For the first time (possibly) in my life, I find myself in complete agreement with CNN and Fareed Zakaria. Montana’s pending prohibition of TikTok is highly unconstitutional and sets a precedent for governmental suppression of any social media platform it finds distasteful. Free speech communication is in a dangerous position because of this bill. It should be shot down by the governor without hesitation. Chances are it won’t be and the lawsuits will fly.
Since I wrote and published my first article on this matter, I have received some feedback, primarily with the admonition that I should download and experience TikTok before I ventured any further opinions on it. After all, I did say that,
“For the record, I have never been on TikTok. I have never seen it. I do not know what it looks like. It is nearly certain that I will never use it.”
Well, all right, I understand the argument of those who say that lack of knowledge causes people to form detrimental beliefs and opinions. Sometimes these can be hazardous, which is, of course, true. However, lack of knowledge should not hinder anyone from forming an opinion which can always be modified at some future time. I remember an argument I had with my own father a long time ago about some long-forgotten issue. He made the statement that he could not develop an opinion because he did not know all the facts. My answer to him was that he would never know ALL the facts and that he had to take what he did know and develop a position.
I still stand by that. I do not need to know everything (or anything) about TikTok to believe that its prohibition would be disastrous for the concept of free speech and human liberty. There are sufficient examples from history which show that tyrannical crackdowns on communication between people results in tragedy. If we do not want to travel down that road again, having to repeat the class because we have not learned the lesson, then we must refuse to allow this restriction and regulation to occur. Even if someone, somewhere, is influenced by the content on TikTok to take personally destructive action, we must understand the greater danger and resist the impulse to simply disallow it in society.
Do we have free will, or what?
So, what is my opinion of TikTok? From things I have read, conversations I have had, discussions I have listened to, etc., I understand that TikTok is a dangerous channel through which all sorts of poisonous, hazardous, even deadly thoughts can be transmitted to anyone who has access to it. Its content can and probably does influence some vulnerable, impressionable, gullible, and impulsive people, especially young people, to commit some really stupid, dangerous, hazardous actions which can result in injury, harm, and even death. Suicides have been attributed to it and no doubt it has the potential to inflict great harm on society. Does that mean it must be verboten and taboo under a blanket ban which cannot be enforced effectively and will cost great sums of money to prosecute.
Put that way, it almost sounds like The Wars on Drugs, Poverty, and Terror, all of which have come about because government bigshots decided that “we” needed to exercise “our” power to protect “us” from those “existential threats” which would overcome and destroy America–if they were not stopped. All of which have contributed greatly to the infringement of our individual rights and liberties.
TikTok is the medium, the conduit, through which the content flows. It is not the content. It makes the content available to anyone who wants to view it. In a similar fashion, a television, newspaper, or magazine allows anyone to access information, beneficial or detrimental, who can then use that information to act on in any way chosen. To hold that TikTok must be banned because of its content is to argue that television is fair game for the same treatment. From a consistently logical perspective, if we should ban TikTok because some dangerous, poisonous content flows through it causing some people harm, then we should outlaw hypodermic syringes because some people use them to inject dangerous, poisonous substances into themselves or others.
Does that ring a bell? Jog your memory? For those who have not forgotten the chaos and pandemonium of the last three years due to “Covid”, it should cause a connection. How many “conservative” voices were shut out, shut down, or shut up because they tried to talk about a different viewpoint which did not toe the narrative line? My guess is that most of the readers of this article have, at least, a vague recollection of those events which are still ongoing. Yet, now that the focus of attention has been shifted from Covid, Fauci, Moderna, Pfizer, and Bill Gates onto TikTok, the cry of the madding crowd is the same as that portrayed in so many two-bit, B-grade Westerns–“Lynch him! Damn justice! String him up!”
TikTok and other media (whatever form they might take, including this blog) exist for only one reason–to inform and influence viewers according to a specific point of view, a narrative, a dogma. Every way in which any medium operates has this as its raison d’etre. Anything which detracts from that is minimized, excluded, and worked around. Arguing that TikTok MUST be banned because it is an evil influence opens the door to the logical conclusion that all other media must also be circumscribed because, at some point or another, someone will be upset, outraged, or harmed by the content within. Furthermore, in similar manner, if TikTok is liable because someone acted on its “product”, then Remington can be held liable because someone used one of its firearms to shoot another person.
Now, that is something which conservative Montanans can (should) get fired up about!
This is the fine line which is drawn. At what point do we prevent open communication between individuals? At what point does an authority have to step in and arbitrarily define something as off-limits, never to be spoken of again? Who will that authority be? Who makes the decision to appoint (anoint?) that authority? What line of reasoning, what philosophy, what belief will be the underlying principle for making those decisions? Does the “greater good” theory apply only when progressives and liberals advocate for it or is it acceptable when conservatives want to put it to use?
These are questions which must be answered and which will be debated until we, as a society, nation, and world, come to grips with the inconsistency and hypocrisy raging within our own individual souls. “One rule for thee, another for me.”
Oh, what the heck. I have gone this far. I might as well jump off the cliff and make everyone angry. If you do not like the message, shoot the messenger. In this case, that would be Moses.
“You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the LORD your God.”Leviticus 24:22, NKJV
4 thoughts on “TikTok, Round 2”
AMEN! Be careful little eyes what you see & be careful little ears… Guard thine heart… He covers this kind of idolatry in His Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth Manual aka Bible…
Can you explain further what you refer to as idolatry? I am not sure I understand.
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