When printing was invented, many authors questioned the prejudices of their time. It took four centuries of struggle before the West finally guaranteed freedom of expression. With the invention of the internet, however, authorship was democratized, but freedom of speech was immediately challenged. It can take several centuries to process this shock and restore freedom of expression. In the meantime, the censorship is back.
The spread of ideas experienced an enormous upswing with the invention of modern printing technology at the end of the 15th century. It was no longer necessary to believe the authorities blindly, each could form his own opinion.
It was agreed that although the debate is essential for the development of human thought, some ideas would be harmful to society and should therefore be censored. The authorities had to determine what was useful and what was harmful. But the creation of the famous ‘Index librorum prohibitorum’ by Pope Paul IV could not prevent the spread of anti-papal ideas.
On the contrary, we believe that censorship is in most cases more harmful than the ideas it prohibits. All societies that practice censorship eventually end in solidification. That is why all censorship authorities were once overthrown.
On this point, two great schools of thought are facing each other. Article 11 of the French Declaration of human and civil rights of 1789 states that the law must determine the right to freedom of expression and suppress abuse, while the First Amendment to the US Constitution of 1791 states that this freedom must not be restricted by any law.
The United States was becoming a Nation that had just emancipated itself from the British monarchy. They were not yet aware of the difficulties of living in society, but had already suffered from the abuse of the power of London. They therefore had an idea of freedom that was boundless.
It has taken almost a century for the French legislator to define the limits of freedom of expression: the call to crime or Crime, insult and slander. As far as the censorship regime is concerned, control is no longer exercised before publication, but afterwards.
Latin countries call it slander when one reports derogatory elements without being able to prove them, although it is self-evident that certain facts cannot be proven (such as amnestied acts, statute-barred crimes or simply matters of private life) and are therefore not publishable.
In contrast, in the Anglo-Saxon countries only those accusations of defamation are mentioned which are demonstrably false. In practice, the Latin laws require the author to prove what he claims, while the Anglo-Saxon laws, on the contrary, state that it is up to the slandered Person to prove that the author is telling nonsense.
In both cases, the courts can protect the right to freedom of expression only if they are made up of people’s juries who can defend their social class, not professional judges. It was the great struggle of Georges Clémenceau that came to nothing during the Second World War, when the governments regained control of the procedures.
Freedom of expression, which had taken four centuries to develop in the West, has been called into question with the advent of new computerized dissemination techniques that expanded the number of authors. As in the sixteenth century, after a brief period of flourishing freedom, it is on its way to being fully controlled.
In the past, the French and Americans talked about freedom of speech as well as freedom of the press. In contrast, freedom of the press is often invoked today to deny freedom of speech to ordinary mortals accused of being “conspiracy theorists”, i.e. uncultivated, irresponsible and dangerous to society.
Usually the advocates of pre-censorship do not invoke their will to control the political opinions of the masses, but they place themselves in the sphere of Religion or morality. The emergence of" social networks " provides a new context for bringing forth old arguments.
Since the established religions in today’s West are gradually in decline, they are replaced by a new Religion without God, but with its dogmas and clerics.
For example, a Referendum should be called in France to include the following sentence in the Constitution: “the republic guarantees the conservation of (1) biodiversity, (2) the environment and (3) the fight against climate change”. Three completely pointless proposals, because biodiversity is not a state, but a process; because the environment has never been spared, but always changed; and because the climate is not regulated. There is already talk of censoring this comment, which disturbs the consensus, first in social networks and then in society in general.
If freedom means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.
We are all shocked by the pornography that children are subjected to, and would spontaneously wish to save them from it. Of course, but small farmers used to take care of farm animals - not always very tenderly and morally. Today, small school children are convinced that animals mate only to preserve their species and watch movies on their Smartphone.
Historically, most authoritarian regimes began censoring pornography before attacking political ideas. It is therefore much less risky for everyone to introduce parental control procedures than to pave the way for the loss of our freedoms.
A major step backwards was made in 1990 with the European laws on the suppression of “Holocaust denial”, then in the 2000s with the privileges for social networks and finally in the 2010s with the Rating agencies.
One would have understood that the laws suppress forms of rehabilitation of the National Socialist race regime, but not that they act as Guardians of the truth. But above all, and this is the most important point, they have reintroduced the prison sentences for violators. So it is now possible in Europe to end up in prison for his ideas.
Fascism does not begin with words, it begins with censorship!
Internet forums in the US have been given an amazing privilege to conquer the world. They are considered both as information Transport companies and as regulatory authorities for the information they provide. As if the Post office had the right to read what they transport and censor what they dislike.
By assuring these forums that they are only neutral carriers, they protect the anonymity of their customers. It follows that, among all their messages, they also convey those that encourage the commission of crimes and insulting and defamatory offences, and that they thereby protect the perpetrators.
While the print media, which refused to reveal the name of their customer, are held responsible for the word they print, these “news carriers” have become “regulators”. They still refuse to reveal the names of the culprits, but they are sovereignly destroying those accounts which they classify as opponents of their own ideas. In doing so, they make themselves judges, typical of the new Western ideology, without laws, without debates or appeals.
On May 28, 2020, President Donald Trump revoked this privilege, paving the way for judicial regulation, but it is unlikely that the US Congress will turn this executive decision into a law. All the more so since the owners of these forums have already set up rating agencies with NATO that are beyond their control (including NewsGuard). They want to sink the bad-thinking in the depths of search engines until they are gone.