TikTok, Round 3

“The biggest fear-mongers were American conservatives. They lived in deep fear of the Reds during the entire 45 years of the Cold War racket. In fact, they were convinced that the communist invasion had already started. That’s why they went after Martin Luther King. They were convinced that he was a Red agent. The same holds true for leftists working in Hollywood. They went after them with a vengeance. Some right-wingers even believed that President Eisenhower was an agent of the Reds as well.”

“There was actually a humorous dimension to this deep right-wing fear. Throughout the Cold War, conservatives argued that socialism was doomed to fail. It was an inherently defective economic system, they pointed out. Socialism would inevitably impoverish countries that embraced this philosophy, such as Russia. Right-wingers would quote free-market economists like Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman to make their case.”

“Yet, despite that insight about socialism, conservatives continued to maintain that Russia was an all-powerful nation that was going to take down America. To this day, I don’t think right-wingers are able to recognize their internal contradiction.”

Jacob Hornberger

In Montana: The New State of Censorship, I dissected a legislative bill which would forcibly prevent any app provider from downloading TikTok onto any digital device within the state of Montana. I found it wanting and advised the Governor, Greg Gianforte, to refuse his signature as it was an infringement on the right of Montana citizens to access information they wanted. In other words, SB0419 was a mandated limitation on free speech.

In TikTok, Round 2, I explained that TikTok was, in essence, no different than any other medium of communication and, therefore, could not be banned without the understanding that any other medium (or all of them) were also at risk of being shut down because they might disseminate a hated or feared narrative. It all depends on personal perspective. One man’s censorship is another man’s safety measure–all of it neatly provided and buttressed by government’s forceful action.

Respective to this issue, as in so many other instances, inconsistency of thought is a major driver of the effort to outlaw and prohibit anything which we find odious and distasteful. The possibility that it might be dangerous or harmful only adds fuel to the fire. Jacob Hornberger mentioned this in the quote seen above. The conservative right-wingers of that era were terrified that the communists were going to take over and replace them even though they understood that Communism was a defective, destructive system which would eventually fail under its own contradictory, self-defeating principles. They responded reactively in spite of the knowledge that their fears were groundless. It was inevitable that communism would fall eventually under its own weight, yet lives, careers, and liberties were destroyed in the effort to eliminate the threat it represented.

Enter TikTok, the latest iteration in the everlasting battle between evil and good. The current struggle to legislate “protection” in Montana is fundamentally no different than was the struggle between Senator Joseph McCarthy and those he opposed. Along with Hornberger, I find it humorous that so many people, mainly conservatives and right-wing, recognize the inherent self-destructiveness of TikTok, but they are not willing to allow it to die a natural death. Instead, they want to kill it along with anything else which promotes “illicit and immoral” behavior. They want to impose restrictions and limits on everyone (even those who do not use the app) in the vain attempt to prevent damage to any single individual and society. Or more truthfully, to control the flow of information which they deem is not desirable nor necessary. In a comparable analogy, everyone must be forced to wear a seat belt while motoring on the highways because someone might be hurt or killed as a result of not wearing the belt. They can see the harm done because of the non-use of a restraining device, therefore they conclude that everyone MUST be restrained…no matter what. Freedom of choice by consenting adults does not enter into the picture.

It is inevitable that the cosmic battle of Evil vs. Good will produce casualties. Some of them will hit close to home. Some will be extremely personal. That much is true and I accept it. It is what it is. It is part of life. The main question, though, is how far can we go in preventing evil from happening? The Apostle Paul put it this way:

“Shall we do evil so that good may come?” –Romans 3:8

Of course, some will argue that we are not doing evil in the effort to outlaw evil. Our actions are righteous, God bless us! This argument, however, is faulty since it hinges on the prohibition of the inherent, natural right of free people to live without undue interference from others. To tell someone that they are not allowed to possess anything, irrespective of what it is, because harm might come from their possession of it, is to tell them that they cannot be held responsible nor liable for their own actions. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing, therefore, governmental control is required. In fact, if you want to go far enough, it can be claimed that prohibiting anyone’s ability to acquire anything which they wish to have is a form of theft. Legally sanctioned, no doubt, but theft just the same. This is most especially true in the case of a person who has reached the age of legal consent.

(Rabbit Trail: Who decided that the State has the authority to determine when and at what age anyone can be considered adult? This question should more properly be determined by the amount of personal maturity a person exhibits. The hypocrisy and inconsistency in this is that young men can legally kill and destroy “foreigners” in the name of the State at age 18, but they are not allowed to purchase alcohol or tobacco until they are 21.)

Obviously, this brings up the question of what is “right”, the extended answer of which must be deferred to a later article. The short, snappy response is that Might makes Right and that whoever is in power at any given time determines the “rightness” of any action.

Hence, politics, which is nothing more than a socially accepted form of control. This has been ongoing from the very beginning.

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