition will be dominated and surpassed by those who embrace competition, because competition brings strength and innovation.

For far too long, those of us who support competition and support the free market of ideas and perspectives have been on the defensive. Yet, we are the ones who will help this nation renew itself and become stronger, because we are the ones adhering to the true core values of our country.

It’s the authoritarians who oppose competition and those who support censorship who should be on the defensive, and with their continued weakening of our nation they have much to answer for.

Spencer Fernando


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